By Justin Webster
Fairfield hosted the 20th annual Southern Iowa Classic, an event started because of the small size of the Southeastern Conference after losing Burlington and Ottumwa, which left the conference with only five teams. Area teams have been invited over the years to join in the tournament, including seven non-SEC schools this year, with Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont having the best finish coming in second place with 171.5 points. Fort Madison totaled 179 points, good for their record-tying fourth team title, an honor they now share with Fairfield. Third and fourth place went to SEC members Mount Pleasant and Washington, respectively, with Knoxville finishing fifth.
Chariton, Keokuk, Albia and Centerville took sixth through ninth place, respectively, with the host Trojans coming in 10th, just 7.5 points behind the sixth place Chargers. Davis County and Clarke rounded out the field of 12.
Demon junior Walker Ikerd improved to 27-6 at 120 pounds with a 2-1 match performance on the day, culminating in a second place finish after losing by technical fall 23-8 to Albia?s 42-0 junior, Aden Reeves, in the final.
132 pounds saw sophomore Dillan Sanders go 3-1 on his way to an improved mark of 26-12 and a second place finish. Sanders received a bye, then pinned his opponent with just :24 left in the match, before winning by decision 7-6 in the semifinals against Albia?s Barrett Bonnett who is 35-18 as a sophomore. Chariton senior Gabe Ruepke then won the weight class to improve to 26-2 with a 15-0 tech fall over Sanders.
152 pounds saw Washington senior Kiowa Keith raise his record to 25-12 with a third place finish. Keith received a first-round bye before losing by decision 7-4 in the winners semifinals.
After his loss, Keith rallied for two straight wins, including a 9-3 decision in the third place match against Mount Pleasant sophomore Jaden Davis.
Tristin Westphal-Edwards updated his resume to 38-1 with another tournament title, going 3-0 Saturday with a :30 pin in round one, a 10-2 major decision in the semi?s and an easy 8-3 win in the final against Mount Pleasant junior James DeMeyer, who is an impressive 35-7 himself.
182 pounds was also dominated by the Demons when 29-9 senior Collin Murphy recorded three pins in a combined 1:37 to take the tournament crown.
Tanner Murphy is now 28-5 at 220 pounds after going 3-1 with a bye and two pins on his way to the tournament final.
The senior lost 3-1 in a sudden victory result in his last match of the weekend.Another note worth mentioning is Fort Madison senior Harlan Steffensmeier took the title at 152 pounds to become just the fourth four-time champion at the Southern Iowa Classic in its 20 year history.