Prep Wrestling

Iowa 2A state wrestling: Washington's Tristin Westphal aims to match mom's work ethic

Washington senior moves on to state finals

DES MOINES — Washington, Iowa’s Tristin Westphal wouldn’t be where he is without his mom.

After Westphal won his Class 2A 182-pound state wrestling quarterfinal match Friday at Well Fargo Arena, he pointed to her in the stands.

She was crying, proud of her son. Tears welled in his eyes as well.

But the wasn’t done. In the semifinals, No. 2 Westphal battled No. 3 Nolan Harsh of Adel ADM for three periods and they went to sudden victory tied 4-4.

Early in the overtime period, Westphal was in on a shot. The senior was able to finish it and come out on top, 6-4.

The emotions poured out of him. He gestured toward the Washington crowd and embraced his coaches with tears in his eyes, having advanced to Saturday night’s state finals.

Westphal was thankful for his coaches. But more than anything, he was thankful for his mom and the sacrifices she’s made for him.

“She’s sacrificed her whole life for me,” Westphal said. “She’s my rock. I’m about to tear up again. She means the world to me — she’s out of this world. She’s the strongest woman I’ve ever met. She works three jobs and she’s a great woman.”

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She works as a delivery driver, restaurant manager and at a daycare to provide for Westphal and his siblings.

How does she do it?

“I couldn’t tell you,” Westphal said. “She’s a strong woman. She sacrificed her life for me having me at 19 years old. She’s made sacrifices after sacrifices for me, busting her butt. I ask myself how she does it, too.”

Westphal tries to match his mom’s work ethic when he’s in the wrestling room. And that work ethic has allowed him to grow into the state finalist he is.

“Puking at practice because you’re working your body too far, that’s no fun,” Westphal said. “Sweating your ass off in practice because it’s so hot in the room, that’s no fun. Getting beat up, that’s no fun.

“But this,” Westphal continued as he gestured around a packed Wells Fargo Arena. “This is a dream come true. I’m in the state finals. That’s something I’ve wanted to say. I’m looking forward to saying I’m a state champion, too.”

West Liberty’s Will Esmoil is trying to duplicate his brother, Bryce Esmoil’s success.

Bryce was a two-time state champion and Saturday, Will, a junior, will have an opportunity to capture his first. Will won his 145-pound semifinal match against Winterset’s Jack West 5-0 to punch his ticket to the finals.

“It’s pretty crazy,” Will said. “I’m one step closer to following what my brother did.”

Union Community advanced two to the finals: Jack Thomsen at 138 and Adam Ahrendsen at 152. Both are ranked No. 1.

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Independence’s Isaiah Weber (113), Solon’s Hayden Taylor (126) and Mount Vernon’s Paul Ryan (170) will also wrestle Saturday night.

The Gazette-area schools are well represented atop the wide-open team race.

West Delaware leads with 56 1/2 points and Union Community is in second with 54.5. Solon is close behind in third with 52 1/2 and Independence rounds out the top five with 49. Esmoil’s West Liberty is just outside the top 10, in 11th with 39 team points.

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