Prep Wrestling

Prairie's Derek Horak captures district crown

Prairie sends 7 to state, Jones and Vis highlight Kennedy's 3 champs and 5 state qualifiers

CEDAR RAPIDS — Derek Horak never had the opportunity to contend for a state wrestling berth last season.

He wasn’t going to let this one get away from him.

In his final campaign, the Cedar Rapids Prairie 182-pounder celebrated a title at a Class 3A district tournament Saturday at Prairie.

Horak, ranked 10th, scored a takedown with four seconds remaining, edging Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s No. 9 Braxton Bolden, 3-2, in the final. He took advantage of his final chance to reach the state tournament in Des Moines a little more than a year removed from season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

“It was frustrating to have to sit and watch the rest of the season,” Horak said. “It also gave me more motivation to come out this year and wrestle my best.”

Horak was sidelined early as a junior and underwent the ligament procedure, taking him six months to return to the mat. He missed freestyle season and wasn’t able to begin wrestling until the beginning of June.

“It took a lot of rebuilding,” said Horak, who started wrestling in eighth grade and is the son of former Jefferson 189-pound state champ Jeff Horak. “I got cleared a lot earlier than I expected to and I just started working.”

The hard work to come back paid dividends, winning one of the deepest brackets. Horak was one of three ranked wrestlers in the bracket and top-seeded Brady Bartz having been ranked previously.

Horak was unfazed by being the fourth seed and knew the challenge in front of him.

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“It’s been a big goal for me,” Horak said. “I’ve never been before and I knew it was going to be a tough tournament.

“There were two guys in there that I lost to earlier this season. I knew I’d have to step it up.”

Horak opened with a major decision, advancing to the semifinals against Brady Bartz. Horak built a 6-2 lead before getting a fall in 4:48 to earn a rematch against Bolden, who beat Horak 7-3 at the conference tournament.

They exchanged escapes after a scoreless first period. Horak avoided a late takedown attempt by Bolden and converted on a double leg with four seconds remaining for the decisive score.

Horak learned not to get caught under the powerful Bolden from their previous match and executed the game plan well.

“I knew it was my last shot or we were going to overtime,” Horak said. “I knew if I hit it I had to hit it hard. It worked out.”

Prairie Coach Kane Thompson praised Horak’s performance and his resilience. Horak is one of seven Hawks to advance to state at Wells Fargo Arena, beginning Thursday.

“I’m getting those chills before I wanted them kind of moment,” Thompson said. “He’s one of my favorites (because) of how he lives his life. Always a smile on his face, a hard worker, nicest kid in the world, a great student and would help anybody out.

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“Coming in a 4-seed and not letting it bother him, I’m just super proud of him.”

Horak was joined on top of the podium by teammate Trenten Wennermark. The sixth-ranked 138-pounder pinned his way to the title, decking Marshalltown’s Logan Baccam in 1:36 of the final.

“He’s rolling through things,” Thompson said. “What that means to me is he still has to sharpen things up. He’s got really large goals for the state tournament. He’s got some work to put in Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then he’ll be ready to go. He’s been there enough.”

Cedar Rapids Kennedy duo Cam Jones and Josh Vis captured two of the three district titles for the Cougars. Jones blanked Marshalltown’s Decker Mann, 6-0, for the 220 title. Vis pinned Mason City’s Troy Monahan in 3:56 in the final at heavyweight.

“We talk to the kids in practice all the time that this stuff comes in pairs.” Kennedy Coach Dennis Hynek said. “Those two work out together every day and push each other. Off the mat, they are goofy in a good way and have a good relationship.”

Jones and Vis have had tremendous turnaround seasons. They combined for just 19 victories last season. Jones has 23 wins, while Vis has 29. Both have made huge strides and they have each other to thank.

“It’s great,” Vis said. “It’s been us two battling it out in the practice room, making each other better. Working hard and pushing each other.”

Top-ranked Ben Sarasin dominated the 170-pound bracket, opening with a technical fall and pinning Prairie’s Mike Jasa in the final. Kennedy will send five wrestlers to the state meet.

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“I’m happy for them,” Hynek said. “The five guys are going to have an opportunity. If you win a couple matches you’re on the stand. We’re looking to do some good things.”

Cedar Rapids Washington’s Will Foreman earned his third trip to the state tournament. Foreman, who has placed sixth at state the last two seasons, won the 132-pound title. He defeated Kennedy’s Dylan Falck, 7-3, in the final.

CLASS 3A DISTRICT

At C.R. Prairie

Teams (state qualifiers in parentheses) — 1. C.R. Kennedy (5) 213, 2. C.R. Prairie (7) 201, 3. Waverly-Shell Rock (6) 186, 4. Mason City (4) 137, 5. Marshalltown (4) 133, 6. Marion 103, 7. C.R. Jefferson (1) 94, 8. C.R. Washington (1) 33.

State qualifiers

106 pounds — 1. Cullan Schriever (MC), 2. Austin Kegley (CRP); 113 — 1. Zach Bitker (Marsh), 2. Nick Hatcher (CRP); 120 — 1. Dylan Albrecht (WSR), 2. Conrad Braswell (CRP); 126 — 1. Colby Schriever (MC), 2. Evan Yant (WSR); 132 — 1. Will Foreman (CRW), 2. Dylan Falck (CRK); 138 — 1. Trenten Wennermark (CRP), 2. Logan Baccam (Marsh); 145 — 1. Dalton Woodyard (WSR), 2. Noah Cunningham (CRK); 152 — 1. Jacob Herrmann (WSR), 2. Luke Deinhart (MC); 160 — 1. Bryson Hervol (WSR), 2. Brian Trowbridge (Marsh); 170 — 1. Ben Sarasin (CRK), 2. Mike Jasa (CRP); 182 — 1. Derek Horak (CRP), 2. Braxton Bolden (CRJ); 195 — 1. Brayden Wolf (WSR), 2. Ashton Stoner-DeGroot (CRP); 220 — 1. Cam Jones (CRK), 2. Decker Mann (Marsh); Hwt. — 1. Josh Vis (CRK), 2. Troy Monahan (MC).

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