Matt Bryant, The JOURNAL
Wrestling can be a cruel sport.
Practices start in November. Through the course of a season you can face 30, 40 or even 50 opponents. You must navigate two qualifying tournaments to make it to the State Tournament and once there, with two first round losses your entire season could be over before noon on day one.
The Iowa High School State Wrestling Championship is tough. ?There are a lot of great wrestlers in the state of Iowa,? commented Washington wrestling Coach Brent Van Weelden.
Through day one, Washington?s trio of qualifiers has proven to be pretty tough themselves. The Demons? Walker Ikerd, Tristin Westphal-Edwards and Mitchell Huisenga have all advanced to day two and remain alive for a spot on the podium.
?I?m glad that all three guys got through to tomorrow,? said Van Weelden on Thursday afternoon.
Westphal-Edwards, ranked 4th by iawrestle.com, is still in the battle for the top spot in the Class 2A 170-pound bracket. He faced off against 7th ranked Lincoln Coakley of Estherville Lincoln Central to open his tournament. Westphal-Edwards came away with a 9-8 decision to move on to Friday?s sessions.
Ikerd and Huisenga both lost in round one but came back with strong performances in the first round of consolations. Their wins keep them in contention for a third place finish.
Ikerd lost his first round match-up with 8th ranked Kurtis Krager of OA-BCIG (Ida Grove) by fall. He recovered for his consolation dual against Winterset?s 9th ranked wrestler, Bryce Hatten. Ikerd built a bit of a lead and held off a late flurry to win the match 14-10.
Huisenga squared off against a tough draw in his first action. He held his own against number 1 ranked Cooper Lawson of Webster City but was on the losing end of a 6-1 decision. Huisenga also bounced back in the consolations with an 8-1 win over South Tama?s Mario Moncada.
The next session for all three Demons begins at 9:00 a.m. Friday at the Wells Fargo Arena.
Van Weelden summed up his thoughts on the next round, ?We are going to have to wrestle our best to get through the day (Friday).?
Four other area wrestlers also survived and advanced to day two.
Columbus Community / WMU has two still alive for a possible first place finish. Jarod Kadel, ranked 1st in Class 2A at 106 pounds, put away Cole Whitehead of Center Point Urbana 9-0. Cam Rice defeated Kruise Kiburz of Winterset 3-0 in his 138 pound bracket .
Highland?s 145 pounder, Brady Hahn, took down Kameron Black of Mason City Newman, 3-0, to advance.
Cody Crawford, WACO?s 4th ranked 285 pound wrestler, was caught and pinned in his first round match against 2nd ranked Enrique Maravilla from Manson.
He came back in the consolations with a pin of his own in 1:27 over Grant Battreal from Montezuma.