DES MOINES — One day removed from taking third place in the Class 1A state duals tournament, Lake Mills carried a little momentum over into the traditional tournament as three of its six wrestlers moved into the 1A quarterfinals, and one more stayed alive on the back side.
Sophomore and ninth-ranked Tyler Helgeson got things started with a victory at 113 pounds to vault himself into Friday’s quarterfinals. Helgeson and his opponent Thursday, fifth-ranked Bryce Kafton of Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto, came into the final period locked in a 2-2 tie. A takedown by Helgeson with just over a minute remaining wound up being the difference in a 4-2 victory.
“It just proves to myself that I can be that good and I can be with those guys,” Helgeson said of his minor upset.
Teammate Elijah Wagner followed up with an upset of his own at 160 pounds as he knocked off the sixth-ranked wrestler, Chance Rice of Colfax-Mingo, 3-2. An escape and a takedown in the second period netted the freshman a victory.
It was getting his feet wet in Wednesday’s duals which got his feet wet.
“I wrestled one of the best kids from Don Bosco, who was top 4, and a really good kid at 152 from Lisbon … and that set the fire for today,” Wagner said.
Fourth-ranked Gabe Irons took care of business in his 195-pound opener with a technical fall 10 seconds into the third period. It was starting fast which resonated with Irons.
“I can’t start off slow. Last year I had a tough match right away and I just got off slow,” he said. “This year, I want to get going. I want to get to the semis, but I can’t look too far forward.”
The Bulldogs’ Jack Ramaker stayed alive on the back side of the 106 bracket with 1-0 decision in the consolation round.
Belmond-Klemme was a perfect 3 for 3 on Thursday, pushing all three of its wrestlers into the quarterfinals.
Junior Tucker Kroeze had to work the hardest for his advancement as he picked up a 9-7 win by sudden victory over South Winneshiek’s Manning Kuboushek.
“First time here at state and it’s just a lot of pressure,” Kroeze said. “I was just trying to come out with the win and I did.”
The Broncos’ Logan Heaberlin and Cameron Beminio made it look a tad bit easier with a pin apiece.
Heaberlin wrestled nearly perfectly to his own plan, picking up a pin in vs. 3:10 Reece Welcher of Wapsie Valley.
“I (faced) him earlier in the season and I hit the same shot so I figured I’d hit it again,” Heaberlin said. “I told coach that I was going to pin him this time.”
Beminio began his senior campaign at the state tournament with an easy pin of his own in 54 seconds vs. Louisa-Muscatine’s Gabe Hayes.
“It feels good, but then again I got a pin in my first match last year, too, and ended up blowing out my knee,” Beminio said. “This year I’ve got a bit of a kick behind me and I’m hoping to go far. I’m going to push really, really hard.”
After taking sixth place last year, Central Springs’ Zach Ryg, who is making his third state tournament appearance, showed off his experience in a 9-2 win over GT/RA’s Carter Murray. For Ryg, it was a good start to what he hopes is a good week.
“Experience really helps just keep the bugs out so you don’t get the jitters in the match,” Ryg said. “I might still have had some jitters right there, but not as much as I usually would. It’s just go out there, score points and have fun.”
Climbing up to the top of the podium this year is the end goal for the junior.
His teammate Zack Santee also moved on to the quarterfinals with a 3-1 win over AHSTW’s Brady Canada.
West Hancock senior Hunter Hagen, a state finalist a year ago, got off on the right foot with a pin in 4:34 vs. Bellevue’s Brenden Christensen at 195 pounds.
Wrestling with a partially torn muscle in his shoulder, Hagen, without pain, was able to keep the course on his quest back to the finals.
“I just have to focus on really putting moves together,” Hagen said. “The outter environment, just push it out and keep doing what I’m doing.”
Nashua-Plainfield 106-pounder Brock Dietz also earned a trip to the quarterfinals with a 7-5 win against Jose Flores of Sibley-Ocheyedan.