WASHINGTON — For Fairfield High School wrestling heavyweight Brendon Lunsford, Saturday's Class 2A sectional meet was something he's been used to throughout his career.
For others, such as Davis County's Davan Goering, not so much.
Lunsford spent just 29 seconds on the mat during the meet at Washington High School to advance to the district meet in his home gymnasium this weekend. Goering didn't haven't have it as easily at 126 pounds, as he came through a second-place wrestleback to advance to districts for the first time. Both the Trojans and Mustangs had two qualifiers reach the district meet.
"I just had to take one match at a time," said Goering, who lost in the final to fifth-ranked Kayden Kauzlarich of Centerville in the semifinals before winning a pair of wrestleback matches by pin to advance the hard way. "Against Kauzlarich, I just wanted to see how long I could last. I think I've taken wrestling more seriously this year."
Lunsford earned a bye, then pinned Davis County's Logan Hale in 29 seconds of the semifinal. He ended his day when Washington's Mitchell Huisenga couldn't take the mat because of injury.
Still, Lunsford was quick to point out that success can be fleeting.
"I thought I'd have a chance to make it through, but it's about staying humble," said Lunsford, who has dropped three matches this season by a total of five points. "The rankings don't matter now. You know when you get to districts that everyone is good and they deserve to be there."
Fairfield's Jonah Cooper also advanced to districts. He scored a pin in the semifinals before fifth-ranked Nathaniel Genobana of Centerville pinned him at 1:44 of the 113-pound championship. Cooper advanced based on his head-to-head win over West Liberty's Brian Collins in the semifinals.
"I just wanted to go out there and have fun. All in all I thought I wrestled pretty well today," said Cooper, a district qualifier last season as a freshman. "When I got to the championship, I wanted to make sure I could move on."
Davis County's Wilston Wuthrich also advanced to the district meet. His 14-2 win over Washington's Kiowa Keith in the semifinals was the difference, even though he was pinned by third-ranked Joe Kelly of West Liberty at 1:26 in the 152-pound championship.
Other wrestlers came up a win short of advancing. At 106, Fairfield freshman Cohyn Roach lost 16-0 to West Liberty's Sam Gingerich in the second-place wrestleback, while Fairfield's Zach Barnes (138) lost on a previous-match tiebreaker. Davis County sophomore Caden Hill lost a 12-1 major decision to West Liberty's Austin Beaver in the second-place wrestleback at 160.
West Liberty won the team title going away, scoring 262 1/2 points. Washington finished second, while Fairfield and Davis County were fourth and fifth, respectively.
"These meets are different from the regular season in that if you mess up in the regular season, there is always the next meet," Lunsford said. "There is a lot more urgency now."
In a 2A sectional at Williamsburg, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont advanced three wrestlers to the district at Knoxville, while a pair of Albia wrestlers moved on.
EBF's Sage Walker rolled over his two opponents at 145 pounds to reach the district meet, as he pinned Knoxville's Koby Gordon in just 23 seconds, then added a pin at 1:18 against South Tama's Colton Vest for the championship.
Tyler Landgrebe suffered a 23-8 technical fall to top-ranked Aden Reeves of Albia in the final at 120, but advanced on a prior match against Grinnell's Landon Kirby, a 20-8 win in the semifinals.
Alex Hanna finished second at 138, with his 4-3 semifinal win over Albia's Dominick Morris the difference between either of them reaching the district meet. Morris led 3-1 going into the third period, but Hanna notched an escape with 47 seconds left, then added two penalty points with six seconds remaining to rally for the win.
"To be honest, it was one of the most difficult days that our program has experienced in recent memory," Albia head wrestling coach Dave Wenger said. "Our day started at weigh-ins where David Morris was not allowed to wrestle because of a communicable skin condition that we had the proper paperwork for and it extended right through wrestlebacks where we just couldn’t seal the deal in several very closely-contested matches.
"We always preach to the kids that experience can be a very kind teacher, but it can also be a very cruel teacher. No matter good or bad, you can use those experiences to grow as wrestlers if you choose to do so. Wrestling can be a very humbling sport. We will now just have to take what we have in front of us and move on. We really have no other choice."
In addition to Reeves, the Blue Demons' Ben Mason advanced to districts at 195. His 15-0 technical fall over South Tama's Payton Vest in the semifinals was the difference as Mason advanced on that prior match.
Williamsburg won the team race with 240 1/2 points, while EBF was third (152) and Albia sixth (118 1/2).
Chad Drury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter @ChadDrury
Class 2A sectional meet
1. West Liberty, 262 1/2; 2. Washington, 214 1/2; 3. Centerville, 201; 4. Fairfield, 132; 5. Davis County, 121; 6. Mid-Prairie, 111 1/2.
106 — 1. Matthew Lewis (Centerville); 2. Sam Gingerich (West Liberty). 113 — 1. Nathaniel Genobana (Cent); 2. Jonah Cooper (Fairfield). 120 — 1. Walker Ikerd (Washington); 2. Talen Dengler (WL). 126 — 1. Kayden Kauzlarich (Cent); 2. Davan Goering (Davis County). 132 — 1. Will Esmoil (WL); 2. Dillan Sanders (Wash). 138 — 1. Coy Ruess (WL); 2. Garrett Ikerd (Wash). 145 — 1. Tiger Terpstra (Cent); 2. Justis Dengler (WL). 152 — 1. Joe Kelly (WL); 2. Wilston Wuthrich (DC). 160 — 1. Stephen Wardlow (Cent); 2. Austin Beaver (WL). 170 — 1. Tristin Westphal-Edwards (Wash); 2. A.J. Lenz (WL). 182 — 1. Jackson Gingerich (WL); 2. Collin Murphy (Wash). 195 — 1. Bryce Esmoil (WL); 2. Logan Escher (Wash). 220 — 1. Tanner Murphy (Wash); 2. Kobe Simon (WL). 285 — 1. Brendon Lunsford (FF); 2. Mitchell Huisenga (Wash).
Davis County results
113 — 4. Marcus Elam. 120 — 5. Adrian Gomez. 126 — 2. Goering; 138 — 4. Simon Ball. 152 — 2. Wuthrich. 160 — 3. Caden Hill. 170 — 5. Micah Elam. 195 — 5. Collin Allen. 220 — 4. Louie Chickering. 285 — 4. Logan Hale.
106 — 3. Cohyn Roach. 113 — 2. Cooper. 120 — 3. Gannon Courtright. 126 — 6. Mason Allen. 132 — 5. Stetson Spees. 138 — 3. Zach Barnes. 145 — 4. Peyton Cline. 160 — 4. Caleb Heisel. 170 — 6. Carter Spalla. 182 — 5. Wyatt Baker. 195 — 6. Aidan Pohren. 285 — 1. Lunsford.