South Tama sends triple threat on to The Well

South?Tama’s Payton Vest, Logan Arp and Brayden Smith qualified for the State Wrestling Tournament following their district matchups on Saturday, Feb. 15 Chronicle Photo/Allison Graham

Six went to districts and three are moving on to State for the South Tama Trojans. Logan Arp (126), Brayden Smith (170) and Payton Vest (182) will represent the Trojans at the Individual State Wrestling Tournament starting tomorrow. The Trojans traveled to Ballard High School joining Ballard, Gilbert, North Polk, Perry, Roland-Story and Woodward-Granger for District competition.

Arp began his day wrestling Ballard’s Reese Broer. It was an easy match for the eighth ranked South Tama sophomore who won with a major decision 12-3. In the finals Arp faced 4th ranked Cael Ihle of Gilbert. Arp cracked the rankings at 8th heading into sectionals. The two exchanged takedowns for much of the match. With the score tied at the end of the third period, Arp and Ihle headed into overtime. Arp out maneuvered Ihle near the edge of the match for a final two points. As the South Tama crowd erupted in cheer, Arp tore off his head gear and threw it to the mat in excitement. He was greeted with hugs from his coaches, teammates and his Dad, Jason, who is also a coach for the Trojans.

“I’m feeling great because last year I didn’t get what I wanted and this year I finally am getting what I want but I still want more,” said Arp.

Smith didn’t face any ranked wrestlers on Saturday but non the less at districts anything can happen. His first opponent was Cale Pritchett of Woodward Granger. The two battled it out and Smith came out ahead by one point, 7-6. In the finals Smith faced Aiden Carr of Gilbert. The two went into overtime and Smith won 3-1.

“I’ve come a long way from last year. Last year I didn’t even make it out of sectionals. This year I won sectionals and districts.

South Tama’s Logan Arp reacts after winning his finals match over fourth ranked Cael Ihle (Gilbert) and qualifying for state on Saturday, Feb. 15. Chronicle Photo/Allison Graham

Smith had a large cheering section including his parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and fellow teammates including teammates from the STC Baseball team.

“I think that really motivated me to do better, having them here supporting me. They’ve supported me throughout my whole life really, so it was great having them here,” said Smith.

Vest started his day with Mason Askelsen of Ballard. After an action packed several minutes that resulted in a high scoring feat Vest pinned Askelsen. Vest can be a bit of a wild card on the mat which makes for an exciting match to watch.

“I honestly don’t know what’s happening. I’m just moving around until something feels comfortable,” said Vest.

In the finals he faced 10th ranked Dylan Meiners of North Polk. Vest lost to Meiners 15-6 but by rule took second overall.

South Tama’s Brayden Smith flexes following his finals win at districts on Saturday, Feb. 15. Chronicle Photo/Allison Graham

“I feel good. I can see how much I’ve improved in a year span. It kind of amazes me how the hard work has paid off,” said Vest.

Kyler Smith (132), Garrett Arp (152) and Kalem Schrock (285) also wrestled at districts but unfortunately that is where their seasons ended. It was the first trip for Smith to districts. For Arp it was not just a season but a high school career ending for the senior. Schrock who wrestled 220 much of the season bumped up to 285 for the post season. Schrock qualified for State last year but was unable to compete due to suffering an injury at districts.

Opening round of wrestling for Class 2A begins at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 20 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

South Tama’s Payton Vest lifts Ballard’s Mason Askelsen in his first match of the day. Vest won by pin. Chronicle Photo/Allison Graham

South Tama fans cheered joyfully following Brayden Smith’s first win of the day at districts in Ballard on Saturday, Feb. 15. Chronicle Photo/Allison Graham