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State Wrestling Matches that Stick Out to Me From Every Year of the 2010’s


Tyler Shulista on mat, Sawyer Farris standing.


1A: Jordan Bremer (Woodbury Central) vs. Brance Simms (Twin River Valley), Sawyer Farris (New London) vs. Tyler Shulista(Alburnett)… Simms and Bremer had a few hard core battles, didn’t they? And the Farris-Shulista match was the one match that prevented Shulista from being a 4 timer… I think that’s the only match he lost to Farris in HS.

2A: Brandon Sorensen (DT) vs. Logen Thomsen (Union), Tanner Hiatt vs. Seth Noble 2, Jake Marlin (Creston) vs. Tanner Schmidt (New Hampton), Mikey England vs. Tanner Weatherman, Stewart Holloway (WBND) vs. Trevor Voelker (DCG)… The wrestling world basically had confirmation at this point with Sorensen…that the kid was a generational type talent. And Logen Thomsen is a great wrestler as well. Hiatt and Noble met in the semis that year and Noble fought from a 4-1 early deficit to win the match… Hiatt beat Noble in the finals the year before…came to the last few seconds. Marlin was a Freshman and had Schmidt in the semis who had won a state title a couple years before.  It was the highest scoring OT match I’ve ever seen with Marlin winning.

3A: Michael Kelly Cf vs. Joe TrizzinoDidn’t this match last 30 minutes? Injury or something. Nick Moore had a torn ACL and won his 4th…incredible.


Cory Clark vs. Eric Devos


1A: Drew Proctor (Tipton) vs. Logan Mulnix (North Linn)

2A: Brody Grothus vs. Tanner Hiatt (Ballard)... I hate to list another Hiatt loss, but man that match was insane. Grothus went on the carve a soft spot in many Hawkeyes fans hearts. It’s hard to believe that someone as good as Hiatt only won 1 state title.

3A: Cory Clark vs. Eric Devos in the semis.  This was not only the best match of the tourney, it’s possibly one of the best I’ve ever seen.


Brandon Sorensen



1A: Blake Marolf (EBF) vs. Kyler Kyner (Ogden). To start, RIP, Kyler Kiner…great kid, great wrestler. This match happened in front of me. It was intense.

2A: Leighton Gaul (New Hampton) vs. Max Thomsen (Union), Dylan Peters (Denver-Trip) vs. Sawyer Farris (New London), Brandon Sorensen (Denver-Trip) vs. Topher Carton (Assumption), Colton McCrystal (SBL) vs. Kyle Springer (Assumption)… *I’ve been a message board guy for years and I don’t think I ever had so many people hate me over one simple stance on a debate: “I thought Farris could give Peters a good match.” Didn’t say he would win. Didn’t talk any smack about Peters. I liked Peters. How can you not? I just simply thought and maintained my position all year that Farris would not roll over for Peters like people were predicting. I’ve known Farris forever, he is a warrior.  You would have thought that I insulted Peters’s mom or something with the hate replies and pm’s I received over that simple stance.  AND THEN THEY WENT AND HAD AN EPICALLY GOOD MATCH!!! OT!  People were even madder at me aftewards and I don’t know why, I didn’t rub it in or anything. *It’s crazy that both Sorensen and Carton put their quest for 4 on the line like they did, granted Carton had 2 in Illinois (not that that means anything…Illinois HS wrestling is freaking tough).  Much respect for them. 

3A: Laux-Stroker, Meeks-Ryan, Zeb Wahle- Justin Koethe * To this day it’s like I have to remind myself that Koethe never won state. A slam as a Soph, a slam as a Junior and lost to a very good Zeb Wahle in the finals as a Senior.  Crazy.


Drain vs. Wilcke


1A: Carter Happel vs. Brady Ruden...pretty sure Carter avenged one of his only HS losses in this one as a Freshman.  

