FIVE STATE MEDALS
Five Panthers claimed medals Saturday at the Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 1A state wrestling tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.
Senior Trevor Carey (45-10) stood highest among the Panthers, placing fourth at 182 pounds. He recorded a 9-4 decision over South Winneshiek sophomore Manning Kuboushek (45-9) to reach the third place match, where fifth-ranked Belmond-Klemme junior Tucker Kroeze (46-6) awaited after his 9-7 win over sixth-rated Central Springs junior Zach Ryg (46-5).
Kroeze and Carey produced a wild affair, in which Kroeze emerged with a 20-12 major decision, dropping Carey into fourth place.
The four other Panthers each competed once Saturday, and all suffered losses to finish in eighth place in their respective weight classes. All five Panthers — four seniors and freshman Wyatt Appleseth — who qualified for the state tourney finished with a medal around their neck, topping the school standard of three recipients set last year.
Senior Gunnar Grunsted, who was fifth last year at 170, made his third appearance at Wells Fargo Arena, while Holmes returned one season after being stopped shy of the podium. The others were competing on the big stage for the first time, including Appleseth, who made history as the first Panther freshman to qualify for the state tournament and also the first freshman to place.
“I’m pretty over the moon still,” Panorama head coach Jason Kirtley said. “It really boiled down to these guys working hard in the room and having fun on the mat. There was a lot of chips on there shoulders because of their sectionals and district draws, but ultimately their hunger to achieve their goals pushed them over the top.”
Kirtley gave a shout out to his coaching staff -- Kyler Kudart, Mark Van Houten and Justin Firebaugh and his managers -- Kennedy, Jade, Kori, Brix and Zakira.
“They’re help is immeasurable and they keep everything on track,” he said.
Looking at the numbers, Kirtley knows what his team accomplished in Des Moines is remarkable.
“It’s crazy what these guys did,” he said.
The Panthers were one of only four teams to place five or more wrestlers at the state tournament, and one of the few to have a 100 percent placing rate.
“Unreal, really,” Kirtley said. “High bar set by this crew.”
The four Panthers who competed once Saturday all suffered losses to finish in eighth place.
Danny Norquist (42-12) suffered a 9-1 major decision against Southwest Valley sophomore Teagan Lundquist (41-5) at 126 pounds, with No. 10 ranked Appleseth (43-12) falling, 9-4, to second-ranked sophomore Logan James of Underwood (50-5) at 132.
Grunsted (45-6) settled for eighth after a tough 3-2 loss to fifth-ranked senior Brandon Trees (48-4) of North Butler-Clarksville.
Dalton Holmes (41-9) earned a medal in his final campaign. He had opened his state tourney trip with a Tiebreaker I 2-1 loss to Sumner-Fredericksburg senior Brock Meyer (42-9) and met Meyer again for seventh place. Meyer prevailed in another narrow affair, winning 1-0 to send Holmes to eighth place.
Unranked Trevor Carey (44-9) pulled back-to-back upsets Friday to move into the semifinals. He scored a 17-7 major decision over Akron-Westfield senior Christian Wolhuizen (38-10) in the quarterfinals. Carey took over in the third, a takedown 20 seconds in gave him a 10-5 lead and a near fall put him up 13-10. Another take down into a near fall gave him a commanding 17-7 lead. Carey dominated most of the match after the early take down, never trailed, following Wolhuizen’s take down in the first.
“I’ve had a lot of emotion,” Carey told the Guthrie County Vedette after his match. “Everything I do out on the mat is for my uncle. He’s down here watching me. I’ve been drilling for a spot on the podium, working harder and harder in practice. I learn a little bit more and more every day I’m down here. It’s great.”
Carey’s uncle Douglas Heyland passed away two years ago.
“He’s been my motivation,” Carey said. “I wear a necklace for him because his dream was to be down here. I’m down here and I’m going to place, I’m doing it for him.”
Carey said he entered the match focused.
“I came out and thought of it as another match,” he said. “The only thing that changes is the atmosphere. It’s the same mat.”
Second-ranked junior Garet Sims (55-1) of Iowa Valley caught Carey off balance and scored a pin in 1 minute, 24 seconds, in the semifinal round to knock the Panther matman into the consolation round.
Nordquist (42-11) began Friday with a 9-4 win over Belmond-Klemme junior Logan Heaberlin (36-13), but then dropped a 14-6 major decision to eighth-ranked Logan-Magnolia senior Wyatt Crocker (50-6). Freshman Wyatt Appleseth (43-11) slipped past Okoboji sophomore Blake Abrahamson (37-13) with a 6-5 decision before suffering a 10-6 loss to NW Webseter senior Koby Hanson (23-5).
Grunsted began Friday with a 9-3 win over Eagle Grove senior Brayden Lyman (42-12), then suffered a narrow 3-2 loss to Missouri Valley senior Nathan Haynes (55-4), who was ranked second and Iowa’s all-time victory leader with 215.
Senior Dalton Holmes won an 8-3 decision against NW Webster senior Darius Gashe (28-7) before being halted, 11-7, by third-ranked Hudson senior Wes Gensler (45-2).
Four of five Panthers dropped their opening matches at the state tournament Thursday, but all won their first round consolation matches to advance to the second day of competition. Any wrestler who wins twice before losing his second match is assured a spot on the podium.
Senior 182-pounder Trevor Carey (43-8) was the lone Panther to begin his quest for glory with a win. Carey dominated Lousia-Muscatine senior Hunter Connor (40-1). Connor had been undefeated and ranked third, but Carey took the match to Connor and scored a 13-5 major decision to set up a quarterfinal scrap against Christian Wulthuizen (38-8, Sr.) of Akron-Westfield, who was a 10-3 victor.
Danny Nordquist (41-10) suffered a 13-2 major decision loss to No. 2 Cobe Siebricht (49-1, Jr.) of Lisbon. Nordquist bounced back to claim a 12-9 win over No. 9 Trey Scheck (43-5, So.) of Sibley-Ocheyedan.
Freshman Wyatt Appleseth, ranked tenth, (42-10) was handed an 18-5 major decision loss at 132 pounds by top-ranked senior Danny Schmit (42-2) of Wapsie Valley. He stormed back for a 4-0 decision over Casey Hanson (45-13, Fr.) of Lamoni.
Sixth-ranked 170-pound senior Gunnar Grunsted (44-5) faced top-ranked Gabe Pauley (53-0, Jr. ) of AHST, who managed to elude the Panther standout and survive with a 2-1 win. Grunsted scored a late take down to top Nick Milder (26-6, Jr.) of Iowa City Regina in the consolation round.
Senior Dalton Holmes (40-7) dropped a 2-1 Tiebreaker I contest to Brock Meyer (40-7, Sr.) of Sumner-Fredericksburg in his 195 pound opening contest. A late aggressive move created a 3-1 SV I win over Bedford-Lenox’s Brandon Christensen (34-5, Sr.) in their consolation match.