KNOXVILLE — Five of Creston/Orient-Macksburg’s 11 qualifiers survived a rugged Class 2A District Tournament here Saturday and advanced to the Class 2A State Tournament beginning Thursday.
“I don’t know if we’ve been to a tougher district,” said Creston/O-M coach Darrell Frain. “Every weight class was tough.”
The Panthers, ranked fifth in Class 2A, had a tough time outscoring seventh-ranked Albia for the team title, 108.5 to 101. Albia qualified six wrestlers for state. Winterset, with four state qualifiers, was a distant third with 68 points.
Advancing as champions for the Panthers were No. 1-ranked Jake Marlin (138 pounds), who joins Brandon Sorensen in seeking a fourth state championship; fifth-ranked Trevor Frain (160) and top-ranked Keaton Hulett (195).
Frain and Hulett both defeated other ranked wrestlers to earn the district title, including a 3-1 decision by Frain over No. 2-ranked and previously undefeated Brett Leshen of Albia.
Hulett gained his second four-point victory of the season over No. 4-ranked Riley Denny of Centerville with a 5-1 match in the finals.
Marlin toyed with Chariton’s Tyler Nance in the semifinals, rolling up a 14-5 lead before locking up the cradle in 3:28. He wasted no time in the finals, decking Albia’s Caleb White in 27 seconds.
With two wins by fall, Marlin is now one short of tying Iowa’s all-time pin record of 146, and could become the state’s new record-holder Wednesday at the State Dual Tournament.
Marlin, 195-6 for his career, now has 145 pins.
“It’s crazy,” Marlin said at being on the doorstep of Iowa history. “When I’m done, I’ll have just over 200 matches, and almost 150 of them are pins. I wish I would have started earlier, and I might have it now. My first couple of years, I didn’t really think about getting the pin record.”
Advancing as district runners-up are freshman 120-pounder Wyatt Thompson and senior heavyweight Nathan Robinson, who won a wrestleback match by fall over Clarke’s Roberto Ventura. Robinson was edged 3-2 in overtime in the finals when Albia’s Zach Davis was able to escape in one 30-second tiebreaker period and Robinson as unable to score in the other one.
There was also some heartbreak in the Panther camp.
Kruz Adamson, on a roll of late in the 113-pound division after wrestling at 120 much of the year, was not able to celebrate his 17th birthday with a ticket to state.
In a critical semifinal match, with top-ranked Mason MIller of Winterset looming in the other bracket, Adamson was leading 6-3 in the second period. But Kody Smith of Davis County got a takedown in the third period and caught Adamson in a cradle for a fall in 5:30.
Miller went on to pin Smith in the finals, leaving Adamson with no chance to wrestle back for second, even though he dominated his third-place match, 12-0.
Likewise for Gavin Leith in a tough field at 152. After dropping a 3-0 decision to No. 5 Griffin Osing of Albia, Leith watched 10th-ranked Zach Moss of Winterset hand Osing his first loss of the season, 2-1, on a late reversal. Leith had set himself up for a wrestleback chance with a 3-0 consolation victory.
Senior Jacob Johnston earned a wrestleback opportunity at 145 pounds after getting pinned by No. 7 Dalton Folkerts of Albia. But No. 10 Brody Beck of Grinnell pinned Johnston in 1:27, leaving Johnston in third place.
Placing fourth for Creston/O-M were Gage Cheers (126), Joey Huntington (132) and Seth Maitlen (182).
While some other teams may have more state qualifiers, Frain said his five-man team could place high.
“I really think all five can score points for us,” coach Frain said.
Trevor Frain switched from single-leg shot into a double-leg grab for the decisive takedown in the resume-building victory over the undefeated Leshen at 160.
“I knew I needed to get inside control right away, and then shoot instantly,” Frain said, “because he had a really good shot, a good sweep.”
“He’s told me all along he can win it, so we’ll see how it works out,” coach Frain said.
The veteran Panther coach is comfortable with the laser-focus of his top-ranked wrestlers, Marlin and Hulett.
“Jake is right where he needs to be,” Frain said. “At tournament time, he sees the end now. His goals are right there. Keaton showed that it’s not easy to score on him. Denny was known as a legger, and Keaton got right out. He’s looking good, grinding people.”
In two matches this season, the fourth-ranked Denny has not scored any offensive points against Hulett.
Thompson said his goal was to make state as a freshman, and he won his critical semifinal match 3-1 with a takedown late against Centerville’s Garett Owens.
“He took a shot and I down-blocked him and circled behind,” Thompson said.
