DES MOINES — Cascade’s Aidan Noonan had to pay to watch the 2018 state wrestling tournament.
He sat in the stands to watch his older brother, Nolan, reach the awards stand and participate in the awards celebration. The younger Noonan was so determined to be a part of it this year that he created a daily reminder.
“I remembered it all last year,” Noonan said. “I put the state finals ticket up in my bathroom mirror. I just looked at it every single day. I had to work extra hard to get there.”
Noonan blanked Logan-Magnolia’s top-ranked Hagen Heistand 7-0 Friday night to earn a spot in the finals of the Class 1A state wrestling tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. He became the Cougars’ first finalist since Roger Koppes in 1985.
“I just punched my ticket to the finals but that’s not the main goal, yet,” the 113-pound sophomore said. “I want to win it. That’s the goal.”
Noonan (48-0) said he was confident he could score on his feet, working in space. The key was to score first and open up his offense. He scored takedowns in each period.
“I knew I had to get out early, because I knew he had some moves in his arsenal where he could put me on my back,” Noonan said. “I wanted to get a comfortable lead on him, so if that did happen I could fight out of it and still beat him.”
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Noonan is making his first finals appearance, but Lisbon has a couple of Saturday night veterans.
The Lions’ Cobe Siebrecht and Cael Happel earned their third straight trip to the finals, joining 126-pound freshman Robert Avila Jr. Lisbon was third with 87 1/2 points after the second day and saw its two-year title reign end with top-ranked Don Bosco clinching the team title with 133 points.
Siebrecht (49-0) downed Don Bosco’s Cael Frost 6-2 in the 138-pound semifinals. He has awaited this moment for an entire year.
“I’ve been thinking about it every single night before I go to bed,” Siebrecht said. “Just visualizing and thinking about the state finals on Saturday night, February 16. That’s my goal. Not to just get there, and win it, obviously.”
He finished second as a sophomore at 106 in his first state trip. He was second a year ago, finishing behind Underwood four-time state champion Alex Thomsen. Nerves played a factor then, but won’t this time as he tries for that elusive gold.
“I’ll be ready to go,” Siebrecht said. “I’ll block everything out, just focus on my match and score points.”
Happel (49-0) and Avila both scored bonus-point victories. Happel recorded a 24-9 technical fall over Don Bosco’s Easton Larson at 132. He has a shot for a third state title and could put himself in position to be Iowa’s 28th four-time champion, joining older brother, Carter, in the elite group.
Avila (51-1) added a fall, sparking the three-match run that will give them a chance for three consecutive individual champs.
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“It’s definitely something to go back-to-back-to-back with guys in the finals,” Siebrecht said. “Hopefully, we go back-to-back-to-back state champs. That’s been our goal all year. That would be real nice.”
North Linn’s Brady Henderson (39-1) was a runner-up last year as well. He notched another opportunity to reach the top of the podium. Henderson built a 5-0 lead before decking Iowa Valley’s Ben Smith in 5:43 at 152.
“Coaches build me up with confidence,” Henderson said. “My head was in the right place. I knew if I just went out there and wrestled I would dominate.”
Henderson he has been working with his coaches, getting mentally tough and wrestling at a high pace to hammer opponents. He has also been working with his older brother, Brock, who was a two-time champ for the Lynx.
Henderson would like to join his brother as a titlist.
“That would be awesome,” Henderson said. “I love Brock. He does a lot for me, so if I could be there right with him it would be awesome.”
Iowa Valley had a finalist in Garet Sims, who has pinned his way to the 220-pound final. He has wrestled a total of 2:50, sticking Midland’s Brett Schoenherr in 1:06 in the semifinal. Sims (51-0) was a runner-up at 182 last season.
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