DES MOINES — Day two of the Iowa high school state wrestling tournament was not kind to Class 3A Gazette-area wrestlers.
On Friday at Wells Fargo Arena, only three area wrestlers in two weights advanced to the finals: Hunter Garvin (120) of Iowa City West, Jacob Wempen (182) of Linn-Mar and Devin Ludwig (182) of Western Dubuque.
All three are making their first appearances in the state finals.
“It’s amazing,” Wempen said. “I’ve been training my whole life to be a state champion, and this is another step toward that. I’m glad I gave myself a shot to reach my dreams tomorrow night.”
No. 1 Wempen left his mark in each round, pushing the pace and scoring points. Friday, he pinned Boone’s Taner Harvey in 1:06.
In the semifinals against No. 4 Nic Leo of Ankeny Centennial, Wempen won 9-4. Wempen was up 9-2 with the clock winding down but gave up a late takedown.
“I like to go out and dominate,” Wempen said. “I want to win the whole thing, but I want to dominate at the same time. I want to go out and score a lot of points, leave no doubt, no room for bad calls or anything like that.”
On the other side of the 182-pound bracket, No. 2 Ludwig made sure his presence was felt as well. Ludwig, a senior as well, won by 10-1 and 9-7 scores Friday to reach the finals.
Wempen vs. Ludwig is a rematch of the Mississippi Valley Conference and district finals, both won by Wempen, including a major decision in the district final in which he racked up 11 points in the first period.
Wempen’s semifinal match finished before Ludwig’s. Wempen said it didn’t matter who he wrestled in the finals. His game plan wasn’t going to change.
“Stay loose and let it fly,” Wempen said. “I don’t want to overthink it.
“My goal is to dominate every single person I wrestle no matter who that is.”
Ludwig finished seventh last year as a junior at 182 pounds and Wempen finished fifth at 170 pounds.
At 120 pounds, No. 3 Garvin made the state finals as a freshman. He won Friday by a 9-6 decision and a 14-2 major decision against No. 2 Thomas Edwards of Johnston.
On the other side of the bracket, No. 1 Cullan Schiever of Mason City injury defaulted out of his semifinal match in the first period, so Garvin will wrestle Carson Taylor of Fort Dodge.
The team scores reflect the struggle the area schools faced on day two. Waverly-Shell Rock has taken control of the team race with 126 ream points with Southeast Polk next with 108 points. The next closest team is Fort Dodge with 81.5 points.
Iowa City West has the most team points of any area school with 46.5 and it sits in 11th. Western Dubuque and Cedar Rapids Prairie are right behind West with 46 and 45 team points, respectively.
Wempen’s Linn-Mar sits in 18th with 29.5 team points.
l Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org