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DES MOINES — When you are a defending state champion back for your senior year, you’re expected to do big things and perform well in important matches. Riceville’s Chance Throndson got his title defense kicked off Thursday night the right way, albeit it was about as close as it could’ve been to going the other way.

Throndson picked up a 1-0 victory over 10th-ranked Ben Smith of Iowa Valley to reach Friday’s Class 1A quarterfinals.

“That’s all it takes is a point to win any match out there, no matter who you are,” Throndson said.

Smith and Throndson wrestled to a scoreless tie through two periods, and with his choice to start the third, Throndson chose down in a tight match he knew one point would probably make the difference.

With 1 minute, 14 seconds to go, Throndson got up for an escape, and then the stalemate continued through the final minute and Throndson held on for the win.

All eyes were on Throndson coming in as he came in with one state title already under his belt and a No. 1 ranking. But the pressure? Nothing he couldn’t handle.

“I mean, there’s a little bit of pressure, but there’s always going to be pressure down here,” he said.

It also came on the heels of a district tournament where he had to wrestle back just to make it in to the field. But he got here, and with the bracket laid out in front of him, he’s not taking any approach different than the one he was planning to take all along.

“Last week was a little rough, but in order to be the best you’ve got to beat the best,” Throndson said.

He’ll wrestle third-ranked Cooper Siebrecht of Lisbon in Friday’s quarterfinals.

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Sports Reporter

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