Prep Wrestling

West Delaware captures Class 2A state duals crown

Hawks win second dual title and first since 1991

DES MOINES — They opened the season with a dream and the mettle to make it become a reality.

Mission accomplished.

Top-ranked West Delaware defeated No. 2 Solon, 45-12, in the finals of the Class 2A state duals tournament Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Arena. The Hawks captured their second state duals crown and first since 1991.

“The guys had a vision at the beginning of the year,” West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss said. “The thing with this group is they also have a work ethic to go along with that. You put those two things together and a lot of good things can happen and that’s kind of what happened all year.”

The Hawks (20-2) closed the season unbeaten against 2A competition and improved last year’s third-place finish. Obviously, none of the current Hawks were born for the previous dual crown.

“It’s awesome,” West Delaware senior 152-pounder Mitchel Mangold said. “The last time they brought a dual title back was in 1991, I think. It’s been too long. It’s back at home, now.”

West Delaware was powered by a quick start. Freshman Jadyn Peyton and sophomore Cael Meyer opened with consecutive major decisions, outscoring their opponents, 20-3.

“I felt it was up to us to get after it a little bit to set the tone for the team,” Meyer said. “I think that helped get things rolling.”

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Mangold followed both with a pin at 152 when Solon bumped up some wrestlers for better matchups. He notched his 150th career victory at a perfect time, putting the Hawks up 14-0.

“What a time to get it in the state finals,” Mangold said. “It was an awesome way to end this with the team. Getting the title back to Delaware County is awesome.”

West Delaware won 10 matches, receiving pins from Blake Engel (106), Luke Farmer (113) and 120-pounder Evan Woods. Freshman Wyatt Voelker added a major decision at 170.

In a battle of ranked foes, West Delaware’s No. 5 Ryan Phillips edged No. 6 Zeb Gnida, 4-3, to close the dual.

“The guys have been doing this all year,” Voss said. “They just kind of did what got them here and kept doing it. It worked for them.

“I’m really proud of how far this team has come throughout the course of the year. We kept getting better and better. I think our best is yet to come.”

If the Hawks didn’t have enough motivation to spur them on, Zach Fisher added a little extra. Fisher is a teammate who suffered a spinal injury in his neck from a trampoline accident in September. He had surgery and was in a wheelchair next to the team’s bench all day.

He joined the team in the celebration and was included in celebratory pictures. Voss compared his attitude to get better to the mentality of a wrestler.

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“He’s getting better each day and showing a lot of progress,” Voss said. “He’s come a long ways from the first time I saw him when he was lying in a hospital bed and couldn’t move at all.

“He’s got the same mindset that our team has and I know he’s going to keep getting better as well.”

Mangold said he has a wristband and koozie that reminds him of Fisher’s daily fight. He added Fisher would have been wrestling there, if not for the accident.

“I’m glad he could spend this with us,” Mangold said, “and enjoy this title.”

The Hawks have just three senior starters. Every starter owned a winning record with at least 22 victories. They may be able to avoid another title drought.

“I can’t wait for what lies ahead,” Meyer said. “With how hard we work in the room, it’s going to be dirty. It’s going to be awesome.”

While West Delaware trounced Sergeant Bluff-Luton (58-20) and Crestwood (51-28) in the first two rounds, Solon was just as dominant. The Spartans won 10 matches in each of the first two duals, beating Independence, 51-21, and Osage, 48-22.

They managed four victories in the final, getting late, hard-fought decisions from Zack Bevans at 160, Jax Flynn at 182 and Mike Hoyle at heavyweight.

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“There were a lot of great battles (and) matches,” Solon Coach Blake Williams said. “There were a lot of one and two-point matches. Our kids put it all on the line all day.

“They wrestled well the first two rounds and wrestled tough here, too. There is nothing to hang their heads about, that’s for sure.”

The Spartans finished 28-2 with both losses to West Delaware. Solon earned its second runner-up finish in the last three seasons.

“I’m proud of the seniors and the team,” Williams said. “I’m going to miss some of those senior leaders. I’m proud of everybody.”

Class 2A

Quarterfinals

No. 1 West Delaware 58, No. 8 Sergeant Bluff-Luton 20

No. 5 Crestwood 37, No. 4 Davenport Assumption 25

No. 2 Solon 51, No. 7 Independence 21

No. 3 Osage 47, No. 6 Monroe PCM 21

Consolation round

No. 4 Davenport Assumption 36, No. 8 Sergeant Bluff-Luton 32

No. 7 Independence 39, No. 6 Monroe PCM 36

Semifinals

No. 1 West Delaware 51, No. 5 Crestwood 28

No. 2 Solon 48, No. 3 Osage 22

7th place

No. 8 Sergeant Bluff-Luton 70, No. 6 Monroe PCM 12

5th place

No. 4 Davenport Assumption 39, No. 7 Independence 35

3rd place

No. 3 Osage 37, No. 5 Crestwood 33

Championship

No. 1 West Delaware 45, No. 2 Solon 12

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

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