They come from all across the state, fans donned in neon t-shirts, passionately cheering on their friends, family members and classmates. The environment at "The Well" can be chaotic but it is one of the most exciting sporting events of the year. Yes, this is State wrestling.
South Tama sent two wrestlers, seniors Kolton Smith and Dalton Vest, into state competition and while the day did not end as they would have liked, simply qualifying for the state's top tournament is an accomplishment worth celebrating. Coach Nate Van Dyke said, "Both kids wanted to get on the podium, once you qualify you always want the next thing. You don't want to be satisfied with making it you want the next thing."
Class 2A participants wrestled from 9:00-12:00 p.m. on Thursday Feb. 20 and you could feel the thrill in the air.
Dalton Vest wrestles in consolation match against Seth Maitlen of Creston.
Chronicle Photo/Allison Graham
Kolton Smith's (170) first match was against second ranked Trevor Frain from Creston. Frain's record was 49-3. The match began slowly as neither wrestler was able to score until Frain scored a two point takedown at the end of the first period. Frain scored the only point in the second period with an escape. Smith remained scoreless until the third period when he escaped from a hold, earning himself one point. Smith was ultimately defeated by Frain 8-1.
For Smith's consolation match he faced junior Mitchell Sandbulte from Sioux Center. Similar to Smith's first match both wrestlers started slow with Sandbulte scoring a take down in the first period. Smith was able to gain a point off an escape in the second period. Sandbulte was able to rack up some points in the third period and won by decision 10-1.
Head coach Nate Van Dyke stated, "Kolton as a freshman won three matches in varsity and took four forfeits and was 7 and 20 something. He came a long way his junior year and won a match down here (Smith qualified for State in 2013), he expected to be on the podium. That second match, he's probably going to take that hard, it's probably the last match he is going to wrestle. As a career going from seven wins as a freshman to two-time state qualifier and this isn't his number one sport he has nothing to feel bad about in that situation."
Dalton Vest's (195) first match was unfortunately brief as he got stuck at 1:36 in the first period against fifth ranked senior Christian Brobst of Bishop Heelan Catholic, Sioux City. Brobst has only lost two matches this season. In the consolation round Vest matched up against eight ranked Seth Maitlen of Creston/OM. While Vest continued to look for a takedown in all three periods, his efforts came up short resulting in a 5-0 defeat by decision.
"Dalton only won one match his freshman year. Last year he had a good season with 36 wins. He made it to state for the first time this year. Obviously you can always do better but there are some good things we can take away from the season," said Van Dyke.