2A: Cole Erickson (Mepo) -Andres Gonzalez (Clear Lake), Steven Holloway (WBND) vs. Chase Shedenhelm (DT), Adam Drain (Mepo) vs. Cash Wilcke (BC-IG)

3A: Matt Seabold vs. Cole Kreiter (North Scott), Marcus Harrington vs. Adam Waither WSRSeabold was on fire that year and avenged his only loss in the semis…and did so injured. I remember how happy Coach Wheelan was when Harrington won more than the match itself.  

The Portillo twins.


1A: Justin Portillo vs. Drew West, Josh Portillo vs. Bryce West, Happel vs. Washburn, Dylan Windfield vs. Dale Hileman. The Portillo-West rivalry was quite the debate that year. It had all the ingredients for some good cyber-warfare… they were all 4 elite, they were both sets of twins, they were wrestling each other and the Portillos were new to the state.  I’ve told the Portillo twins this, but I was firmly entrenched in the West camp in those days…they were SEI boys who we knew for a decade. I cheered real hard when Drew beat Justin. I was upset when Josh beat Bryce in the finals.  Fast forward 6 years and there literally isn’t anyone in the wrestling world that I respect more than the Portillo twins.  I wish I would have stayed neutral there.  Those guys are brilliant wrestlers and highly intelligent/creative. I am glad we got to watch them do their things in Iowa. Happel vs. Washburn was a rivalry that spanned at least a decade… those two always had a rivalry…and then to put fuel on the fire, they were both on a quest for 4 titles and Happel won…Washburn got injured and then was, well…in a controversial finals match the following year. 

2A: Isley vs. Holloway, Leisure vs. Fenske, Rathbun vs. Woods, Foster vs. Holschlag, Birt vs. Cleveland, Johnston vs. Bush.  All good matches.

3A: Brenden Baker vs. Triston Lara, Jake Schwarm vs. Henry Pohlmeyer * I remember Baker vs. T. Lara so well because they talked so much smack to each other…I think they met twice. It was fun…Lara, Baker, Jack Wagner and Nate Lendt were the ingredients you needed for a good wrestling fight.  


Blockhus vs. Sieperda.


1A: Justin Portillo (CGD) over Brock Henderson (NLINN), Thomsen (Underwood) vs. D. West (Highland),Haberman (CGD) vs. Washburn, Trey Brisker (Wilton) vs. Jeren Glosser (EBF). Alex Thomsen vs. Drew West was widely discussed all season and they met in the quarters and the match did not disappoint.  Another wide debate that season…who would win between returning champs, Carter Happel and Jeren Glosser?  Well, it didn’t happen, because Freshman, Trey Brisker upset Glosser in the semis. Portillo is the only guy to beat Henderson before the finals.  Didn’t he make it 3 times? Portillo twins…couple of the best!

2A: Brennan Swafford vs. Brock Rathbun, Blockhus vs. Sieperda, Keller vs. Fye, Birt vs. Phaly, Holschlag vs. Doebel. I ended up mentioning my brothers a total of 3 times in these.  I don’t know if their matches I refer to stick out to others, but I know the crowd was into it.  My dad freaked out on me a week ago because someone told him that I created this site to bring attention to my brothers. Not true. But I won’t shy away from talking about them. They mean the world to me. And I try to be fair…the 3 matches I refer to, they lost all 3. Brennan vs. Rathbun was crazy. The loudest I’ve ever heard the place…honestly. It was like sirens were going off the entire 2nd period.  Rathbun, a Junior and returning champ, teched or pinned everyone he wrestled except Keaton Geerts that year and he beat him 11-1.  Brennan was a Freshman who was just starting to kind of grow. He was having a good year as well. They met in the semis. Rathbun and Brennan went into the 2nd period with Rathbun up 2-0 and he chose on his feet…Brennan hit a slide-by to a carry to a headlock and almost pinned Rathbun. And he almost put him on his back at the end of the period. Went into the 3rd up 7-4 and got put to his back and pinned with 8 seconds left.  Blockhus vs. Sieperda was a turning point for me in terms of how I saw this class.  Sieperda was always heavier than Blockhus and I thought he would be the most successful kid in the class… Blockhus made a statement when he beat him so handily.  I was a skeptic on Blockhus until that point…he changed my mind.

