I started doing these and got to 132 and it hit me…I can’t watch any wrestling if I am spending the entire time typing away on a laptop. I am going to kick back and enjoy the wrestling, but will try to provide as much as this stuff as I can, when I can.
- No real surprises here, but it did set up some can’t miss quarterfinal match-ups.
- First time I have gotten to watch Freshman, Owen Helgeson from Johnston wrestle and holy cow does he ever remind me of his Helgeson cousins/uncles from Lake Mills. He hit a whip-over to pin Niyo Gady in the 2nd period. It looked just like the one that Brad Helgeson used to have in his arsenal. Very cool. His celebration was great…did a subtle little point to the corner/crowd. Haha, I love it. A lot of attention has been placed on the top 3 ranked guys in this bracket, Ryder Block (W-SR), Nathaniel Jesuroga (SE Polk) and Brandon O’Brien (Linn-Mar) and for great reason, they are great, but it would be unwise to sleep on Helgeson here. I believe he only has one loss on the season and definitely looks like the real deal to me.
- It seems like Brandon O’Brien (Linn-Mar) and Grant O’Dell (IC West) always O’wrestle each other. I believe this will be the 2nd time they wrestle each other in the quarters at state. O’Dell won that one. O’Brien won when they met up earlier this year. Will be a good one to watch.
- One stat that will likely never be available is “who won the first match at state” for every year. I doubt anyone has ever really been dorky enough to even think about it. Well, for what it’s worth, I think Dustin Bohren (Bettendorf) was the first to get a win at the Well this year…
- Jacob Fistler from Dallas Center Grimes is TOUGH. Scored a takedown, hit a Churella tilt, hit a chicken wing tilt and finished off with a chickenwing to a half combo. It was tight. Good work by him. DCG seems to place an emphasis on the armbar series and I love it. Zane Mulder was one of the best armbar guys in the entire 2018 Senior class.
- Ryder Block…Nathaniel Jesuroga…both solid. I didn’t see their match yesterday at the state duals, but heard about it. Block won a close one.
- Castarphen from Dowling has been a wiley competitor all year. Good first round by him as well.
- Blaine Frazier from Notre Dame looks great. He has waltzed through his season since the first week of the year. He lost a tight match with Trever Anderson from Ankeny first weekend of the season and has just steamrolled ever since. I don’t really like publicly making predictions and what-not…always gets a side or two heated up, but I predict Frazier to… Well, let’s just say that I don’t think anyone in the entire state, class for class, pound for pound is wrestling better than Blaine Frazier right now. This bracket will be interesting.
- Frazier will wrestle Lane Cowell (Fort Dodge) next round. Cowell looked tactical and solid against Rheiner Stahlbaum (Johnston). The first thing I saw when I entered the building for my first ever experience at the CIML last year was Stahlbaum pinning Cowell and the crowd going crazy and it was funny that that moment came back to me the second that I saw that these two were wrestling first round. Cowell looks great!
- Returning runner-up, Jace Rhodes from Mason City also looks tough.
- It was cool to see Aime Mukiza from DM North-Hoover win his first match at state in his 3rd try.
- Indianola has had a few guys who were great wrestlers last year, but all mutually stepped it up a level that they weren’t at from last year to this year. Ryder Downey is one of these guys. This program has some nice momentum going. 3 of his 4 losses are to returning champ, Trever Anderson from Ankeny in close matches.
- Bailey Roybal (Waverly-Shell Rock) and Ethan Wood-Finley (IC High) both recorded pins in the first period and will meet in the quarterfinals. Someone clarify this if possible… but wasn’t Roybal’s first ever HS match in Iowa against EWF 2 years ago? EWF won a couple matches against Roybal that year, but 2020 Roybal is a different wrestler than 2018 Roybal and the same can be said for EWF. Since their 2018 meetings, EWF has reeled in 2 state medals, Roybal brought 1 in last year. This should be good.
- Drake Ayala (Fort Dodge) is still Drake Ayala. He will go down as one of Iowa’s best ever HS wrestlers.
- I watched pretty much all of Adler Kramer (Dubuque Hempstead) vs. Cooper Belt (Indianola). Very nice, systematic win for Kramer.
- I knew it was a matter of time before Kaden Karns (Waterloo West, JR) had the season that he has had so far this year. Pinned his guy with a 3/4 Nelson-stack type of deal.
- Austin Kegley (CR Prairie) has a stat line in which if he were a boxer, he’d be one of these guys who was something like 40-2 with 39 knockouts.
- Cullan Schriever (Mason City), like Ayala, will eventually go down as one of the best technical wrestlers to ever go through the state of Iowa. In the first round, he looked explosive on his feet and diverse as hell on top with his tilts/armbars.
- Norwalk is another team that keeps on making nice, consistent strides. Grant Harbour is a perfect example of that. He had a little scramble where Reese Hayden (IC High) got in deep on his legs, but he settled down quick, got the takedown and eventually recorded the fall. Looks good.
- Bryce Parke (Linn-Mar) has only one loss on the year. That was a close loss to returning state champ, Carson Taylor (Fort Dodge). That was the first tournament of the season. Since then he has pinned, majored or tech falled everyone he’s wrestled. If wrestling fans and college coaches’ eyes aren’t avidly focused on this kid right now, they should be.
- Aiden Evans (Bettendorf) IS wrestling and he looked good from what I saw. He won 10-1.
- Last year, Thomas Edwards (Johnston) beat 2 of the 3 state champions at his weight and ended up placing 5th. He has shown his ceiling, repetitively. And if he is healthy, there’s really no limit on his ceiling.
- Carson Taylor (Fort Dodge) looks great and wrestles tough at the Well.
- Duncan Delzell (Burlington) put together a nice win first round. He is a 4 time state qualifier and has yet to place yet, but looks on pace to do so this year.
- Aiden Riggins (W-SR) looks like a different kid this year, but the same wrestler if that makes any sense. He has about doubled in size since last year. And by saying he is the same wrestler I mean, he’s made the same strides the rest of the W-SR guys always do, but just meant that he still looks great on the mat.
- Kael Scranton (Clear Creek Amana) vs. Brock Espalin (DM East) was actually a 1 point match until the 3rd period when Espalin his Scranton with a cradle from their feet to record 6-1 victory
- Brooks Cowell (Fort Dodge) with an impressive first round pin over returning placer, Carson Murray (Dowling).
- I’m guessing this bracket was just a nightmare to seed. Brock Espalin placed 5th, 6th and 3rd at state and this year, his Senior season…he is seeded 4th coming in. How is that possible? Well, he lost a close one to Joel Jesuroga (SE Polk) and Jesuroga had losses on the year to Riggins and Hunter Garvin (IC West). So the seedings ended up like this: 1.) Riggins, 2.) Garvin, 3.) Jesuroga, 4.) Espalin. That’s just crazy. tl;dr : Watch this weight.
- Keaton Moret (Norwalk) had a huge win over Nick Walters (SC North). This was one of the most anticipated matches of the first round. Both have placed at state. Moret 4th, Walters 8th. I want to say Walters defeated Moret when they met up previously. They were tied 6-6 when Moret hit what appeared to be some sort of carry and put Walters to his back and pinned him.