PARKERSBURG — For the past few years, Osage has been waiting for the power of the wrestling program to turn back up. Sure, the Green Devils have had a few state champions in that time, but regaining success on the team level has been a goal.
With Saturday’s performance at Class 2A, District 1 tournament at Aplington-Parkersburg, Osage feels it’s closing in. The Green Devils had six wrestlers qualify for the state tournament and took home second place behind traditional power New Hampton/Turkey Valley.
“It shows that, as a team, we are capable,” Osage sophomore Joe Sullivan said. “We’re a young team but we’re just getting started. There’s big things to come in the future.”
Maybe the best part of Saturday’s team performance: all of the state qualifiers are underclassmen.
It started with Sullivan, who claimed the district title at 113 pounds, and then went on to Zach Williams, a district champion at 160 pounds. The rest of the day was filled with runner-up finishes as Averee Abben was second at 106, Joe Jacobs took second at 120, and Spencer Mooberry was second at 145.
Mooberry’s was maybe the toughest of them all. The freshman dropped his semifinal match, rallied to win the third-place match to force a wrestleback vs. Clear Lake’s Braxton Doebel, who he lost to last week in sectionals.
Mooberry took a 4-2 lead into the final period vs. Doebel, and came out of most scrambles in the third on top as he secured a 10-6 win by decision to punch his ticket to state.
“It’s a good accomplishment for a freshman,” Mooberry said. “It was nice getting revenge on him; he beat me in sectionals. Sectionals, he got me in quite a few headlocks, and we worked hard on it this week and we weren’t going to get into that situation again.”
Williams and Jacobs are the only two returners from last year’s five who made state for the Green Devils. With some more fresh faces coming down this time, Osage is happy to be back on the rise as a team.
“It’s big because we’re climbing and we knew that was coming,” Osage coach Brent Jennings said. “We’ve had some, I call them down years; we just had some years where we were pretty learn and not a lot of numbers, so these kids have been coming for awhile, they’ve been putting in a lot of time and effort. It’s just hard to wait for them to get here; now they’re here and it’s a little bit better.”
Clear Lake, which brought 10 guys down to districts, was not quite as fortunate, but the Lions still pushed three guys through to state.
Freshman Sam Nelson was the champion at 106, besting Abben in a 5-2 decision, top-ranked Eric Faught took care of business with a pin to win the 126 final, and Kade Hambly avenged a pair of losses this season vs. Hampton-Dumont’s Dalton Chipp to win the title at 195 pounds.
“It’s been a big dream of mine since I was a little kid so I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time,” Hambly said.
The Lions’ Jackson Hamlin just missed out, falling 4-0 in his wrestleback vs. Roland-Story’s Koby Hassebrock, and Doebel lost his wrestleback to Mooberry.
Seeing the growth of Clear Lake this season, coach Mike Lester still couldn’t help but be pleased with how those guys ended.
“We see the potential that we have, we see that we’re a great program and how can we make it better? That’s one of the thing, kids talked about in the locker room that are already thinking about next year and how to get better,” the coach said.
Charles City, which brought in seven guys Saturday, had three make it through. Dylan Koresh was the champion at 152, Jack Sindlinger was second at 170, and Josh Halligan took second at 220.
Garner-Hayfield-Ventura sophomore Jared Shaw is heading to state for the first time as he finished second at 152, and Chipp won his wrestleback to punch his ticket as well.
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