MANCHESTER — Ryan Phillips stepped on the mat and soaked in the atmosphere.
He opened his final postseason at home, but more importantly he was able to compete in one this year. Last year, effects from a concussion ended his season a week early.
“I’m just happy to be able to wrestle right now,” Phillips said. “Last year, I took it for granted and then I didn’t have the opportunity all of a sudden. Today, I was able to go out there, wrestle and have fun with it.”
Phillips made the most of it, winning one of West Delaware’s seven individual titles and helping the Hawks to the team championship at a Class 2A sectional meet Saturday at West Delaware.
Fifth-ranked Phillips captured the 132-pound crown with an 8-1 decision over Vinton-Shellsburg’s No. 10 Brock Radeke. He tallied three takedowns and a reversal, improving on a 2-0 decision over Radeke last week at the Wamac tournament.
“I was just glad to get out there and be aggressive,” Phillips said. “That was pretty much all that was on my mind and worked for me.”
Phillips (31-5) is still in search of his first state appearance and has state hardware in his sights. He has one mission the next two weeks.
“Just going out and wrestling,” Phillips said. “It’s something I’m not going to take for granted this year. Just take advantage of every match.”
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The third-ranked Hawks strolled to the team title, scoring 280 points and winning by 93 over runner-up Mount Vernon. Both teams will advance to the 2A regional duals Tuesday. West Delaware qualified 12 for next week’s district and had 11 finalists with all 14 placing third or better.
“It was kind of our mission at the beginning of the year to see how good we could get until the final matches,” West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss said. “I think we’re still improving.
“The thing I took from today is we haven’t wrestled our best yet. I think we wrestled better today than we did at the Wamac tournament. We’re still moving forward.”
Blake Engel kicked off the final round by avenging a loss to Mount Vernon’s Arnie Galvan with a 5-2 decision.
The other five Hawk champions had a penchant for the pin. Cael Meyer (145), Jack Neuhaus (182), 195-pounder Jordan Bries and brothers, Ben and Carson Petlon, at 220 and heavyweight pinned their way through their respective brackets.
“It was a great team effort for us,” Voss said. “We wrestled some good guys in the finals and reversed some losses from the week before. Overall, I thought it was a progressive day.”
Mount Vernon had one champion but managed seven district qualifiers. The Mustangs received a title from top-ranked 170-pounder Paul Ryan.
Ryan, who placed fourth at state last year, scored the first takedown and added an escape for a 3-1 victory over West Delaware’s No. 8 Wyatt Voelker in the final. He opened with a fall and moved to 37-0.
“It wasn’t too bad,” Ryan said of his performance. “I have to keep my action up. I want to score points and I don’t think I scored enough, so I’m going to work on scoring points.”
Ryan is a two-time state medalist. He has some unfinished business, looking for state gold.
“I’m really just trying to go forward,” Ryan said. “The goal is a state title. I’m working toward it.”
Center Point-Urbana dominated lighter weights, going 3-for-3 in consecutive finals. Cole Whitehead (113), third-ranked 120-pounder Caleb Fuessley and Keegan Scheeler at 126 were victorious.
Fuessley defeated Mount Vernon’s No. 7 Ryan Clark 15-6 in the final. Fuessley expanded his win margin from last week’s conference meet, recording a major decision in the rematch.
“I wouldn’t say peaking,” Fuessley said. “I’m getting into the room and working out as hard as I can, getting to that next level. Just keep climbing and climbing.”
Like Ryan, Fuessley is a two-time state medalist, placing fifth and sixth. He is a title contender, hoping to be wrestling on the final Saturday night in Des Moines.
“I’m super focused,” Fuessley said. “I’m taking this real serious. I’m really preparing myself for the top.
“I feel I can do it but actions speak louder than words and I’m going to leave it at that.”
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Vinton-Shellsburg finished with two champions and four qualifiers. Sixth-ranked Luke Radeke (138) and No. 5 Scott Betterton beat ranked West Delaware opponents in the finals.
Luke Radeke beat No. 7 Jadyn Peyton, 4-2, in the finals. Betterton scored a takedown with a little more than a minute left to top No. 6 Mitchel Mangold, 3-2.
The top two individuals at each weight advance to next week’s district at DeWitt Central.
CLASS 2A SECTIONAL
(Number of qualifiers in parentheses)
1. West Delaware 280 (12), 2. Mount Vernon 187 (7), 3. Center Point-Urbana 146.5 (3), 4. Vinton-Shellsburg 131.5 (4), 5. Dubuque Wahlert 131 (1), 6. Benton Community (1).
106 pounds – 1. Blake Engel (WD), 2. Arnie Galvan (MV); 113 – 1. Cole Whitehead (CPU), 2. Lincoln Holub (MV); 120 – 1. Caleb Fuessley (CPU), 2. Ryan Clark (MV); 126 – 1. Keegan Scheeler (CPU), 2. Staveley Maury (WD); 132 – 1. Ryan Phillips (WD), 2. Brock Radeke (VS); 138 – 1. Luke Radeke (VS), 2. Jadyn Peyton (WD); 145 – 1. Cael Meyer (WD), 2. Mitchell Louwagie (MV); 152 – 1. Scott Betterton (VS), 2. Mitchel Mangold (WD); 160 – 1. Connor Dehn (DW), 2. Jared Voss (WD); 170 – 1. Paul Ryan (MV), 2. Wyatt Voelker (WD); 182 – 1. Jack Neuhaus (WD), 2. Joe Hunter (MV); 195 – 1. Jordan Bries (WD), 2. Keean Kamerling (MV); 220 – 1. Ben Petlon (WD), 2. Zach Crawford (BC); Hwt. – 1. Carson Petlon (WD), 2. Chris King (VS).
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