3A: Skylar DeJong (Osky) vs. Nathan Feldman (Dub Hemp), Gannon Gremmel (DH)  vs. Ethan Anderson (SEP), Josh Wenger (CRP) vs. Dan Kelly (CF), Bryce Steiert (WSR) vs. Dayton Racer (Bett). Why was it such a huge surprise to people that Steiert won this one? In hindsight, it probably makes sense to most people that it unraveled the way it did, but at the time, Racer was expected to win. What a match that was.  And everyone has their opinion of Dayton Racer.  Here is mine…and it is similar to my thoughts on Andrew Long.  Ok, the kid has made some mistakes, some repetitively and the learning curve seems steep for some of these mistakes, but he is a person and probably needs someone to reach out more than anything opposed to the general razzing he normally receives.  This guy has always been nice to my entire family.  With the mistakes he has made that have been publicized by various outlets, I have mostly worried about him in terms of whether he is ok or not.  I like redemption stories and I am rooting for both him and Long. Lord knows I was probably the wildest guy on the Loras campus when I was their age….no joke. Rooting for Racer. 


Leisure vs. Thompson


1A: Sam Loyd (NL) vs. Gable Fox (DB), Trent Johnson vs. Carter  Happel, Bryce West vs. Brady Kyner… Loyd and Fox are a couple of my personal faves.  And they met in the semis that year as Sophomores and Loyd pulled off a huge upset… a cradle involved, I believe. 

2A: Shea Swafford (Mepo) vs. Brice Everson, Ryan Leisure vs. Wyatt Thompson (Creston), Randone vs. Reeves/Faught, Josh Portillo vs. Michael Blockhus, Joe Kelly (WL) vs. Blake Lawless, Bryce Leshen (Albia) vs. Mason Buster (Mepo), Steve Holloway (Mepo) vs. Izaak Shedenhelm (Denver-Trip). *To this day it surprises me that Thompson gave Leisure the match he did. I followed that bracket closely all year…my brother was in it.  I didn’t think Thompson would make it past the first minute with Leisure… but he did… in fact, he made it past regulation with him.  They went into OT and it was almost like a cruel joke for Thompson…takes Leisure into OT and the match ends when Leisure spladles him right in front of the camera and the video more or less was seen by everyone.  The expression on Thompson’s face when it happened…Obviously he was upset that he lost, but I always wondered if he was also feeling embarrassed because he knew how it looked.  He had a great season.  Joe Kelly vs. Lawless was action packed.  

3A: Wriedt vs. Anderson: Remember when Wyatt Wriedt won over all of our hearts when he slayed the (friendly) Ethan Anderson dragon?  


Lombardi vs. Wriedt


1A: John Henrich(AW) vs. Jacob Krakow (IVM), Jarel Arbegast (West Fork) vs. Tanner Sloan (Alburnett)…*Henrich’s Iowa debut was impressive, for he looked like a freight train the entire tourney. Got a nice “Paul Bradley-esque” cut on his head in the finals. That was a close one.  For those who followed this age group since they were kids, most will know that Jarel Arbegast used to be considered…maybe the best pound for pound guy in the entire 2017 class.  Then he kind of plateaued a bit, but was always very good. Young for his grade, too.  I bet it felt good for him to win that semis match vs. Sloan. Put him on his back with something. 

2A: Aden Reeves (Albia) vs. Drake Doolittle (WC), Brayden Curry (SBL) vs. Matt Robertson (Assumption), Blockhus vs. D. West.  * Say what you want about Assumption, but they’ve always done so many things right. Ever noticed that when they have a transfer that people get pissed about that the kid who transferred always steps it up a level? Yeah, that happened with Robertson.  Holy cow, went from above average to GREAT by beating Brayden Curry.  

