Prep Wrestling

J-Hawk Invitational wrestling: North Cedar's Tyler Thurston pins his way to title

Against competition from bigger schools, Knights senior follows in coach's footsteps

CEDAR RAPIDS – Compete and dominate. North Cedar’s Tyler Thurston had those two goals in mind when he stepped on the mat for a rare weekday tournament added to a schedule that has had two straight weekends wiped out by weather-related cancellations. Well, mission accomplished.

Thurston pinned his way through the 195-pound bracket and captured a title at the J-Hawk Invitational Monday at Cedar Rapids Jefferson. He earned the tournament’s Gorrarian award for the most falls in the shortest amount of time, collecting four in 5:09.

The Knights’ senior needed 1:12 to end his title bout against Alburnett’s Noah Neofotist.

“It feels great,” Thurston said. “My thought process was go out there and just beat people up. Just going and pushing until it’s done.”

North Cedar was originally set to wrestle at Solon’s Ed Hadenfeldt Invitational on Saturday, but that was canceled. Athletics Director Adam Hadenfeldt asked Knights Coach Darrell Long about his interest in the primarily Class 3A event and took advantage of the opportunity for Thurston, 145-pounder Brody Hawtrey and Brennen Kreel at 220.

“Our basic goal here was just to get some matches,” Long said. “Winning it was a bonus. For two weeks now, we’ve basically been canceled out and we really wanted to go to Solon this weekend.”

North Cedar and Alburnett were the only 1A teams in the 16-team field. Thurston is ranked eighth by The Predicament and pinned three 3A foes, including two in the first period. He was excited to face different competition from the moment he found out Sunday.

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“It’s great,” Thurston said. “I love going out there and competing against different guys, even the higher ranked guys. I just like to compete and giving it my all.”

Thurston (27-4) led all three Knights medalists. Hawtrey placed second and Kreel was sixth. Thurston’s title was icing on the cake for Long, who was a 167-pound state runner-up for Jefferson in 1985.

“I mentioned on the way down that I was a J-Hawk Invitational champ,” Long said. “So, we needed another one in the family. It was a good deal for us.”

Iowa City High and Solon matched West Burlington/Notre Dame with a tournament-best two titlists.

Solon’s Hayden Taylor named Outstanding Wrestler

Top-seeded Hayden Taylor steamrolled his way to Outstanding Wrestler honors voted on by the coaches. Taylor recorded two pins and a seven-point decision before a 17-2 technical fall over Hawtrey in the 145 final.

Taylor used three takedowns and five nearfall points in the first period for an 11-2 lead. He added an escape and five-point move to terminate the match in three minutes.

“Hayden really dominated his way, I thought, in that last match, especially,” Blake Williams said. “When he turns his motor on, he’s hard to beat. If he keeps that attack style going for all six minutes that’s when he’s at his best.”

The Spartans’ Jax Flynn won a rubber match with Muscatine’s Tim Nimley, posting a 12-4 major in the 170 final. Flynn scored 11 points in the second period to break open a scoreless bout, getting a takedown, two nearfall and stifling a throw attempt for a five-point move.

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“He’s a good scrambler,” Williams said. “He’s got good hips and one of his strong points. He used that to his advantage.”

Solon’s Zeb Gnida was second at 152, helping the Spartans finish sixth with 141 points. Pleasant Valley won the team title with 194 1/2, beating Dubuque Hempstead by 19 1/2. Cedar Falls was third and the Little Hawks were fourth with 153 1/2 points.

City High’s Ben Kueter still undefeated

Freshman 160-pounder Ben Kueter and Jason Lemus won for City High. Kueter remained unbeaten with a 15-4 major decision over Pleasant Valley’s Ryan Kammerer for the 160-pound championship.

He pinned his way through the semifinals and tallied seven takedowns in his last match.

“I felt good on my feet,” Kueter said. “I was firing shots off pretty well. I just felt confident in every position that I was in.”

Sixth-ranked Kueter missed the first half of the season, healing from an injury suffered in football. He said the wait for regular competition was unbearable and is glad to be on the mat.

“It felt like forever,” Kueter said. “Our tournament last weekend got canceled and I would have had some good competition. I was really excited to be able to come out and wrestle finally. It felt great.”

J-HAWK INVITATIONAL

At Cedar Rapids Jefferson

Teams

1. Pleasant Valley 194.5

2. Dubuque Hempstead 175

3. Cedar Falls 163.5

4. Iowa City High 153.5

5. Fort Madison 148.5

6. Solon 141

7. Muscatine 136.5

8. Boone 122.5

9. West Burlington/Notre Dame 95

10. Clinton 81

11. Davenport Central 79

12. Alburnett 77.5

13. Burlington 67

14. Cedar Rapids Washington 63

15. North Cedar 62

16. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 25

Championship matches

106 – Nathan Canfield (DC) major dec. Henry Koehn (CF), 12-2

113 – Blaine Frazier (WBND) dec. Ethan Wood-Finley (ICH), 7-1

120 – Adler Kramer (DH) dec. Garrett Bormann (ICH), 6-2

126 – Jackson Barth (CF) dec. Sam West (WBND), 14-8

132 – Duncan Delzell (Bur) dec. Hunter Meyrer (PV), 11-4

138 – Grifen Molle (WMND) dec. Dylan Whitt (CF), 9-5

145 – Hayden Taylor (Sol) tech. fall Brody Hawtrey (NC), 17-2

152 – Eli Loyd (PV) pinned Zeb Gnida (Sol), 5:53

160 – Ben Kueter (ICH) major decision Ryan Kammerer (PV), 15-4

170 – Jax Flynn (Sol) major dec. Tim Nimley (Mus), 12-4

182 – Taner Harvey (Boone) pinned Aidan Dunne (DH), 1:40

195 – Tyler Thurston (NC) pinned Noah Neofotist (Alb), 1:12

220 – Jason Lemus (ICH) pinned Alex Hudson (DH), 1:57

Hwt. – Danen Settles (FM) dec. Togeh Deseh (Mus), 3-1.

Outstanding wrestler – Taylor, Solon

Gorrarian Award (Most pins in shortest time) – Thurston, North Cedar (four pins, 5:09)

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

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