DES MOINES — Coach Pat Hogan of Union, LaPorte City had a simple instruction for 170-pound wrestler Christian Gray in the last bout Wednesday against Creston/O-M for fifth place in the State Dual Team Tournament.
“Whatever you do Christian, you can’t go to your back!” Hogan shouted as Gray went to meet Panther junior Adam Baker.
Moments earlier, Panther fifth-ranked Trevor Frain, whose bout was stopped several times for blood timeouts after biting his tongue, was seemingly riding out an 8-5 victory over Cole Reiter, a non-state qualifier with a 24-12 record, including two losses earlier in the day.
But, in a furious flurry in the final seconds, Reiter scored a reversal and two nearfall points for a 9-8 decision. It was only Frain’s third defeat of the season.
“He got reversed to his back. Bad move,” said coach Darrell Frain. “He was hanging on. That was the problem, instead of being aggressive.”
That put Union up by six points, 36-30, with one match remaining, meaning that Baker had to earn a fall just to get the match tied, to be then determined on criteria. (Actually, Union should have had it clinched at that point, but the Knights were assessed a one-point team penalty after the 132-pound match. That would have cost the meet in a tie, because penalty points is the first criteria.)
Gray was successful in avoiding the fateful loss by fall against Baker, who grinded out a 9-3 decision while constantly looking for openings for a pinning combination. That left the Panthers three points short.
It was that kind of day for the Panthers, who finished one spot below their seed with a pair of narrow defeats sandwiching a 44-28 victory over eighth-seeded Ballard. Fourth-seeded Charles City (19-4) nipped Creston/O-M (15-1), 35-32, in the opening round.
“I don’t think we matched up with the intensity level of the other teams early on,” Frain said. “We just didn’t finish, and that’s usually what we’re pretty good at as the day goes. We didn’t do a very good job of it today.”
The day began for Creston/O-M with a 24-3 lead over Charles City in a meet starting at 160 pounds, winning five of the first six matches. But, with all five rated Comets still to come, the Panthers won only one more match.
Charles City had four pins and two major decisions among its seven wins. Creston/O-M had three pins and two major decisions. The difference in those bonus-point matches determined the outcome.
“We got on our back,” Frain said. “When it started at 160, I felt we had a chance to win everything through heavyweight. We got beat in a match at 170 that I felt like we were favored in.”
Eighth-seeded Ballard (16-6) was no match for the Panthers in the consolation semifinals. Creston/O-M had six pins and a technical fall by three-time state champion Jake Marlin among its eight victories.
Creston/O-M won the last four matches (138-160) after Ballard momentarily held a 28-21 lead. Ballard finished with six wins, including three pins and a major decision.
Frain said it was a day of good competition for his top-rated wrestlers. In the first two duals, top-ranked 195-pounder Keaton Hulett defeated third-ranked Luke Johnson of Charles City, 2-0, and likewise blanked Ballard’s sixth-ranked Alex Macki, 3-0.
“They may feel like they’re in the match, but they really aren’t,” Frain said of Hulett’s low-scoring, yet controlling style.
Hulett could face Johnson in the tournament semifinals on Friday night.
Marlin hits 200
Marlin, meanwhile, settled for bonus points, but no falls, in his first two wins. Fifth-ranked Adam Staudt of Charles City lost 13-3 to Marlin, who allowed two escapes and gave up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for action beyond the whistle near the edge of the mat.
Ballard’s seventh-ranked Dillon Hansen, who did not make the individual state tourney, offered less resistance as Marlin chalked up a 22-9 lead through two periods on the way to a 26-11 technical fall in 4:28.
“If the ref will let them hold their elbows in, that’s the way it’s going to be,” Frain said. “He’ll have to open up and just expand the lead and win.”
Marlin did get a pin against Union substitute Will Reiter. It was also his 200th career victory. Now 52-1 for the season, Marlin is 200-6 for his career, with 144 pins.
Former Williamsburg heavyweight Austin Blythe owns the record of 146 pins from 2008-11. Marlin would have four matches at individual state this weekend if he returns to the finals and becomes the 22nd Iowan to win four state titles.
(Denver-Tripoli 145-pounder Andrew Sorensen is bidding to be the 23rd this year. Both are signed to wrestle at Iowa.)
“It’s still in reach for Jake,” Frain said of the pin record, “but I don’t think he’s real worried with that now. It’s about winning the next four matches, then seeing where that (pin total) ends up.”
Marlin cannot set a state victory record. Underwood 120-pounder Andrew Foutch is in contention, however. Now 49-0 this year, Foutch has a career record of 204-13, and with four victories and a title this year he could surpass the mark set by T.J. Sebolt (207-1) in 2003-06. Sebolt finished his career at Centerville.