3A: Nelson Brands (ICW) vs. Austin Yant (WSR), Wyatt Wriedt (NS) vs. Rocky Lombardi (Valley) *Hey remember when Wriedt solidified his permanent status as the ultimate villain in the hearts of wrestling fans across the state?


Henrich vs. Swafford


1A: Brennan Swafford vs. John Henrich… A lot of people missed this one because Nelson Brands was wrestling at the same time and the fans loved to watch him for several reasons, but this ended up being an insane title match. 4 lead changes. A lot of action. Henrich gave up something’s like 15 points total in Iowa HS career…in 3 years, 15 points… 7 of them were in this match. Fox vs. Roth, I thought both these guys wrestled phenomenal and put on a show for everyone in the finals. Sloan vs. Hunter DeJong: This one was hyped up coming in due to DeJong’s amazing offseason feats. Sloan displayed why he may be the best recruit in the entire class.

2A: Luke Hageman vs. Wes Cummings: It’s crazy to think that Hageman only qualified once. He was always one of the better guys in the grade. First round at state, he won a barn burner vs. Wes Cummings that came down to the wire. Ruffridge vs. Faught: Ruffridge made a believer out of me that weekend.Bartow vs. Roland

3A: Steffensmeier vs. Stotts/Lara, Stotts vs. Runyon, Lara vs. Runyon, Oldham vs. Rathjen 1, Schriever vs. Ayala, Mulder vs. Brands, Shapiro vs. Sherry. * I still have a difficult time believing that Sherry didn’t ever win state.  Steffensmeier put together a nice tourney…the top 4 hammers in that bracket were so different: Steffensmeier (legs and good position), Lara (wide open, brawls, strong as hell), Runyon (great mat sense, great cradle), Stotts (has a dangerous overhook throw, but sometimes kind of tries to keep things close with good competition). Schriever vs. Ayala is crazy because those two may ultimately be considered a couple of the best two wrestlers to ever go through the state when they are finished.  Brands vs. Mulder was like an MMA match.  Those guys hate each other. Almost fought at end.


Liddle vs. Vis


1A: Thomas Even (DB) vs. Gabe Pauley (Avoca), Riley Wright (Denver) vs. Nick Hamilton, Mason Dye (Sigourney) vs. Beau Klingensmith (Wood Cent)… I seem to be the only person who noticed, but WOW that Dye vs. Klingensmith match was crazy.  Tons of scoring, both guys going to their backs.  

2A: Paul Ryan (MV) vs. Sage Walker (EBF), Kyler Rieck (SLP) vs. Easton Graff, Hayden Taylor (Solon) vs. Andrew Flora (Adel), Blaine Frazier vs. Carter Fousek, Trenary vs. everyone. *Paul Ryan’s father put it best…”he looked like a dolphin jumping when he celebrated.” It was so cool. The kid got some air time…very athletic. An all-state football player.  He did a great job. Kyler Rieck seemed to be in the zone during and after the semis… it was like a weight was lifted when he beat Graff in the semis because I think he lost to him in the season.  Trenary is fun. So good. Has a Freshman ever teched out the returning champ at state? Before Taylor that is? That sure was an eye-opener.  

3A: Trever Anderson (Ankeny) vs. Aiden Riggins (WSR), Austin Kegley (CRP) vs. Bailey Roybal (WSR), Carson Taylor (FD) vs. Hunter Garvin (ICW), Griffin Liddle (Bett) vs. Josh Vis (CRK), Liddle vs.  Andrew Snyder, Jacob Herrmann (WSR) vs. Cade Devos (SEP), Brock Espalin (DME) vs. Joe Pins-Hemp (I’ll never forget Haas yelling in Pins’s ear right when they left the mat, “you wrestled like an unbeatable state champ for all but 5 seconds there! Let’s not give another 5!” Rathjen vs. Oldham part 5 or 6. Just think…Griffin Liddle was just a Sophomore last year.  He is Gremmel-good. Maybe better. And Vis has another year as well.  

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