Wrestling: The Champs are Here
By Brandon Hurley
A year’s worth of adversity reached an intoxicating crescendo last weekend.
A spectacular six were a leading force in Greene County’s season-defining victory Feb. 6, as the Rams secured a convincing sectional title in Granger. The local high school squad rode the triumph of six individual titles and a pair of runner-up finishes to a staggering 220 team points, a fitting culmination of grit and determination. The Rams battled through a season of relative uncertainty, a delayed start and a handful of postponements en route to a feeling of pure ecstasy, out-lasting second-place Woodward-Granger by nearly 40 points.
The Class 2A, Sectional 2 title tasted like sweet redemption, Greene County head coach Zach Beekman said. The Rams came out with a fire he hadn’t seen up to that point.
“We have missed out on a lot of opportunities this year and we never really saw what the team was truly capable of,” Beekman said. “Our sectional performance wasn’t perfect, but it was some of the best wrestling we have seen from this team all season.”
Tournament host Woodward-Granger scored 182 points to finish runner-up, out-pacing ADM, who finished third with 177.5 points. Gilbert was just a hair behind the Tigers in fourth with 170 points while Van Meter-Earlham rounded out a highly-competitive top five with 163 points.
The decisive team title qualified the Rams for the regional dual tournament Tuesday night, proof the climb is usually a steady one, often marked by various obstacles and setbacks, though several improvements and triumphs also strengthened the build.
The sectional title was a chance for the Rams to truly showcase how far they’ve come in recent years. From a young, promising program to a unit intertwined with talented veterans. The dedication paid off. It wasn’t merely the Ram veterans who paved the way, either, a stable of youngsters also helped secure the title, led by individual championships from top-ranked McKinley Robbins (sophomore) as well as freshman Gavin Scheuermann (145 pounds) in addition to silver medals from sophomores John Sprague (126 pounds) and Noble Hoyt (170 pounds). The ramifications of a sectional team championship is quite the resounding statement for a Greene County wrestling squad on the rise.
“I hope if there is a student-athlete questioning whether or not to go out for wrestling, they can look at the growing success of the program and decide to commit themselves to our process,” Beekman said. “Wrestling is a lot of hard work, but when you see the results of the work put in it makes the pain, suffering, sacrifice, and discipline worth it.”
Undefeated McKinley Robbins (27-0) kept his perfect season intact thanks to a pair of victories in the 120 pound bracket, narrowly defeating eighth-ranked Cole Nelson in the title match by a 4-3 victory. Senior Brady Stauffer (25-4) followed that with a sectional championship at 138 pounds, using a pair of victories, highlighted by a first period pin of ADM’s Kadin O’Connor in the title bout. Scheuermann tasted immediate success in his first sectional tournament, securing a pin and a 5-0 shutout of Van Meter-Earlham’s Jackson Boese to secure the Rams’ third title of the day. Greene County was far from done as junior Nate Black (26-4) solidified his solid winter with a championship thanks to a trio of victories, punctuated by a 9-4 triumph over Gilbert’s Kruz Pierce in the championship. Broc Hamann pulled off a relative surprise in the 220 pound bracket, winning the sectional title thanks to a pair of pins, including a takedown just 64 seconds into the championship match against Gilbert’s Nic Romero.
Senior Sawyer Schiltz put a satisfying cap on the dominant team showing with his second straight top tier sectional finish, securing his first-ever postseason title at 285 pounds. Schiltz backed up last year’s runner-up placement with with a pin in the semifinals before capturing the championship with a 6-3 victory over Woodward-Granger’s Alex Evans.
John Sprague (126 pounds) fell a hair short of a title but managed to secure runner-up honors and a spot in Saturday’s district tournament thanks to a pin of VM-E’s Mason Drake in the semifinals despite his 16-4 loss to Gilbert’s Cael Ihle (30-2) in the championship match. Hoyt also secured a date in the district tournament with a silver medal at 170 pounds. The sophomore secured a semifinal pin of ADM’s Nathan Tapken but was then defeated by an 18-2 tech fall in the championship match against Woodward-Granger’s Jon Mckeever.
The Rams were also anchored by a third-place finish from 2020 state qualifier Brenner Gallagher (113 pounds) in addition to a bronze medal from freshman Michael Rumley at 195 pounds, both of whom secured victories in their respective third place matches. Greene County received a fourth place finish from fellow freshman Jackson Turner at 132 pounds. Isaac Louk finished fifth at 152 pounds in his only two varsity matches of the year, earning a first period pin of Perry’s Anthony Tiaceca in the fifth place match.
All eight of Greene County’s top two place-winners, including the pair of silver medalists, advance to the Feb. 13 district tournament in Adel. The top two athletes in each bracket then qualify for the 2021 state tournament, which is set for Feb. 18-20 in Des Moines.
DUALING FOR GLORY
The Rams dominant sectional victory earned a place at regional dual tournament Feb. 9 in Winterset, one of 24 teams in Class 2A to qualify. The Rams were paired up against 11th-ranked Clarion-Goldfield-Dows. Though the Rams put up a valiant effort, they lost by a score of 51-30 in the semifinals. C-G-D was thusly upset in a narrow regional championship by Winterset, with the Huskies prevailing, 37-36. Winterset was one of eight teams to advance to the Feb. 17 dual state tournament in Des Moines, joining West Delaware, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, Osage, Independence, Cresco, Creston and Davenport Assumption.
Brenner Gallagher (113 pounds), McKinley Robbins (120 pounds), John Sprague (126 pounds), Nate Black (160 pounds) and Sawyer Schiltz (285 pounds) each secured pins in the loss. Brady Stauffer was defeated by a 18-5 major decision by fifth-ranked Reed Abbas in the 138 pound match while sixth-ranked Remington Hanson pinned Gavin Scheuermann in the first period of their 145 pound tilt. C-G-D secured five pin falls as well as a tech fall and a major decision in addition to a pair of forfeits.