For the day, some non-state qualifiers had big contributions toward the Panther dual team Wednesday. Cole Tanner (220) and Seth Maitlen (182) were each 3-0, and Gavin Leith went 2-0 at 152. (Frain inserted subs against three highly-rated Union wrestlers in the consolation finals.)
Also, Kruz Adamson had two impressive victories at 113 pounds after dropping a 15-6 major decision to third-ranked Johnny Etherington of Charles City to start the day.
Former Creston/O-M wrestler Jordan Hayes was part of the Iowa State University athletic training staff assigned to provide services at the state dual tourney, and he was matside for the Panthers’ victory over Ballard of Huxley.
Class 2A State Duals
Charles City 35, Creston/O-M 32
160 — Trevor Frain (COM) pinned Cole Hoeft (CC), 1:12.
170 — Zach Milks (CC) dec. Adam Baker (COM), 5-1.
182 — Seth Maitlen (COM) dec. Taylor Cole (CC), 5-2.
195 — Keaton Hulett (COM) dec. Luke Johnson (CC), 2-0.
220 — Cole Tanner (COM) pinned Devon Winterink (CC), 4:58.
285 — Nathan Robinson (COM) pinned Dalton Hamm (CC), 1:23.
106 — Maxwell Forsyth (CC) pinned Stone Hammons (COM), 1:50.
113 — Johnny Etherington (CC) major dec. Kruz Adamson (COM), 15-6.
120 — Jake Niichel (CC) pinned Wyatt Thompson (COM), 5:25.
126 — Austin Hoeft (CC) pinned Gage Cheers (COM), 3:02.
132 — Wyatt Forsyth (CC) major dec. Joey Huntington (COM), 13-5.
138 — Jake Marlin (COM) major dec. Adam Staudt (CC), 13-3.
145 — Alex Mitchell (CC) pinned Jacob Johnston (COM), 0:57.
152 — Gavin Leith (COM) major dec. Brandon Childs (CC), 14-1.
Creston/O-M 44, Ballard 28
170 — Jake Forre (B) pinned Adam Baker (COM), 2:40.
182 — Seth Maitlen (COM) pinned Tyler Kyhl (B), 3:48.
195 — Keaton Hulett (COM) dec. Alex Macki (B), 3-0.
220 — Cole Tanner (COM) pinned Alex Silbertstein (B), 3:57.
285 — Charles Angell (B) pinned Nathan Robinson (COM), 1:08.
106 —Quentin Luke (B) major dec. Stone Hammons (COM), 14-4.
113 — Kruz Adamson (COM) pinned Louie Howlett (B), 2:53.
120 — Ethan Estabrooks (B) dec. Wyatt Thompson (COM), 4-2 (OT)
126 — Nathan Macki (B) dec. Gage Cheers (COM), 7-6.
132 — Mitchell Broer (B) pinned Joey Huntington (COM), 0:51.
138 — Jake Marlin (COM) tech fall Dillon Hansen (B), 26-11 (4:28).
145 — Jacob Johnston (COM) pinned Mark Goldberg (B), 1:53.
152 — Gavin Leith (COM) pinned Will May (B), 3:53.
160 — Trevor Frain (COM) pinned Ryan Sills (B), 1:27.
Union, LaPorte City 36, Creston/O-M 33
182 — Seth Maitlen (COM) dec. Tanner Shirk (U), 6-5.
195 — Keaton Hulett (COM). pinned Tanner Hilton (U), 1:25.
220 — Cole Tanner (COM).pinned Jace Hadachek (U), 3:37.
285 — Josh Clark (U) pinned Jake Gutschenritter (COM), 2:52.
106 —Jon Hellman (U) pinned Stone Hammons (COM), 3:41.
113 —Kruz Adamson (COM) pinned Ryder Albertsen (U), 4:42.
120 — Wyatt Thompson (COM) dec. Ted Tecklenburg (U), 9-3.
126 — Max Thomsen (U) pinned Bryce Briley (COM), 1:14.
132 — Trevor McLaughlin (U) major dec. Joey Huntington (COM), 13-0.
138 — Jake Marlin (COM) pinned Will Reiter (U), 1:17.
145 — Jacob Holschlag (U) pinned Jacob Johnston (COM), 1:04.
152 — Logan Thomsen (U) pinned Jesse Rathe.
160 — Cole Reiter (U) dec. Trevor Frain (COM), 9-8.
170 — Adam Baker (COM) dec. Christian Gray (U), 9-3.