Wrestling in an Iowa district final might not be a wrestler’s last match of the day because the loser must wrestle the third-place finisher for true second if they haven’t wrestled.
With the possibility of another match looming, it can be difficult not to wonder what’s happening on the third-place mat.
“Every one of the matches on the third-place mat finished before our matches in the finals, so it was a little bit anticlimactic,” Central DeWitt coach Ed Vance said. “I caught (Cameron) Donovan in the middle of his match turning and looking at the other match and scoreboard. I called him on it, and he said, ‘Yeah, I know.’ Greyson Doolittle looked over, too, because there was a pin at 152 and the crowd made a lot of noise. But Cameron was turning his head about every five seconds.”
Donovan, Doolittle, Jake Feldpausch and Walker Wegener finished in the top two Saturday at the Class 2A West Liberty District tournament to advance to the state meet.
“It’s hard to say I’m 100 percent happy,” Vance said. “When you take six, you expect six to go to state. It’s bittersweet. You’re happy for the guys who made it through and disappointed for the guys who didn’t. Fortunately they’re both juniors and have a chance to go to state next year.”
There was nothing sweet about the day for the other local teams at the district meet. Camanche, Northeast and Maquoketa all failed to advance any wrestlers to the state meet.
“It’s a difficult moment in their time on the wrestling team,” Camanche coach Brent Carstensen said of his pair of freshmen, Jeremy Sorem and Brice Everson, who both lost in matches for true second.
But there was a lot to be happy about for the Sabers.
Feldpausch, a junior, started his day with a 4-3 win over Ethan Timmerman of Mediapolis in the semifinals.
“Jake is just relentless in the weight room, and I think he’s gotten a lot of confidence from that,” Vance said. “He’s very strong, and he’s come along way in wrestling. He claims he only won six matches in junior high. Last year, he was about .500, but at the conference tournament he dislocated his elbow. He had a long rehab and didn’t wrestle in the offseason.”
Feldpausch needed that strength in the final against Mark Ramirez of Columbus Community. Ramirez took Feldpausch down early in the third period to cut his deficit to one and then let Feldpausch escape for a two-point lead.
“They both went for a shot and were driving in at the same time,” Vance said. “Whoever could drive the hardest then would win. Jake went through and put him on his back for the pin. It was exciting, especially because it was so close.”
Donovan won his semifinal at 220 pounds 9-3 over New London sophomore Kyle Davis. When Davis won the third-place match, Donovan knew he was going to state, despite losing in the final.
“We didn’t know too much about Davis because we never see New London,” Vance said. “We e-mailed the Mediapolos coach, actually, and got a little information. I think that was beneficial for Cameron. Last year, he wrestled Josh Cannon (from Mount Vernon) and those two were always real close. Cameron was nervous and got destroyed by Cannon.
“Cameron is one of those kids who is always goofing around. In the van on the way up, he was typical, annoying Cameron Donovan. Last year was the opposite. He didn’t say a word. It was good for him to be in a different state of mind.”
The different attitude heading into the meet may have been key for Donovan as he advanced to the state meet.
“Cameron’s dad was a state champion in South Dakota,” Vance said. “His dad didn’t put any pressure on him, but Cameron didn’t want to disappoint himself or his dad. After the final — even though he lost, he qualified — he went into the stands and gave his dad a big hug. It was a neat moment.”
Wegener won his semifinal 8-4 and did not need a match for true second, either.
“We were pretty confident he was going to win going in,” Vance said. “He was banged up, so we sat him out of Lueders and WaMaC (a pair of tournaments in the two weeks before sectionals). That turned out to be the right decision.”
Doolittle’s road to the state meet started in January when Vance had him decide whether he wanted to try to advance at 152 or 160.
“At that point, we thought 160 might be the bigger risk,” Vance said. “We hadn’t seen Danny Bush yet. We knew (Nick) Georgean was good. So it came down to take our chances against a sophomore or senior from Mediapolis. He picked the sophomore and 152. But after he beat Bush in the regional dual Tuesday, he was thinking, ‘Did I make the right choice?’ ”
Doolittle (27-9) beat Mediapolis sophomore Bradley Conley (43-3) 7-0 in the semifinals and lost to Georgean of Davenport Assumption in the finals. But he still advanced. Mediapolis senior Blake Beckman beat Assumption’s Bush in the final at 160 and both advanced.
