Prep Wrestling

Iowa City West sends 7 to state wrestling, wins district title at home

Cedar Rapids Kennedy advances 8; City High has 4 champions

IOWA CITY — Iowa City West wrestling coach Nate Moore has witnessed daily progress.

He expects a little more in the short turnaround before next week’s traditional state wrestling tournament.

Fourth-ranked West crowned six champions with seven qualifiers, winning the team title at the Class 3A district meet Saturday at West. The Trojans scored 208 1/2 points, topping runner-up Iowa City High by two. Cedar Rapids Kennedy was third at 200.

West advanced one more wrestler to state than last season.

“We’ve definitely come a long way over the course of the last year,” Moore said. “The seven that are going definitely earned it. I think there is still time between now and state to keep building.

“Every day, they are coming into practice with a great attitude. They just continue to get better.”

The Trojans went 6-1 in championship bouts, receiving titles from top-ranked and returning state finalist Hunter Garvin at 132, No. 2 182-pounder Will Hoeft, No. 4 Grant O’Dell (106), fifth-ranked Graham Gambrall at 145, No. 4 Ashton Barker (170) and first-year wrestler Anu Dokun at 195.

Barker posted a 12-2 major decision over Kennedy’s Alex Koch in the final. Barker was third last season for Iowa City Liberty and has hopes of improving that finish this time.

“I’m just excited to show people what I’ve done and how hard I’ve worked this last year,” Barker said. “Let the fur fly.”

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Barker (25-6) overcame injury and early losses before the break. He has won 15 of 16 matches since Jan. 1, avenging one of those previous setbacks. He still isn’t 100 percent, but has confidence to make a run.

“It’s frustrating, but my coaches (Moore and Kody Pudil) tell me I’m the best 170-pounder in the country,” Barker said. “If I believe it, everything lines up perfectly, I’m a state champion.”

Gambrall and Hoeft won battles between ranked wrestlers. Gambrall scored three third-period takedowns to pull away from Kennedy’s No. 10 Dylan Falck, 9-3. Hoeft recorded an 18-3 technical fall over the Cougars’ No. 9 Jay Oostendorp.

At 195, Dokun used a reversal and three nearfall in the third for his first lead and defeated Kennedy’s Ethan Sullivan 11-6 in the final. Dokun had never wrestled before this season and came out after urging from a football teammate. He went from newbie to state qualifier.

“He was very green,” Moore said. “He’s still really green, but he’s gotten better every single match and he’s going to the state tournament.”

Kennedy qualified a tournament-best eight wrestlers, pushing nine into the finals. The Cougars received titles from Ashtin Falck (138) and 10th-ranked 220-pounder Gavin Bascom.

Ashtin Flack tallied four takedowns in an 11-4 victory over Marion’s Austin Fritz in the final. Bascom used a late takedown and rideout to edge Iowa City High’s Jason Lemus, 8-7.

“We’re sending a lot of guys,” said Dylan Falck, a senior making his third state appearance. “I think we wrestled really well today. We left it all out there on the mat.”

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City High crowned four champions. Ethan Wood-Finley (113) and Garrett Bormann (120) won consecutive titles and Reece Caven (152) and 160-pounder Ben Kueter repeated the feat for the Little Hawks.

“I thought they competed well,” City High Coach Cory Connell said. “Guys who won are looking good. I think we’re wrestling our best the best time of year.”

Wood-Finley scored a first-period fall over Kennedy’s Jonah Hallam. He will look to claim his third state medal, placing fifth the last two years.

“He’s been looking good,” Connell said. “He’s been working his butt off. What a great kid. He does everything right. He’s looking really good, right now.”

Clear Creek Amana had two advance, including 126-pound champ Sam Stevens. He notched a 1:16 pin over City High’s Reece Hayden in the final. Stevens was a district runner-up and earned his first state win last year. His goal is to reach the podium.

“This year I got the job done and it feels great,” Stevens said about the district title.

“I know what to expect when I get down (to state) with the atmosphere and what I need to know to get it done.”

Cedar Rapids Jefferson heavyweight Dawson Sweet earned a return trip to the state tournament. He is the lone J-Hawk qualifier and has a chance to improve last year’s sixth-place finish.

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Sixth-ranked Sweet scored a takedown in the final minute to defeat Cedar Rapids Washington’s Tate Sykora-Matthess, 3-2, in the final. Sykora-Matthess was second and also advanced.

The top two wrestlers at each weight advance to the traditional state tournament Feb. 20-22 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Team standings (points, qualifiers)

Iowa City West 208.5, 7

Iowa City High 206.5, 6

Cedar Rapids Kennedy 200, 8

Marion 139, 3

Cedar Rapids Jefferson 124, 1

Clear Creek Amana 94, 2

Cedar Rapids Washington 89, 1

Iowa City Liberty 47.5, 0

State qualifiers

106 – 1. Grant O’Dell (ICW), 2. Niyo Gady (M)

113 – 1. Ethan Wood-Finley (ICH), 2. Jonah Hallam (CRK)

120 – 1. Garrett Bormann (ICH), 2. Parker McBride (ICW)

126 – 1. Sam Stevens (CCA), 2. Reese Hayden (ICH)

132 – 1. Hunter Garvin (ICW), 2. Kael Scranton (CCA)

138 – 1. Ashtin Falck (CRK), 2. Austin Fritz (M)

145 – 1. Graham Gambrall (ICW), 2. Dylan Falck (CRK)

152 – 1. Reece Caven (ICH), 2. Divion Ocheltree (CRK)

160 – 1. Ben Kueter (IC High), 2. Ben Gibson (M)

170 – 1. Ashton Barker (ICW), 2. Alex Koch (CRK)

182 – 1. Will Hoeft (ICW), 2. Jay Oostendorp (CRK)

195 – 1. Anu Dokun (ICW), 2. Ethan Sullivan (CRK)

220 – 1. Gavin Bascom (CRK), 2. Jason Lemus (ICH)

Hwt. – 1. Dawson Sweet (CRJ), 2. Tate Sykora-Matthess

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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