116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Finally, Wyatt Smith earned his shot.
After two seasons wrestling behind state medalist Brant Baltes, Lisbon’s junior heavyweight made the most of it.
“It’s been a dream since the beginning of high school to wrestle at state,” Smith said. “The first two years wrestling behind Brant was tough, but it’s awesome to have this opportunity to be here.”
Fourth-ranked Smith scored a takedown with 44 seconds left and recorded a 3-2 victory over Colfax-Mingo’s No. 10 Kenny Schlosser in his debut at the Class 1A state wrestling tournament Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena. Smith was one of seven quarterfinalists for the Lions, who were in second after Day 1 with 25 points.
Smith said he had plans to get some “good food” and sleep. What was the expected menu?
“I love me some chocolate milk,” Smith said. “And, macaroni.”
Each wrestler posted an escape for a 1-1 tie. The decisive takedown was a product of moving his feet, according to Smith. Schlosser added another escape, but nothing else. The game plan was simple.
“Just show up and wrestle,’” Smith said. “Come and win.”
Smith owned a good perspective as a backup. He continued to improve, even though he preferred to be competing. Smith gained some valuable lessons.
“It really sucked wrestling behind Brant, but it was a good opportunity to train and build up,” Smith said. “I learned a lot about hard work. Stuff doesn’t always go your way.”
Lisbon Coach Brad Smith estimated his heavyweight wrestled about 60 matches in the offseason, participating at nationals in Fargo, N.D., and other freestyle events.
“He put in a lot of time,” said the Hall of Fame coach, who is not related to the wrestler. “He worked all summer long.”
The Lions stormed to four straight victories, receiving bonus points from Brandon Paez (120), Quincy Happel (126), 138-pounder and returning state champion Cade Siebrecht and Max Kohl at 170. Happel, Siebrecht and Kohl each won by fall. Paez posted a technical fall. Tiernan Boots and Lincoln Holub also advanced at 132 and 152, respectively. Lisbon still has two wrestlers alive in consolations.
“We had a pretty good round,” the elder Smith said. “It’s a numbers game.”
“Those bonus points make a difference.”
Don Bosco leads the way with 36 points. The Dons have 10 quarterfinalists with one more in the consolation bracket.
Alburnett recorded a strong start. The Pirates won their first four matches and were tied for seventh with 14 points.
Preston Klostermann (120), Brody Neighbor at 132 and 145-pounder Carson Klostermann all tallied pins for Alburnett. Freshman Rowdy Neighbor opened the round, scoring the final six points including two takedowns in a 6-2 decision over Moravia’s fifth-ranked Dalton Ervin at 106.
“I knew he was pretty long so I needed nice clean shots to his one leg,” Neighbor said. “It couldn’t be anything sloppy. I just went out and performed.”
He will face second-seeded Cael Morrow in the quarterfinals. The first-round win provided a boost.
“It gives me a lot of confidence going in (the quarterfinals),” Neighbor said. “I’ve been doing what I need to do all year — trust my coaches.”
West Branch snapped a long state skid thanks to 220-pounder Logan Wright. The ninth-ranked sophomore recorded the Bears’ first state victory since Drew Finnegan placed fourth in 2016. Wright handled Lake Mills’ Wyatt Hanna, 9-0.
He found out a couple days earlier that he and Lincoln Edwards (113) were the first qualifiers since Finnegan.
“It means a lot because I’ve seen a lot of hard workers really try and finally I get to come up here and work my butt off,” Wright said. “I won by a decent amount and I’m really happy.”
Wright didn’t even get the chance to wrestle in the postseason as a freshman, sitting out after being exposed to an illness. He also credited Bears Coach Jake Slocum for the gains that have him a win away from the awards stand.
“He means a lot to me, because we don’t have a lot of big people to help me wrestle, so he steps in,” Wright said. “He works so hard with me and makes me the great wrestler that I hope to be.”
Iowa City Regina advanced two into the quarterfinals. Aidan Udell (170) and 195-pounder Ronan Poynton had notable wins. Ninth-ranked Poynton racked up four takedowns in a 9-2 triumph over Belle Plaine’s No. 7 Chase Wickwire.
Udell made quick work of Emmetsburg’s Cade Shirk with a pin in 3:04.
“I think it sends a message to the rest of the bracket that I’m here for a reason,” Udell said. “Coming out and dominating that first match, especially getting that first match out of the way with any nerves that you have it’s good to come out and win that so you feel good the rest of the tournament.”
Dyersville Beckman and MFL MarMac each have two quarterfinalists. The Blazers’ Nick Schmidt (126) pinned Sioux Central’s No. 12 Keagan Riley. Beckman’s state medalist Owen Huehnergarth won by decision at 195.
The Bulldogs’ Gabe McGeough (152) and Karter Decker (160) advanced. Second-seeded McGeough won by fall, while Decker notched a 12-0 major decision over Regina’s Sam Aitchison.