For Everson, who reached the district final, what was happening on the third-place match was not to his liking. He lost 2-0 to Davenport Assumption’s Brendan Gould. Then he lost to Fletcher Green of Washington for true second.
“Brice showed he was right there with those kids,” Carstensen said. “I believe those kids will be on the podium. Another kid who would have been on the podium got left behind. Those 2-0 losses prove he’s right there with them. But he has things to do so he never not makes it to Des Moines again.”
Sorem won the third-place match by major decision but was pinned by Assumption’s Darien Collins for second place.
“Collins is good,” Carstensen said. “Sometimes it’s the draw. We had the bad luck of being in a tough district and because of that now there’s a watered-down state meet.”
Northeast’s Connor Soenksen won his third-place match by major decision but was pinned by Assumption’s Kyle Springer for second place.
CLASS 2A WEST LIBERTY DISTRICT
1. Davenport Assumption 182; 2. Mediapolis 153; 3. Central DeWitt 64; 4. Fairfield 49; 5. Washington 33; 6. West Liberty 29; 7. New London 19; 8. Camanche 18; (t)9. Columbus 9; (t)9. Northeast 9; 11. Maquoketa 0.
(top two advance to state)
Championship — Mason Buster (Med) dec. Darien Collins (DA) 4-2 (sudden victory); Third-place — Jeremy Sorem (Cam) m. dec. Josh Keller (Col), 16-7; True second — Collins (DA) pinned Sorem (Cam), 3:02.
Championship — Brendan Gould (DA) dec. Brice Everson (Cam), 2-0; Third-place — Fletcher Green (Wash) dec. Cody McNeil (Med), 7-4; True second — Green (Wash) dec. Everson (Cam), 2-0.
Championship — Elliot Henderson (WL) dec. Tristan Pohren (Wash), 4-2; Third-place — Jacob Fenske (DA) pinned Shea Swafford (Med), 5:30
Championship — Tony Devriese (DA) tech. fall Walker Wegener (CD), 15-0; Third-place — Luke Erickson (Med) pinned Jerek Brown (Wash), 5:25.
Championship — Cole Erickson (Med) dec. Kyle Springer (DA), 8-5; Third-place — Connor Soenksen (N) m. dec. Austin Edwards (Col), 8-0; True second — Springer (DA) pinned Soenksen (NE), 1:07.
Championship — Drew Foster (Med) dec. Eric Clarke (DA), 2-1; Third-place — Ammon Shaner (F) pinned Jacob Kloft (Maq), 1:28.
Championship — Drew Buster (Med) dec. Tionte Parks (DA), 6-5 (tiebreaker one); Third-place — Aaron Gevock (F) dec. Logan Mayberry (Maq), 10-3.
Championship — Nick Georgean (DA) tech. fall Greyson Doolittle (CD), 23-8; Third-place — Bradley Conley (Med) pinned Tanner Knupp (Wash), 0:59.
Championship — Blake Beckman (Med) dec. Danny Bush (DA), 2-0; Third-place — Austin Latcham (Wash) pinned Ty Thede (Maq), 3:45.
Championship — Adam Drain (Med) m. dec. Seth Davisson (F), 13-4; Third-place — Clint Harland (DA) dec. Drew Schroeder (CD), 4-2; True second — Davisson (F) dec. Harland (DA), 7-2.
Championship — Gabriel Rangel (DA) pinned Steven Holloway (Med), 5:49; Third-place — Chase Kraklio (CD) pinned Brett Scott (F), 1:40.
Championship — Jake Feldpausch (CD) pinned Mark Ramirez (Col), 4:59; Third-place — Ethan Timmerman (Med) dec. Zach Adrian (DA), 2-1; True second — Timmerman (Med) dec. Ramirez (Col), 8-2.
Championship — Jacob Mineart (F) dec. Cameron Donovan (CD), 11-4; Third-place — Kyle Davis (NL) m. dec. Dylan VanDusen (WL), 12-2.
Championship — Sean Easler (DA) pinned Juan Martinez (WL), 2:34; Third-place — Avery Jacobs (NL) pinned Ethan Lamm (Med), 1:21.