Owens took third place and was unable to wrestle back after Thompson claimed second based on his previous meeting with the Centervile senior. Albia’s Shadow Leshen (48-1) pinned Thompson in 4:52 in the finals.
Robinson had a dramatic route to the state tournament at heavyweight. He got the only takedown in a 3-1 victory over Ben Kincart of Davis County in the semifinals. HIs championship match with Zach Davis of Albia went into overtime tied at 2-2.
Neither wrestler scored in the 1:00 sudden victory period. Then Davis escaped during the first of two 30-second riding periods, for a 3-2 lead, and when it was his turn to go underneath for 30 seconds, Robinson was not able to break Davis’ grasp.
The Panther senior rebounded, however, to pin Clarke’s Roberto Ventura in 44 seconds.
“The kid tried to throw him, but Nate’s bigger and stronger and got the best of it,” Frain said. “To think how far Nate has come in just the last 12 months, in both football and wrestling, is amazing. I’m really happy for him.”
Class 2A state competition begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, after the Panthers participate in the State Dual Tournament Wednesday starting at 9 a.m. against fourth-ranked Charles City.
Class 2A District
Team scoring (state qualifiers) — 1. Creston/O-M (5) 108.5; 2. Albia (6) 101; 3. Winterset (4) 68; 5. Grinnell (2) 46; 6. Chariton (3) 45; 6. (tie) ADM (1) 40 and Knoxville (2) 40; 9. Davis County, Bloomfield (1) 24; 10. Interstate 35 (1) 16; 11. Clarke, Osceola (0) 10; 12. Central Decatur (0) 8.
106 — 1. Austin Pontier (I-35) dec. Britton Gibson (Wint), 2-0; 3. Walker Henderson (DC) pinned Zach Bogle (Cent), 1:22.
113 — 1. Mason Miller (Wint) pinned Kody Smith (DC), :48; 3. Kruz Adamson (COM) major dec. Jake Staroska (Grin), 12-0.
120 — 1. Shadow Leshen (Alb) pinned Wyatt Thompson (COM), 4:52; 3. Garett Owens (Cent) major dec. Bailey Bettazza (ADM), 11-0.
126 — 1. Tanner Cowan (Cent) dec. Bryce Leshen (Alb), 1-0; 3. Logan Wendt (ADM) dec. Gage Cheers (COM), 10-6.
132 — 1. Bradley Irwin (Cent) dec. Tanner Poush (Char), 11-7; 3. Ryan Krugler (ADM) dec. Joey Huntington (COM), 10-6.
138 — 1. Jake Marlin (COM) pinned Caleb White (Alb), 0:27; Wrestleback: Tyler Nance (Char) dec. White (Alb), 5-2; 3. Nance (Char) pinned Zach Johnston (ADM), 3:25.
145 — 1. Dalton Folkerts (Alb) dec. Brody Beck (Grin), 5-2; Wrestleback: Beck (Grin) pinned Jacob Johnston (COM), 1:27; 3. Johnston (COM) pinned Wyman Reed (Cent), 3:25.
152 — 1. Zach Moss (Wint) dec. Griffin Osing (Alb), 2-1; 3. Gavin Leith (COM) dec. Connor Grgurich (Char), 3-0.
160 — 1. Trevor Frain (COM) dec. Brett Leshen (Alb), 3-1; Wrestleback: Leshen (Alb) dec. Bryce Lidtka (Grin), 7-3; 3. Lidtka (Grin) major dec. Sam Plagman (ADM), 10-1.
170 — 1. Aaron Crossett (Knox) dec. Jack Leshen (Grin), 9-2; 3. Trenton Wells (CD) dec. Jacob Bair (Clk), 16-12.
182 — Carter Isley (Char) dec. Colton Spaur (Knox), 2-1; 3. Jordan Grove (ADM) pinned Seth Maitlen (COM), 0:49.
195 — 1. Keaton Hulett (COM) dec. Riley Denny (Cent), 5-1; Wrestleback: Denny (Cent) tech fall Jac Agan (Knox), 17-0; 3. Agan (Knox) pinned Tyler Lester (I-35), 2:31.
220 — 1. Blake Glenn (Wint) dec. Dylan Nelson (ADM), 4-1; 3. Austin Warrington (Grin) dec. Broc Caviness (Knox), 6-4.
285 — 1. Zach Davis (Alb) dec. Nathan Robinson (COM), 3-2 OT; Wrestleback: Robinson (COM) pinned Roberto Venturo (Clk), 0:44; 3. Ventura (Clk) pinned Ben Kincart (DC), 2:44.