The Evening Journal area sent 14 wrestlers to the state tournament and had 10 selected to the All-Golden Triangle New Service team.
Two Golden Triangle wrestlers won state championships with Washington’s Tristin Westphal-Edwards taking the title in Class 2A at 182 and New London’s Marcel Lopez in Class 1A at 106.
Westphal-Edwards was named the GTNS captain on the basis of his senior leadership and unbeaten record.
Washington coach Brent Van Weelden was selected as the coach of the GTNS team.
A couple of weights were omitted and a second wrestler was added at two weights.
An additional selection was made for this year’s team in Rylee Vercande, a freshman from Mid-Prairie, who participated in the inaugural girls state wrestling tournament this season.
Tristin Westphal-Edwards, senior
Westphal-Edwards set a goal of becoming an undefeated state champion and achieved that with a 6-5 victory in the Class 2A state title bout. Westphal-Edwards finished the season with a record of 43-0 and a career record of 172-23. The career record puts him atop the Demons career wins list with 17 more than second place. He is one of only six state champions in Demons’ wrestling history.
Marcel Lopez, freshman, New London
Marcel Lopez bursted onto the high school scene as one of the most promising lightweights in Class 1A, and he did not disappoint, losing just three matches all year, and winning the ones that really mattered.
The Tiger freshman won his district and went into the state meet as the No. 5 wrestler in the class. At state, Lopez knocked out the top three ranked wrestlers in the class, ending his run with a 4-0 decision over top-ranked Stevie Barnes of Underwood to bring a state title home to New London.
Mason Dye, junior, Sigourney-Keota
Dye capped his state tournament in Class 1A with an 18-2 technical fall in 4 minutes, 11 seconds in the match to place fifth. Dye fashioned a record of 31-6 and was seeded fourth at state, where he won his first match, 19-4 in 5:03, and his second match, 6-3, before a loss in the semifinals sent him to the consolation bracket. Dye was both a sectional and district champion.
Walker Ikerd, senior, Washington
Ikerd lost his two matches at the Class 2A state tournament by identical 7-6 scores. Ikerd produced a 35-7 record during his final year as a Demon and is fifth on Washington’s all-time wins list with a record of 143-32.
Jalen Collins, junior, WACO
Any year is a good year when you end it at the state wrestling tournament, and that’s exactly what happened to WACO junior Jalen Collins.
Collins went through the season with a 36-11 record and advanced through sectionals and districts to make it to state. At state, Collins went 1-2, picking up a day one win in his consolation match.
Jerod Kadel, senior, Columbus/Winfield-Mt. Union, 138
After finishing second at 106 pounds at the Class 2A state tournament in 2018, Kadel wrestled at 138 this season and was seeded first at state. He lost in the semifinals to fall into the consolation bracket where he finished sixth. Kadel had 41-3 record with all three losses at the state tournament.
Brady Hahn, senior, Highland
Hahn was the Huskies lone state qualifier last season but one of four this year. Hahn was both a sectional and district champion and won his first two matches at state. A semifinal loss at the Class 1A state tournament sent him to the consolation bracket where he placed sixth. Hahn’s record this season was 36-6.
Nathan Wallace, senior, Mt. Pleasant
The 145-pound weight class was too stacked to have just one representative from the Golden Triangle Area, so Nathan Wallace slides in as our second selection in the weight class.
Wallace had one of the best years of any Mt. Pleasant wrestlers, but his run in the postseason is what really sticks out.
After getting second at districts to earn a return trip to The Well, Wallace placed sixth in his bracket in Class 3A. Even more impressive was the way he did it. After falling in his first match, Wallace battled all the way back with three wins in a row to earn a spot on the podium, even outlasting his first-round opponent.
Kade Chance, senior, Cardinal
The Comet grappler wrestled through six matches at the Class 1A state tournament, going 3-3 to finish his senior campaign with a 30-5 record and a sixth place finish at state after qualifying for Wells Fargo in Des Moines by finishing second in the 1A-8 district bracket. “It’s been a dream of mine forever to wrestle at state and I was close last year which made me push just a little bit harder this year,” explained Chance. “I knew I was going to have a tough first round and all the way through, but I found out I could actually wrestle with the good kids.” This is the first All-GTNS selection for Chance.
Caleb Stoltz, senior, Van Buren
The lone state qualifier from Van Buren, Stoltz returned to Wells Fargo on a mission after qualifying as a sophomore and winning a match but missing a chunk of his junior season due to an illness. Unfortunately, he ran into a tough draw and went 0-2 to finish his senior season with a 29-8 record after qualifying first in the Class 1A-8 district bracket.
Logan Escher, senior, Washington
This was another weight that demanded two entries. Escher won a sectional and district title, then won his first match at state before losing to the state champion in the quarterfinals. Two more losses ended his state tournament. Escher finished the season with a 31-6 record. He had a career record of 81-41 as a Demon.
Isaac Boucher, junior, Mid-Prairie
Despite finishing second at the district meet to Escher and losing his first match at the Class 2A state tournament, Boucher rallied to make the medal stand, winning his next three matches before losing to the third-place wrestler. Boucher was a point scorer at state, building up point totals of 11, 16 and 12 in his victories. Boucher placed sixth at state and finished his season with a 41-10 record.
Zach Beason, senior, Mt. Pleasant
One of the most feared wrestlers in Southeast Iowa was Mt. Pleasant’s Zach Beason, who worked his way up to the top five in the Class 3A 220 lbs. rankings, eventually landing at No. 6.
Beason was one of the very last wrestlers to qualify for Des Moines, winning his wrestleback at districts in Cedar Rapids. Beason, who came into the had a brutal schedule that saw him face the second and fourth ranked wrestlers in the class in early rounds at Des Moines. He finished his trip to state with a 1-2 record.
Dagisteno Shilling, senior, Cardinal
After winning the Class 1A-8 district bracket to qualify for the state meet with only two losses, the Cardinal senior lost in the first round to the eventual eighth-place finisher before being eliminated in his second match to finish his senior year 27-4 overall.
Rylee Vercande, freshman, Mid-Prairie
Vercande lost her first bout at the inaugural girls state wrestling tournament, but won her next three matches to finish fifth. She lost an 8-4 decision, then won by fall in 2:17 and pinned her next opponent in just 20 seconds. She won the fifth-place match with a major decision of 14-3. She had a record of 6-2.
Brent Van Weelden, Washington
Although Washington’s consecutive Southeast Conference title streak ended this season with Ft. Madison claiming the crown, Van Weelden was the coach of five straight league championships.
Van Weelden also coached five wrestlers to the state meet this season and had eight advance through sectionals. He completed his 13th season at the helm with a state champion in Tristin Westphal-Edwards.