DES MOINES —
Nobody summed up their emotions in one word quite like Albia junior Griffin Osing as he walked away from the mat and spotted a massive group of Blue Demon fans in the stands.
Welcome to the Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament.
Osing’s huge roar could be heard all around another sellout crowd Thursday night during the Class 2A session of the state wrestling meet. It came on the heels of the fifth-ranked 152-pound Blue Demons 1-0 dethroning of top-ranked, defending state champion Nick Georgean.
“I don’t really know what else to say,” Osing said after scoring perhaps the biggest win of his career. “I’m 49-1 for a reason and it shows that I do all the right things to be in that position.
“The mindset was to go in and dethrone him. He’s a great competitor, but I’m going into (Friday) looking for two wins. When I get that, I’ll be looking for three and hopefully four on Saturday night.”
“We looked at that match all week, but the hardest thing as a coach you have to do sometimes is convince the kids they can actually win,” Albia head wrestling coach Dave Wenger said. “Griffin wrestled a great match. He shut down some of the shots Georgean and once he shut down the best (Georgean) had, it was Griffin’s match to win.”
It was truly the highlight of the night for the Blue Demons, who will send five of their six wrestlers into today’s 2A quarterfinal round session at 2 p.m. Almost none of the Blue Demons’ first-round wins came easily, as fourth-ranked Shadow Leshen (120) and second-ranked Brett Leshen (160) both edged their opponents for one-point wins while freshman fifth-ranked freshman Bryce Leshen needed a late takedown to earn a 3-1 win over ninth-ranked Independence senior Caleb Studebaker.
Only Dalton Folkerts won in somewhat dominant fashion. The Blue Demons’ successful night featured a 10-3 win by the seventh-ranked 145-pound junior over North Polk’s Landon Schuessler.
“I feel like you can build off of each other’s success,” Folkerts said. “You know the guys are going to be there to have your back no matter what the result is.”
It was also a big night for Fairfield, who got wins in different ways by their two ranked senior qualifiers. Seventh-ranked Seth Davisson hit the mat first and rallied late in the third period after trailing 5-1 to suddenly pin Peery junior Schyler Peery at 170 pounds.
“I like to throw,” Davisson said of his winning move that got Peery down to the mat. “I caught him and dropped him and got into a more comfortable position. My mind was telling me this would be my last shot, but I figured if I started freaking out it wouldn’t do me any good.”
Jacob Mineart, ranked 10th at 220 for the Trojans, made Steve Miller’s squad 2-0 on the night with an 11-3 major decision over Greene County senior Aaron Beaman. Though he had little drama in advancing on Thursday, Mineart needed time to catch his breath following the victory.
“I try to wear them down and that can kind of take it out of me sometimes,” Mineart said. “We’ve got a lot of people counting on us, so we just have to leave it all out there.”
“It doesn’t matter how you win at this time of year,” Fairfield head coach Steve Miller said. “It doesn’t matter how you get to the next round as long as you get there.”
Also advancing to the 2A quarterfinals are Centerville’s ranked seniors Tanner Cowan and Riley Denny. The seventh-ranked Cowan won his 126-pound opener over Waukon senior Adam Benzing 7-1 while fourth-ranked Riley Denny scored a first-period fall over Harlan junior Cale Stork to set up a quarterfinal showdown with second-ranked Humboldt junior Reed Dreyer today.
“I’m just glad I got those jitters out of my system,” Denny said. “I always get them before a match, but I think that’s a good thing. It makes you focus in.”