South Tama hosted one of 16 sectional wrestling tournaments Feb. 4 and finished fourth with 175.5 points, crowning three champions.
The Trojans had only three wrestlers in the finals, but all three made the most of it winning the gold. Coach Nate Van Dyke was happy for the three who made it, but was hoping for more.
"Going into the day we would have liked to think we would have more than three go through -- maybe four, five, six. We had three guys seeded in the top two and we had three guys come out."
Trojan freshman Kyle Llewellyn works near the edge of the mat for a takedown in his wrestle back match for second place against Jared Keenen of Grinnell. In an exciting and close match, Llewellyn took the Tiger into overtime before being caught on his back and losing by fall to finish third in the sectional meet at South Tama Feb. 4. News-Herald/Jeff Barker
At 138, Levi Kaufman decisioned Bryce Wignall of Prairie City-Monroe, 6-4. Kaufman had earlier collected a technical fall against Cole Harre of East Marshall-GMG and pinned Tyler Lutes (3:14) of South Hardin-BCLUW to get to the finals.
"I felt pretty solid throughout the whole day," said Kaufman. "I'd never wrestled him (Wignal) before so he didn't know my style. That was the best thing about it."
Tyler Walz received a bye at 152 to open up his day of wrestling. He then pinned Bryce Lidke of Grinnell in 1:16 in the semi-final round. He took home the gold when he decisioned Blake Meling of EM-GMG, 4-3.
"I was focused on sectionals: one step at a time. I did better than the first time I wrestled him (Meling) when I lost by two points. I fixed some mistakes and scored on him," said Walz.
Erik Lux (160) overpowered the field, wrestling just over a minute for the entire day. After getting a first round bye, he pinned (0:43) Ron Marshall of PCM to advance to the finals. In the championship match, Lux stuck Julio Sanchez of Grinnell in 27 seconds for first place.
"I wrestled my best," said Lux.
Looking ahead, he knows it is going to get tougher.
"(Next week in districts) I have a kid that beat me at Pella. It should be a little tougher."
The key round is the semi-final round. If you make it to the finals, you have two shots to advance. Win and you advance. Lose and you still could advance, depending on the third place match. The worse you can do is face a wrestle back.
If you lose in the semis, you must win the third place match and hope for the opportunity to wrestle back. It is not a good position to be in. If your second round opponent finishes second, you are eliminated. Van Dyke explained.
"We wrestled to our seeds, for the most part. When you're second or third seed, you know your guy's not favored if you lose that semi-final. That's why that semi-final match is so big."
Kyle Llwellyn had an opportunity to wrestle back for second place at 182. The freshman wrestled an exciting match, but lost by fall (7:15) in overtime to Jared Keenen of Grinnell and was one of South Tama's four, third place finishers.
Van Dyke was impressed with his 182-pounder.
"Llewllyn fights hard on a wrestle back. He's had a heckuva season for a freshman wrestling up 15, 20 pounds all the time. You can't take anything away from him, and he fought back just to send that thing into overtime. He can't hang his head too much on that one."
Three other Trojans won their consolation matches. Ben Packer (106), Miguel Guzman (220) and Dalton Vest (285) all finished in third.
Taking fourth place were Jake Thiessen (113), Lucas Shope (132) and Kolton Smith (170). Finishing in fifth were Kade Steuhm (120), Dylan Kalinay (145) and Bryce Climer (195).
Wrestlers advancing are in the district meet this Saturday, Feb. 11, at PCM of Monroe.