A trio of North Iowa wrestling teams made the two-hour trek to Des Moines on Wednesday for the state dual tournament. One of them, Osage, placed third overall in Class 2A, while Lake Mills and West Hancock finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in Class 1A.
No. 3 seeded Osage started the day off with a 43-23 victory over Winterset, but dropped its next match to Crestwood by a 39-31 mark. The Green Devils clinched third place with a 39-28 win against Independence in their final match of the day.
In the first-round match, Osage got wins from nine different wrestlers. Max Gast (138), Nicholas Fox (145), Colin Muller (170), Spencer Mooberry (182), Barrett Muller (220), Darren Adams (106), Tucker Stangel (113), Spencer Adams (126), and Averee Abben (132) all came out with wins against the Huskies.
In the loss to the Cadets, the Green Devils finished with six wins, four of them by pin.
The number three finish was a two-spot improvement from the 2020 state duals meet, where Osage finished fifth.
“We feel pretty good,” Osage head coach Brent Jennings said. “It was nice to go out on some wins for kids. We had some big wins today.”
One of those big wins came from Abben, who beat 138-pound No. 1 seed Independence wrestler Brandon O’Brien, 8-7, thanks to a last second takedown. After going out of bounds with five seconds left, Abben was down by a point, but he scored the takedown at the buzzer for a victory.
“The reaction from the team was outstanding,” Abben said. “They were all going crazy, and I was still standing in the middle of the mat, wondering ‘Was it two (points)?’ I wasn’t sure, but they all saw the clock, and they all knew it was two.”
West Delaware finished in first place in Class 2A, the team’s third straight state dual title.
Over in Class 1A, both North Iowa squads dropped their first match of the day. Lake Mills kicked things off with a 45-27 loss to No. 5 seed Woodbury Central, while West Hancock lost its first round match to No. 2 Lisbon, 38-30.
Wednesday was the Eagles’ first state duals appearance since 1987.
After their losses, the Bulldogs and Eagles bounced back with wins in the consolation rounds. Lake Mills beat No. 8 seed MFL MarMac, 45-27, thanks to five victories by pin for the Bulldogs. In the other consolation match, the Eagles eked out a win over West Sioux, Hawarden, 40-37. West Hancock held on for the win despite losing each of the final three matchups by pin.
The two teams ended the day by facing each other, a match that Lake Mills won, 39-25, score to clinch fifth place, while West Hancock came in sixth. Don Bosco won the Class 1A title with a 34-25 win over Lisbon in the finals.
In Class 3A, Waverly-Shell Rock took the crown after a dominant 59-12 victory over Southeast Polk in the finals.
All three North Iowa teams will send a bevy of wrestlers to the individual state wrestling tournament, which starts on Thursday at 9 a.m. Lake Mills has five wrestlers going to state, in Alex Beaty, Elijah Wagner, Dalton Thorson, Casey Hanson, and Brett Peterson.
For West Hancock and Osage, six wrestlers will make the trip. The Eagles will send Ethan Boothroyd, Kane Zuehl, Bryer Subject, Matthew Francis, Cole Kelly, and Kellen Smith to “The Well”, while Osage will have Tucker Stangel, Averee Abben, Nicholas Fox, Joey Potter, Colin Muller, and Spencer Mooberry competing for a state title.
Osage is trying for a second consecutive team championship, after the Green Devils won the title last year with 85 team points. It was the program's first championship since 1981.
"We'll try to bring home another title," Jennings said. "That's the goal. The kids are wrestling well and as long as they keep doing that, the sky is the limit."
Shane Lantz covers sports for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at Shane.Lantz@GlobeGazette.com, or by phone at 641-421-0526. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneMLantz.