Caldwell, No. 4 at 145, advanced to a quarterfinals matchup with top-ranked Bryce Steiert of Waverly-Shell Rock by beating Zeljko Caculovic of Urbandale 3-0. Caldwell wrestled a strategic match, staying active on his feet.
“That definitely was my game plan,” he said. “I’ve been a little sluggish on my feet compared to last year. I planned to move my feet, and I did it well.”
The movement helped Caldwell record a takedown about 30 seconds into the match when he stuffed Caculovic’s head and darted behind him to get control.
“Phil Callahan called us before we left and talked to us about getting the first takedown and how that demoralizes (your opponent),” Caldwell said, referring to the 1981 Clinton High state champion who went on to earn All-America honors at the University of Illinois. “He was one of coach’s teammates, and he (Lueders) makes reference to how mean (Callahan) was.
“I tired (Caculovic) out on the bottom.”
As soon as Caldwell finished on Mat 1, his brother was called to same mat but with a much different result.
Trailing 1-0 in the second period, Dustin Caldwell tried to set up Ethan Ruby of Council Bluffs Lewis Central with a double underhook for a trip but got caught and was instead taken down to his back for a five-point move. He was caught again trying for a throw in the third period and wound up getting pinned in 5 minutes, 10 seconds.
“We had two wins that were exciting, then wham,” Lueders said. “Sometimes when things start spiraling down it’s hard to stop it.”
Chase went down next. The top-ranked wrestler at 170 was taken down to his back for a fall by No. 6 Hank Swalla of Ames just 10 seconds into the second period.
The first round ended when Clark was pinned in 2:24 by second-ranked Jake Marnin of Southeast Polk.