DES MOINES — West Delaware made history at the Iowa state wrestling tournament.
On Saturday afternoon in Wells Fargo Arena, before the finals matches, West Delaware locked up the Class 2A team title. That was important for West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss because the Hawks didn’t have any finalists that would be able to score the them points in the evening.
For the first time since 1996, when Urbandale did the same thing — and for the second time ever — a school won the team title without having a finalist. In fact, the Hawks became the first team ever to capture a state title without having a Top 3 finisher.
“Coming into this, we said 80 points might win Class 2A and we got 76.5,” Voss said. “Every single kid we brought down here scored points and that was the key to the team title. They battled and it’s something they’ve been doing all year long.
“I knew the dual was probably our strength, but these kids have been battling the entire year in tough tournaments. They may not have won those tournaments, but the placed pretty high — same thing happened down here.”
West Delaware had three fourth-place finishers, two fifth-place finishers and two eighth place finishers. Seven of the eight wrestlers the Hawks brought placed.
“I think it says that our team has a lot of pretty good guys on it,” Voss said. “It shows that they’ve gotten better from the first practice to the last practice. At the beginning of the year, who knows where we could’ve been, but our kids battled and got better every single day and it showed down here.”
This is West Delaware’s second state title of the week. On Wednesday, the Hawks captured the 2A State Dual Team title and now they are the champions of the traditional tournament as well.
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“It’s awesome,” Voss said. “It’s a testament to these kids. At the beginning of the year, they had a vision that they wanted to get to and the work ethic that every single kid had in our room — from varsity to JV — they just made each other better each and every single day. Now, they end up with this.”
While West Delaware didn’t have any individual finalists, Gazette-area schools put seven in the 2A finals across the 14 weights. Of those seven, four won state titles.
Washington’s Tristin Westphal (182) completed his state title run by beating Southeast Valley’s Kyler Fisher by a 6-5 decision.
Immediately after his hand was raised, he sprinted into the stands and shared long embraces with his mom and other family members.
“I dreamed of that,” Westphal said. “Those people in the stands cheering, the hugs afterward from your family and to get your hand raise and hold up the No. 1 finger. I dreamed of that.”
Freshman Hayden Taylor (126) of Solon put on a masters class of wrestling. He scored on his shots, he scored on his opponent Bryce Hatten’s shots, he scored late in periods, so Hatten couldn’t get an escape.
He wrestled an all-around superb match which led to Taylor winning by an 11-3 major decision.
“It feels great,” Taylor said of becoming a state champion. “All those hours training the room for this moment — 100 percent worth it.”
The obvious question comes up when a freshman wins a state title — will they be the next four-timer?
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“Being a four-time state champ is the long-term goal,” Taylor said. “Getting this first one feels good for right now.”
Union’s Jack Thomsen (138) added to his family’s legacy capturing a state title against Atlantic’s Chase McLaren. Thomsen’s older brothers Logan (1) and Max (4) won five combined state titles.
Lastly, Mount Vernon’s Paul Ryan (170) won a 4-2 decision against Sage Walker of Eddyville-Blakeburg-Fremont to win his state title.
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