DES MOINES —
William Shakespeare himself couldn’t have composed this much drama.
The Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont wrestling team put on a three-act production of Shakespearean proportions on Wednesday on the way to placing second in the state at the Iowa State Dual Wrestling Tournament.
Act I: The third-ranked Rockets staged a dramatic rally to win their quarterfinal contest against fourth-ranked Emmetsburg, 36-31. Act II: E-B-F then won its semifinal dual over second-ranked Woodbury Central 43-33, again in dramatic fashion.
Act III: E-B-F decided to hold five of its seven wrestlers competing today at the traditional state wrestling meet out of the state duals finals match against top-ranked Alburnett, falling 60-21.
E-B-F coach Brett Little found himself in a position several wrestling coaches have been in since the Iowa State High School Athletic Association decided to move the state dual meet to the Wednesday before the traditional state wrestling tournament.
Should he wrestle his stars Wednesday night, or rest them so they’re fresh for the tournament?
“I have to do what’s best for 20 kids,” Little said. “Thirteen of them don’t have to wrestle (Thursday). Seven do. It’s a tough spot. If they’d change the weekend (of the duals), I wouldn't have to do this.”
Of the seven wrestlers competing today, Little opted to rest five of them on Wednesday night. Those five could have made a difference against powerful Alburnett, as they included sophomores Jeren Glosser (120, 40-3 record), Cody Brown (126, 19-15 record) and Blake Marolf (132, 39-1 record); junior Tucker Black (145, 41-4 record) and senior Jason Crosby (138, 44-3 record).
Crosby understood his coach’s decision.
“I agree with why coach made that decision,” said Crosby. “It’s tough to try and wrestle seven matches in four days. I think we’re in shape enough to do it, but it’s definitely a risk. I’m not sure we could have beaten Alburnett anyway. This is a pretty amazing accomplishment.”
“In order for those guys to get that medal put around their neck on Saturday night, they’ve got to be mentally prepared for four more matches,” said Little. “That’s taxing, not just physically but mentally — which is just as hard as the physical part. When you have to put these guys through a meat grinder over the next three days, I don’t know. I don’t think we’re deep enough.”
Little wasn’t happy to be placed into a position where he had to make such a decision.
“I had been thinking about that decision for weeks. I made it probably 30 minutes before the final match,” said Little. “It is what it is. I don’t expect every person and every fan to understand it, but we’re not done. We have more matches to go. If anyone wants to complain, they can call the state office in Boone and ask them why we were put in the position we were in.”
Little believes the state dual meet should be held on a different day.
“They could put it back to the weekend after the state tournament,” he said. “They could put it over Christmas break. Anything would be better than the day before.”
EBF rallied from a 28-6 deficit to beat sixth-ranked Emmetsburg in the quarterfinals – and it was a brother and sister team that started and finished the rally. In her last day of high school wrestling, the first-ever female place winner in the state started the Rockets on the comeback trail, as Megan Black got her first state tournament pin in just 74 seconds against E-Hawk junior Brett Steinkamp.
That fall started a six-match winning streak that ended with a match-clinching fall in just 70 seconds for the Rockets. The wrestler who scored that fall was Black’s younger brother Tucker at 145 pounds.
In between, Glosser (120), Brown (126), Marolf (132) and Crosby (138) took victories by pins to help propel the Rockets to the semifinals against second-ranked Woodbury Central. Bret Wursta also won by fall at 160.
“I don’t get to wrestle here individually, so I wanted to leave my mark in the team duals to prove I deserve to be here,” said Black, who pinned two of her three opponents on Wednesday. “Going out and getting some pins, the team needed it and I needed it.”
Both Blacks — Megan and Tucker — again won by pins against second-ranked Woodbury Central. The decisive match of the dual, however, came at 160 pounds with E-B-F leading 37-33. E-B-F’s Treg Van Dorin pinned Woodbury Central’s Reed Mitchell early in the second period, sending the Rockets to the finals against top-ranked Alburnett.
“Knowing that we could lose before we could get to the finals and knowing how hard we’ve worked to get to the finals really pumped me up,” said Van Dorin. “I just didn’t want to get pinned going into that match. Once I started wrestling him, I decided I was going to go for a pin of my own.”
After the victory, Van Dorin was swamped by a wave of happy teammates.
“It’s pretty incredible to win a match and have the whole team surround me and hug me,” he said.
