DES MOINES — An exultant Carter Isley gestured triumphantly to the Albia crowd after the final seconds had ticked away in his semifinal victory over Harlan's Cale Stark Friday in Wells Fargo Arena.
"It feels good to have my fans cheering me on," Isley said moments after he advanced to the finals with 5-3 victory over Stark at 195 pounds, "pushing me to my extremes."
Isley compiled a 2-0 lead before he extended his lead to 3-0 with an escape, an escape that drew a polite applause from the Albia fans who were serendipitously bunched together in a section that overlooked the mat Isley was wrestling on. Later, Isley scored two more points on a monster takedown to go up 5-0. He hung on to win by three, drawing an even louder applause from the Albia faithful.
The victory marked the end of an august day for Isley. In the quarterfinals, a game Isley transformed a 5-2 deficit into into a win by fall over Reed Dreyer of Humboldt in the third period.
"My conditioning really helped out, my focus and my mental toughness," Isley said.
"He kept his head, he kept his composure and he stayed in the match," Albia wrestling coach Dave Wenger added.
So close, but yet so far perfectly sums up the semifinals for the other three Albia wrestlers.
Although every match was brimming with intensity and competitiveness, Shadow Leshen (126), Bryce Leshen (132) and Griffin Osing (152) all came up a little short in their bids to reach the state finals.
For the crux of Shadow's match against Atlantics' Darrian Schwenke, neither wrestler would give an inch, illuminating how absurdly evenly-matched they were. The two wrestlers were locked in a 1-1 tie when Schwenke got a takedown with six seconds left and escaped with a win.
Earlier in the day, Shadow jumped out to a 4-1 lead over Anzua Efrain of MOC-Floyd Valley at 126 in the first period and upped his lead to 5-1 in the second. He went on to pick up the 5-2 win. Meanwhile, Shadow's brother Bryce Leshen battled hard to erase a 2-0 deficit, but he eventually fell victim to another takedown from Estherville-Lincoln Central's Oscar Ramirez at 132. Ramirez went on to win 4-0.
In the quarterfinals, Bryce collared two points in the second period against Trevor Harsh of ADM and hung for a 2-1 victory. Similar to his teammates, Osing took Danny Bush of Davenport Assumption to the limit at 152. But, in the end, Osing couldn't muster enough offense to topple his opponent in a 2-0 defeat.
"If I could get a takedown and hopefully ride him out, I knew I could win," Osing said. "He just wrested way too well."
Osing shellacked Perry's Seth Stetzel 8-0 in the quarterfinals. Blue Demon Brett Leshen fell to Union-LaPorte City's Jacob Holschlag 5-1 at 160 in the quarterfinals and Centerville's Bradley Irwin lost by 4-2 decision to Independence's Chase Straw at 145.
Isley will compete in the state finals today.
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