As his team loosened up, Clinton wrestling coach J.D. Lueders placed the number for satisfaction at five.
If the River Kings qualified six or more wrestlers for the state tournament, he would be elated, fewer than five, disappointed.
They toyed with Lueders’ emotions at times. (Early in the Class 3A district meet, it appeared perhaps seven Kings could take to the mats this week in Des Moines, and after the finals only three were guaranteed to advance.) In the end, though, two more qualified through the wrestlebacks and the number was right at five.
“I’m happy with five,” Lueders said.
Clinton placed third in the team standings with 171 points. Host Western Dubuque won with 227.5, although runner-up North Scott (211) had one more state qualifier (seven) than the winner.
Hunter Genco, Alex Caldwell, Dustin Caldwell, Dillion Chase and Tyler Clark will represent Clinton in Wells Fargo Arena when the state meet begins Thursday. Gecno and Alex Caldwell won titles at 126 and 145 pounds, respectively, while Chase (170 pounds) and Clark (285) had to win wrestlebacks for second place to move on.
Genco will return to Des Moines hoping to reach the awards stand for a fourth consecutive year. He made it look easy again Saturday, pinning both his opponents, including a 23-second victory in the finals against Dirk Clark of Decorah.
“We all wrestled good; we all wrestled tough,” he said.
Alex Caldwell earned his third consecutive trip to state, beating Blake Thurston of Dubuque Hempstead by a 16-0 technical fall score in 3:26 in the final at 145. He also had a 25-second pin in the first round.
“I did what I had to do to make it, and I’m going as a number one and it’s a great feeling,” Caldwell said.
He did have one close call, though. Selbie McNair of Davenport North reversed Caldwell to his back for five points in the second period, tying the match at 7. Caldwell managed to escape later in the period and reversed McNair to his back in the third period on the way to a 12-9 win.
“I got pretty nervous in my semifinal match,” Caldwell admitted. “I didn’t wrestle the way I should have, but I still got the W.”
Caldwell’s twin brother, Dustin, had it a bit tougher. He needed a takedown in overtime to beat Decorah’s Cody Ritner in the semifinals, then lost 3-1 in overtime to Dylan Gansen of Western Dubuque in the final.
“It’s not the way I wanted to go, but …” Caldwell said, not needing to finish the sentence to get the thought across.
Chase also didn’t earn the trip to Des Moines the way he hoped – he had to beat Davenport Central’s Jacob Behrendt (4-0) in a wrestleback to qualify at 170 – after falling in the final to Max Lyon of Western Dubuque.
“I’m just happy to go to state,” he said. “That was a little wakeup call. Hopefully, I will turn it around at state.”
Wrestling in front of large home crowd that cheered on the Western Dubuque wrestlers with gusto, Lyon broke a 2-2 tie with a second-period escape, then rode out Chase for the entire third period and a 3-2 win.
“They’re pretty impressive, actually,” Alex Caldwell said of the crowd. “They’re taking up a whole section.”
Clark also had to deal with the crowd in the wrestleback at 285 pounds, but he beat Dylan Hoefler of Western Dubuque 6-3 to advance. A third-period reversal put Clark ahead to stay.
“Oh, man, it feels awesome,” Clark said. “The fans helped him out a lot. I was a little wooried.”
While there wasn’t the jubilation of getting more than five qualifiers, nor the disappointment of getting fewer, there was heartbreak.
One came in the semifinals at 195 pounds, where Davenport North’s Jordan Trowers evened the season series with Clinton’s Justin Guilliams at 2-2 by scoring a takedown with about 15 seconds remaining for a 4-3 win. Guilliams, a state qualifier last year as a freshman, wound up fourth in the district.
The biggest heartbreak, though, came at 138 pounds.
Senior Curtis Ilg, the third seed, avenged a loss to Jacob Duccini of Dubuque Hempstead, scoring an early five-point move on the way to an 11-2 win in the semifinals. Needing a top-two finish to advance, Ilg lost in the championship match, then had to face Jacob Ridgeway of North Scott in a wrestleback for second place since they had not met in the tournament.
The two wrestlers had met twice during the regular season, though, with Ilg winning both. But, in the rematch, Ridgeway broke a 2-2 tie by reversing Ilg to his back for four points. Ilg got a re-reversal to pull within 6-4, but needing a desperation move in the final seconds, he was caught on his back for three points, giving Ridgeway a 9-4 win and the trip to Des Moines.
“I shed a tear for him,” Genco said. “He’s been my workout partner for four years. For him not to make it hurts me. I can’t imagine how he feels.”
Lueders said: “I felt he had a good shot of getting out. This sport is so emotional.”
CLASS 3A DISTRICT TOURNAMENT
(State qualifiers in parentheses)
1. Western Dubuque (6) 227.5; 2. North Scott (7) 211; 3. Clinton (5) 171; 4. Dubuque Hempstead (3) 154.5; 5. Decorah (3) 127; 6. Davenport North (2) 71; 7. Davenport Central (1) 57; 8. Dubuque Senior (1) 54.5.
(Top two placewinners advance to state meet)
Semifinals – Jacob Schipper (NS) pinned Sam Cruthis (Clin) 3:33; Collin Koerperich (WDub) dec. Joe Knoke (Dec) 4-3. Championship – Schipper pinned Koerperich 2:44. Third place – Knoke dec. Cruthis 7-0. Fifth place – Jacob Faber (Hemp) dec. Dalton Kelley 23-20.
