DES MOINES — What a difference a year makes for the Newman Catholic wresting team, at least for one day of the Class 1A state tournament.
After not having a win at state last season, the Knights had two of their three wrestlers Thursday night punch their tickets on to Friday’s quarterfinal round. It started with a little redemption for Jacob McBride.
McBride, a junior, was one of the Knights who went 0-2 last time around, and Thursday he finally put one in the win column. Walking off the mat and into the tunnel at Wells Fargo Arena, his coaches Mark Bertsch and Matt McBride, who is also his father, were elated Jacob was finally strolling away with a victory at state.
“I’ve never won at state, and being able to be on the front side and being able to work up … what I think is I have a good shot at being in the finals,” McBride said. “I feel really good about it.”
His match Thursday vs. 10th-ranked Mitchell Hayes was a bit of a mixed bag. McBride, who’s ranked sixth at 126, went up 2-0 in the second period, and a three-point nearfall in the third gave him enough cushion to hold on.
Whatever it was, McBride was happy he started off with a win to get himself in the right mindset.
“Coming in here with a straight-forward mind saying ‘I’m fourth. I can get there,” he said. “This match is just what I need to get through.
“It just helps me carry it toward the next step because getting knocked down right away is not where you want to go. You want to have a good mindset.”
McBride will meet No. 6 Teagan Lundquist of Southwest Valley in the quarterfinals.
His teammate Chase McCleish was on his mark in his first state tournament appearance.
McCleish, a junior 170-pounder, staked himself a 4-3 lead over West Sioux’s Neddy Montes heading into the third, and then took advantage of a mistake by Montes to earn a fall in 4 minutes, 52 seconds.
“I don’t know what was going on exactly, but I was on top and he tried to roll and I just capitalized on it,” McCleish said. “It felt amazing being in this big arena for the first time, and getting that pin, it felt good.”
With a quick win wrapped up and not having to worry about consolation matches or even trying to get just one win at state, McCleish said he was most excited to just get back to the hotel and relax after a big win.
He’ll get back to work Friday vs. No. 8 T.J. Dierking of Southwest Warren/Melcher-Dallas in the quarterfinals.
“Everybody is here for the same goal, but I want it more; I’m going to get it,” McCleish said.