A state tournament full of promise and enthusiasm on the opening day ended in disappointment Friday for Central DeWitt.
All three Sabers were eliminated in the consolation second round, where a winner is guaranteed a top-eight finish and a place on the awards stand during tonight's championships.
The disappointment wasn't because of the way the Sabers wrestled. Rather, it came from the way their matches turned out.
"It was a tough day, but the kids fought and did all they could to win their matches," Sabers coach Ed Vance said.
The most difficult loss to accept was the one with the widest margin: sophomore Walker Wegener's loss at 126 pounds.
While the final score, 15-8, was lopsided, and Spencer's John Christopherson, the No. 2-ranked wrestler in Class 2A who had lost to top-rated Max Thomsen earlier in the afternoon, dominated much of the match, Wegener just as easily could have been the one advancing.
Trailing 8-2 early in the second period, Wegener reversed Christopherson to his back and appeared seconds away from getting the pin. But, the referee stopped the match when Christopherson cried out in pain with 1 minute, 27 seconds left in the second period. Walker was awarded the three-point near fall, plus a point for having the match stopped in pinning criteria.
While the points narrowed the score to 8-6, there was no way for Wegener (23-9) to get the momentum back, and since the restart doesn't come with the injured wrestler back on his back, the opportunity for the fall was gone.
"In that situation, our kids have the character not to do that," Vance said. "It's tough swallow. We just have to move on."
Greyson Doolittle also fought back from an 8-2 deficit in his consolation second-round match against Hans Holkesvik of Decorah at 152 pounds. Doolittle got a takedown and two-point near fall to cut the gap to 8-6 but got no closer and lost 11-8.
"It's disappointing to know that Greyson Doolittle, who has worked hard and had a couple of close matches, won't place," Vance said. "I'm 100 percent absolutely proud of him."
Earlier, Doolittle, who ended his senior season with a 28-11 record, lost 9-4 to Jackson VanKirk of Perry in the quarterfinals. VanKirk broke a 4-4 tie on a reversal with 36 seconds remaining, then earned a three-point near fall as time expired.
The Sabers' other quarterfinalist, junior Jake Feldpausch, also lost twice at 195 pounds to finish the season at 33-11. He lost 12-2 in the quarterfinals to Luke Johnson of Charles City, then lost 3-0 to Humboldt's Reed Dreyer in the consolation second round. Dreyer scored the first point on a third-period escape, then sealed the victory with a takedown with 18 seconds left.
"I give him all the credit," Vance said of Feldpausch. "He wrestled the No. 3 kid (Johnson) and the No. 2 kid (Dreyer). He gave it his all."