Semifinals – Chase Lynn (Sen) tech. fall Mayson Shannon (NS) 16-0, 2:10; Jacob Lamantia (Cent) dec. Nathan Feldman (Hemp) 4-2. Championship – Lynn m. dec. Lamantia 13-0. Third place – Feldman tech. fall Shannon 15-0. Fifth place – Craig Harlock (Clin) tech. fall Jacob Close (WDub) 15-0, 4:16.
Semifinals – Rees Hauder (Hemp) dec. Devin Stortz (Cent) 7-1; Bailey Thurm (WDub) dec. Ryan Renken (NS) 1-0. Championship – Hauder dec. Thurm 5-3 sv-1. Third place – Renken pinned Stortz 1:35. Fifth place – Josue Dansou (Cent) dec. Dylan Swinney (North) 12-8.
Semifinals – Hunter Genco (Clin) pinned Connor Allchin (NS) 2:49; Dirk Clark (Dec) pinned Dain Gansen (WD) 3:15. Championship – Genco pinned Clark :23. Third place – Allchin pinned Gansen. Fifth place – Ian Hurst (Hemp) dec. Austin Claussen (North) 7-2. True second place – Allchin pinned Clark 3:19.
Semifinals – Austin Hosch (WDub) pinned Matt Hasselman (Sen) 3:29; Kellan O’Shea (Dec) pinned Riley Chapman (Clin) 1:25. Championship – Hosch dec. O’Shea 4-3. Third place – Hesselman pinned Chapman 3:53. Fifth place – Kaleb Phillips (Hemp) dec. Ethan Stilson (NS) 6-1. True second place – O’Shea dec. Hesselman 10-3.
Semifinals – Andy Dougherty (WDub) dec. Jacob Ridgeway (NS) 7-0; Curtis Ilg (Clin) m. dec. Jacob Duccini 11-2. Championship – Dougherty m. dec. Ilg 12-4. Third place – Ridgeway pinned Duccini. Fifth place – Benny Ruiz (Cent) pinned Anthony Siegworth (Sen) 2:36. True second place – Ridgeway dec. Ilg 9-4.
Semifinals – Alex Caldwell (Clin) dec. Selbie McNair (North) 12-9; Blake Thurston (Hemp) pinned Levi Hosch (WDub) 4:37. Championship – Caldwell tech. fall Thurston 16-0, 3:26. Third place – McNair dec. Hosch 9-8. Fifth place – Jacob Houghton (Cent) pinned Tyler Renken (NS) 2:33. True second place – McNair dec. Thurston 13-6.
Semifinals – Dylan Gansen (WDub) pinned Carter Kramer (Hemp) 3:06; Dustin Caldwell (Clin) dec. Cody Ritner (Dec) 6-4 sv-1. Championship – Gansen dec. Caldwell 3-1 sv-1. Third place – Ritner pinned Kramer. Fifth place – Kiel Brown (NS) dec. Charles Cook (North) 12-7.
Semifinals – Jakubb Fahrenkrug (NS) m. dec. Jacob Burds (WDub) 14-2; Alec Fjelstul (Dec.) pinned Carter Daack (Hemp) :37. Championship – Fahrenkrug pinned Fjelstul 1:15. Third place – Burds inj. Def. Daack. Fifth place – Nick Giesmann (Sen) pinned Brendan Stoller (Clin) 3:32. True second place – Fjelstul dec. Burds 12-7.
Semifinals – Dillion Chase (Clin) dec. Derek Golinghorst (NS) 6-0; Max Lyon (WDub) m. dec. Jacob Behrendt (Cent) 12-0. Championship – Lyon dec. Chase 3-2. Third place – Behrendt dec. Golinghorst 2-0. Fifth place – Kevin Pape (Hemp). True second place – Chase dec. Behrendt 4-0.
Semifinals – Mitch Bowman (NS) pinned Darean Witt (Clin) :42; Brandon Haas (Hemp) dec. Ryan Kenneally (WDub) 4-2 tb-1. Championship – Bowman pinned Haas :37. Third place – Kenneally pinned Witt 1:35.
Semifinals – Colin Kreiter (NS) pinned Bryce Hoerner (WDub) 4:20; Jordan Trowers (North) dec. Justin Guilliams (Clin) 4-3. Championship – Kreiter dec. Trowers 8-1. Third place – Hoerner pinned Guilliams 4:39. Fifth place – Dan Thoma (Sen) dec. Sean Trewin (Dec) 1-0. True second place – Trowers dec. Hoerner 5-4.
Semifinals – Gannon Gremmel (Hemp) pinned Ryan Gomez (North) 2:29; Cordell Eaton (NS) pinned Brennan Koerperich (WDub) 3:44. Championship – Gremmel dec. Eaton 12-7. Third place – Koerperich pinned Gomez. Fifth place – Evan Gerdes (Clin) pinned Carter Zidlicky (Dec) 1:30.
Semifinals – Austin Ashbacher (Dec) pinned Dylan Hoefler (WDub) 1:00; Tyler Clark (Clin) dec. Devon Ramirez (North) 5-4. Championship – Ashbacher pinned Clark 1:07. Third place – Hoefler pinned Ramirez 4:34. Fifth place – Korbin Caves (NS) dec. Tanner Heeren 7-1.
As his team loosened up, Clinton wrestling coach J.D. Lueders placed the number for satisfaction at five.
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