E-B-F also earned falls from Glosser (120), Marolf (132) and Hunter Johnston (195); while Crosby (138) won by major decision and Dillon Pigsley (182) won by decision.
The Rockets opened strong against Alburnett, blasting out to a 21-0 lead as Pigsley (182), Chance Wurstra (220) and Luke Welch (285) all announced themselves with first-period pins, while Johnston (195) took a 6-1 decision over Alburnett’s Robbie Carrothers.
But that was the last hurrah for E-B-F. The top-ranked Pirates showed why they are so highly-regarded, as they took victories in the next 10 matches against the short-staffed Rockets, seven of those by fall and three by forfeit.
“I’m sure there are some of the kids that are disappointed and some of the parents that are disappointed in the decision to hold some of those kids out, but when you sit down, put the matches beside each other and do the math, we were just short,” said Little.
Iowa State Dual Meet
At Wells-Fargo Arena, Des Moines
Quarterfinals: No. 3 E-B-F 36, No. 4 Emmetsburg 31
106 — Dillon Van Oosbree (Em) dec. 12-7 over Anthony Rea. 113 — Megan Black (EBF) fall 1:14 over Brett Steinkamp. 120 — Jeren Glosser (EBF) fall 1:40 over Jake Miller. 126 — Cody Brown (EBF) dec. 8-3 over Nicholas Merwald. 132 — Blake Marolf (EBF) dec. 3-0 over Tyler Leuer. 138 — Jason Crosby (EBF) fall 2:32 over Chris VanHuevelen. 145 — Tucker Black (EBF) fall 1:10 over Caige Elbert. 152 — Brady Bailey (Em) dec. 8-6 over Treg Van Dorin. 160 — Bret Wursta (EBF) fall 3:30 over Wes Brennan. 170 — Nick Schany (Em) fall 3:06 over Dalton Brown. 182 — Andrew Wellik (Em) dec. 5-1 over Dillon Pigsley. 195 — Austin McCartan (Em) maj. dec. 15-5 over Hunter Johnston. 220 — Tanner Dahm (Em) fall 1:06 over Luke Welch. 285 — Tayler Wegner (Em) fall 3:04 over Chance Wurstra.
Semifinals: No. 3 E-B-F 43, No. 2 Woodbury Central 33
106 — Dylan Muckey (WC) fall 1:39 over Anthony Rea. 113 — Megan Black (EBF) fall :50 over Shane Funk. 120 — Jeren Glosser (EBF) fall 6:49 over Gable Verschoor. 126 — Lane Nichols (WC) fall 4:59 over Cody Brown. 132 — Blake Marolf (EBF) fall 1:25 over Kobey Gray. 138 — Jason Crosby (EBF) maj. dec. 11-3 over Luke Klingensmith. 145 — Tucker Black (EBF) fall :58 over Logan Beller. 152 — Jake Mize (WC) fall :20 over Bret Wursta. 160 — Treg Van Dorin (EBF) fall 2:18 over Reed Mitchell. 170 — Schuyler Rilling (WC) inj. def. over Dalton Brown. 182 — Dillon Pigsley (EBF) dec. 8-1 over Zach Klingensmith. 195 — Hunter Johnston (EBF) fall 1:06 over Andrew Petersen. 220 — Levi Paulsen (WC) dec 2-1 (TB) over Chance Wurstra. 285 — Landan Paulsen (WC) fall :53 over Luke Welch.
Finals: No. 1 Alburnett 60, No. 3 E-B-F 21
106 — Zach Fowler (A) fall :56 over Anthony Rea. 113 — Hunter Washburn (A) fall 1:34 over Megan Black. 120 — Jordan Henderson (A) forfeit. 126 — Jacob Koch (A) over forfeit. 132 — Conner Shulista (A) fall 1:53 over Scott Couch. 138 — Colton Martin (A) fall 3:36 over Josh Johnson. 145 — Bryce Paul (A) fall 1:23 over Jeffrey Koebke. 152 — Grant Henderson (A) fall 1:03 over Treg Van Dorin. 160 — Dylan Windfield (A) fall :27 over Bret Wursta. 170 — Zachary Hoyle (A) forfeit. 182 — Dillon Pigsley (EBF) fall :37 over Austin Hoyle. 195 — Hunter Johnston (EBF) dec. 6-1 over Robbie Carrothers. 220 — Chance Wurstra (EBF) fall :52 over Brandon Huff. 285 — Luke Welch (EBF) fall 1:57 over D.J. Kohl.