DES MOINES — It was supposed to be an evening full of smiling faces and celebrations. Instead, only heartbreak.
In nine semifinal matches Friday night in Class 1A, North Iowa area wrestlers were shut out of the finals.
Central Springs, which had the only two wrestlers it brought down each reach the semifinals in big ways, only to have those emotions reversed on them in the semis.
Junior Zach Ryg dropped an 8-1 decision vs. top-ranked Logan Schumacher of Martensdale-St. Marys at 182 pounds, and senior Zack Santee came just short in his match vs. Hudson’s Cam Fulchar as he wound up with a 3-2 defeat at 220.
“I know it means the world to these guys getting to a semifinal like that,” Central Springs coach Jay McDonough said. “They want nothing more than to get into Saturday night, get on TV and wrestle in front of a live crowd. When you don’t get it, the hardest part is trying to get the kids … they’ve got to bounce back.”
Santee had a shot to nab a win from the neutral position late in the match, but couldn't get a shot to land. Ryg was down from the get-go and never mustered quite enough offense to bridge the gap.
Nonetheless, there’s still plenty the Panthers could take away from this day.
“It’s our first time with two placewinners in our history, which is a big deal for us. Two semifinalists, that’s a big deal,” McDonough said. “Obviously we wanted one to come out of there, but now we’re going to go back side with familiar foes and I don’t see why we can’t get that third-place match.”
Lake Mills and Newman Catholic were two other schools with two wrestlers apiece in the semifinals.
Lake Mills’ Tyler Helgeson was handed a 10-0 loss by major decision from Daniel Meeker of Wapello at 113, and Gabe Irons had a strong run cut short with an 11-0 loss at 195 by major to top-ranked Tanner Sloan of Alburnett.
Chase McCleish and Jacob McBride gave the up-start Knights a little hope throughout the tournament, but their run on the front side ended Friday night as each lost by decision. McCleish fell to No. 1 Gabe Pauley of AHSTW at 170, 10-5, and McBride was handed a 10-3 loss at 126 from second-ranked Cole Siebrecht.
West Hancock senior Hunter Hagen was denied a second straight trip to the finals with an 11-7 loss at 195 vs. Sibley-Ocheydan’s Hunter DeJong. Hagen trailed 8-7 late in the third, gave up an intentional escape with less than 10 seconds to go, and was unable to land a shot as time expired.
Nashua-Plainfield senior Brock Dietz dropped a 6-0 decision at 106 vs. No. 1 Jaymus Wilson of Alburnett, and Belmond-Klemme’s Cameron Beminio was pinned in his match vs. top-ranked Brian Sadler of Jesup.