Prep Wrestling

West Delaware captures team title at talent-laden Bobcat Eckenrod wrestling tournament

Carson Petlon pins through heavyweight bracket to lift Hawks over Waukee late

West Delaware's Carson Less (right) wrestles Waukee's Koufax Christensen (left) at 113 pounds at the Bobcat Jerry Eckenr
West Delaware’s Carson Less (right) wrestles Waukee’s Koufax Christensen (left) at 113 pounds at the Bobcat Jerry Eckenrod Invitational at Benton Community Schools in Van Horne on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. Christensen defeated Less. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

VAN HORNE — West Delaware heavyweight Carson Petlon prefers to be relaxed opposed to wired.

He was cool as a menacing cucumber when he stepped on the mat for a shot at a tournament title. The team race also hung in the balance.

“I try to stay loose,” Petlon said. “I didn’t pay attention to the team score. I just try to go out and get a pin every time. I’m one of those guys that stays loose. I don’t really get too tense.”

Petlon remained unaware and unfazed of the team standings, capping a dominant day with a first-period pin against Don Bosco’s Mack Ortner in 1:34. The victory helped Class 2A top-ranked West Delaware leapfrog over 3A No. 3 Waukee for the championship of a stacked Bobcat Jerry Eckenrod Invitational on Saturday at Benton Community.

The Hawks crowned four champions and scored 245 1/2 points, topping the Warriors by five. The 1A No. 1 Dons were third with 214 points and also had four titlists.

Petlon, ranked first in 2A, improved to 17-0 this season, posting four pins for eight bonus points. He wrestled a mere 4:34 combined and never reached the second period.

“That was the first time I had four matches in a day, so I kind of wanted to prove to myself I could get it done,” said Petlon, who has 12 pins. “We knew it was going to be a good team tournament, so I tried to get as many team points as I could.”

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His six points — four for the finals victory and two bonus points for the fall — came at the same time as teammate Christian Nunley’s victory for third at 220 to place West Delaware atop a field with eight ranked teams. The Hawks managed 51 1/2 bonus points throughout the entire day.

“It’s not the final match that makes the difference,” Petlon said. “It’s the whole day and all the guys that scored team points and everyone that locked it up, too.”

West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss said Petlon has transformed his body, becoming stronger and more agile. Physical gains are a product of his hard work.

“He made himself what he is,” Voss said. “He spent a lot of time making himself a better athlete, and by doing that it helped him become a better wrestler.”

Petlon placed sixth at last season’s state tournament. He is focused on wrestling Saturday night at Des Moines and he wants to wants to stick an exclamation point at the end of each victory, like he did Saturday.

“My biggest goals are to get to the state finals and win,” Petlon said. “I want to dominate, doing it. I don’t want to just win by a point or two. I want to show how good I am and dominate.”

Jadyn Peyton (152), 170-pounder Jared Voss and Wyatt Voelker at 195 each held their top seeds and joined Petlon atop the podium.

Voss outscored opponents 18-1, opening with two pins and closing with two shutouts. He blanked Centerville’s Lucas Henderson, 5-0, in the finals. Voelker trounced opponents, earning three pins and decking Waukee’s Tanner Spyksma in 3:34 for the title.

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Peyton improved to 18-0 with a pin over West Liberty’s Drake Collins in 3:56 of the 152 final. Peyton was a state medalist as a freshman but did not place last year.

“One of his goals is to get to the next level,” Voss said. “The people he’s wrestling in the room every day push him to get to the next level.”

The Hawks placed six in the finals with nine in the top three and 10 in the top five.

“It was great for us to come in and wrestle some great competition,” Voss said. “Now, we found some things we can really get better at against some of the best guys in the state because they were here.

“We had a lot of kids win their last match that final round. It was something we were focused on.”

Fort Dodge’s two-time state champion and three-time state finalist Drake Ayala was named outstanding wrestler in a field that included about 60 ranked wrestlers. Ayala, the nationally ranked University of Iowa signee, rolled through the 126-pound bracket. He built an 11-3 lead before pinning East Marshall/GMG’s Dom Ridout as time expired in the first period. Ayala opened with a first-period fall and a technical fall, outscoring those opponents 42-15.

Independence’s Brandon O’Brien (24-0) captured the 132-pound title. O’Brien used a second-period reversal to defeat Waukee’s Thurman Christensen, 2-0, in the final.

West Liberty’s Kobe Simon (20-1) tallied three takedowns in a 7-4 decision over East Marshall/GMG’s Conner Murty for the 220 crown.

BENTON COMMUNITY BOBCAT JERRY ECKENROD INVITATIONAL

At Van Horne

Teams — 1. West Delaware 245.5, 2. Waukee 240.5, 3. Don Bosco 214, 4. Independence 148.5, 5. Fort Dodge 135.5, 6. Davenport Assumption 110, 7. West Liberty 91, 8. Union Community 85, 9. East Marshall/GMG 81, 10. Dallas Center-Grimes 75.5, 11. Williamsburg 74, 12. North Linn 72, 13. Benton Community 57.5, 14. Centerville 39.5, 15. C.R. Washington 34, 16. Vinton-Shellsburg 30, 17. C.R. Jefferson 6.

Championship matches

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106 pounds — Carter Freeman (Wau) won by injury default over Derrick Bass (DA); 113 — Koufax Christensen (Wau) dec. Carson Less (WD), 11-7; 120 — Garrett Funk (DB) dec. Jaiden Moore (BC), 6-5; 126 — Drake Ayala (FD) pinned Dom Ridout (EMGMG), 2:00; 132 — Brandon O’Brien (I) dec. Thurman Christensen (Wau), 2-0; 138 — Cole Ferguson (Wau) won by injury default over Isaiah Weber (I); 145 — Cael Rahnavardi (DB) dec. Logan Peyton (WD), 6-3; 152 — Jadyn Peyton (WD) pinned Drake Collins (WL), 3:56; 160 — Cael Frost (DB) dec. Kody Cook (FD), 5-2; 170 — Jared Voss (WD) dec. Lucas Henderson (Cen), 5-0; 182 — Carson Tenold (DB) dec. Griffin Gammell (Wau), 4-3; 195 — Wyatt Voelker (WD) pinned Tanner Spyksma (Wau), 3:34; 220 — Kobe Simon (WL) dec. Conner Murty (EMGMG), 7-4; Hwt. — Carson Petlon (WD) pinned Mack Ortner (DB), 1:34.

Outstanding wrestling — Ayala (FD)

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

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