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Fritz State Wrestling

Area Wrestlers Persevere, Triumph on Day One of State Meet

By Jason Van Arkel, February 17, 2017

When day one of the 2017 state wrestling tournament began on Thursday, 24 grapplers from area schools hit the mats with a shot at winning a championship. Although only nine of those wrestlers are still alive in the championship bracket, 20 of the original 24 advanced to day two in some fashion.

Classes 1A, 2A and 3A each have three area wrestlers in the quarterfinals. In Class 3A, Oskaloosa saw both Drew Sams (145 lbs) and Callan Tomlin (285) win their opening matches. Pella’s Keegan Poole (285) was also a first-round winner. In Class 2A, Albia’s Aden Reeves (113), Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont’s Sage Walker (120) and Knoxville’s Matthew Landsperger (195) all won their first matches to advance. In Class 1A, Moravia’s Nicholas Martin (138), along with Sigourney-Keota’s Kaleb Reeves (195) and Noah Boender (220) made the quarterfinals as well.

Eleven other area wrestlers lost their opening matches, but bounced back to win their first consolation matches to stay alive in the state meet. Both of Ottumwa’s wrestlers overcame an early loss, as Nathanel Shoemaker (113) and Joey Mitchell (170) earned the chance to wrestle Friday for a spot on the podium. Fairfield’s two wrestlers, Michael Fritz (195) and Brendon Lunsford (285) also won consolation matches after losing their first time out.

Fritz (pictured above) deserves special mention. He suffered a shoulder injury in the first period of his opening match and could not immediately continue, forcing him into an injury default. It looked like his state tournament might be over, but an hour later, he returned for his 1st consolation match, and not only did he win, he posted a major decision.

In addition to Sams and Tomlin in the championship bracket, Oskaloosa also still has Jason Beebe (170) and Kyler Salazar (195) alive in the consolation bracket. EBF will carry on Friday with Walker in the championship bracket, and Alex Hanna (132) wrestling consolations. Albia’s Kyle Sinnott (160) is still on the back side of the bracket, as is Centerville’s Kayden Kauzlarich (120). Sigourney-Keota’s Mason Dye (106) survived a wild consolation match to make to Friday. Van Buren’s lone wrestler, Caleb Stoltz (138), kept the Warriors in Des Moines by pinning his consolation opponent.

Only area wrestlers saw their seasons come to an end on Thursday. Oskaloosa’s Josh Diehl lost two decisions at 120 pounds. Moravia’s Quinton Casteel (195) dropped two close matches in his return to state. EBF saw two of its wrestlers depart, Dakota Boyer (145) and Austin Angle (182).

In Friday’s sessions, the quarterfinal winners know they’ll have earned a spot on the podium. The losers from the championship quarterfinals will have to turn around and face wrestlers who won first-round consolation matches on Thursday. The winners in the second-round consolation matches are guaranteed a place in the top eight, while the losers will be out and will not place.