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Spartan Grapplers Take State

Spartans earn 1st title
Solon’s Bryce West holds up three fingers for each of his titles after defeating Blake Steege of Denver-Tripoli in the 120-pound Class 2A championship match Feb. 18 in Wells Fargo Arena. West earned a 15-5 major decision over Steege. (photos by Shianne Fisher)

DES MOINES–They did it as a team.
That’s how Solon head coach Blake Williams explained the Spartans’ first-ever state championship title, which the boys brought home Sunday from the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) 2017 State Individual Wrestling Tournament in Des Moines after narrowly beating No. 1-ranked New Hampton, 96.5 to 96.
“Everybody was so proud of each other because it did take a total team effort,” he said. “Even though in this tournament only eight wrestlers wrestled, it’s still a reflection of our entire program and team. We needed every single point from those eight. Even though not all of them placed, every one of them scored team points. It was truly a team effort, which is what we’ve been stressing all year.”
Five Spartans medaled, but all eight qualifiers propelled the team to the closest state finish (not including ties) since Dallas Center-Grimes beat North Tama 61-60.5 for 1A glory in 1984.
The victory was especially welcome after the Spartans lost, 45-23, to New Hampton in the state dual meet Wednesday, Feb. 15.
“Winning the state dual was definitely a goal of theirs from the start of the season,” said Williams. “Even though being second in the state was a huge accomplishment for duals, there was still a bit of an empty feeling.”
Although 120-pound Drew West started the 2A championship dual off right with a first-period pin over Nolan Usher, the Chickasaws started picking off the Spartans one-by-one last Wednesday evening, Feb. 15, at Wells Fargo Arena, amassing five win-by-falls, three major decisions and one minor decision to Solon’s two minor decisions and three pins.
“We regrouped in the hotel that night and said we still have a chance to do something pretty special,” said Williams. “And it was definitely not easy. It came down to the last match.”
For the average fan, the scoring may not have been so black and white, but for the Spartans and their families, Saturday night’s 160-pound 2A championship match between New Hampton’s Ryan Gorman and Julien Broderson of Assumption was a nail-biter.
“It was hard for me to watch that match, not having any control over it,” Williams admitted.
Up until then, the Spartans had accrued their 96.5 points– 51 of which came from the West boys alone– and New Hampton was sitting pretty at 96 points despite qualifying two fewer wrestlers. Solon needed Gorman to lose his match, and unfortunately for the sophomore Chickasaw, Broderson delivered a 4-2 decision, securing the Spartans’ spot as victors.
“Once we all met up afterward, it was just pure excitement and joy,” Williams shared. “A lot of celebration going on. A lot of emotion going through the coaches and wrestlers, with the realization that we actually did it.”
With nearly every other Spartan team having had basked in championship glory over the years, it was time for the Solon wrestling squad to bring home a first-place trophy.
And their time came Sunday when the state tournament motorcade was led into town by a Solon fire truck and through an arch of water before ending at the high school– a tradition of sorts for the district.
Williams said it felt great to make history for the school.
“I’m so proud of our team and our kids, and just the whole wrestling community,” he added. “It’s pretty special to get that first state championship for Solon. The kids really worked hard not only this week but throughout the whole season.”
History was also made for Bryce West (120), who not only clinched his third individual state title– his first two were 1A titles when he wrestled for Highland– but also his 210th win, tying Union’s four-time state champion Max Thomsen in all-time victories. With his final win over Denver-Tripoli’s Blake Steege (a crushing 15-5 major decision), Bryce became Iowa’s 84th three-time state champion, moments after Brody Teske (120) of 3A Fort Dodge became the state’s 83rd.
He celebrated quietly, holding up three fingers in each hand as the ref raised his arm, before embracing Williams and assistant coach T.J. Bevans.
Solon’s four other medalists included seniors Ben Carr (138 pounds), who placed third with a second-period pin over No. 3-ranked Tanner Abbas of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, and Trevor Nelson (160), who made it to the fifth-place match only to be pinned by Prairie City-Monroe’s No. 5 ranked Lucas Roland.
While his brother celebrated another first-place title, Drew West settled for his second consecutive silver after losing to New Hampton’s Michael Millage, 3-2, in the 126-pound 2A championship match.
“I felt really bad for Drew. He’s worked so hard and set his goals so high,” said Williams. “Being part of a state championship team really eased his pain a little bit. I know it was tough on him early on, but I couldn’t be more proud of him as well as Trevor and all those seniors that capped off their careers.”
Junior Tyler Linderbaum (285) placed fifth, wrestling an impressive six matches for Solon and battling through the consolation bracket after a first-round, 7-2 loss to Sioux Center’s Elijah Van’t Hof. Having recovered from a consolation semifinal pin by Spencer Trenary of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, Linderbaum bounced back and held off Fairfield’s Brendon Lunsford to a 1-0 decision in the fifth-place match.
“I could go through each boy and pick out a specific match or specific time in the tournament where what they did was unbelievable,” said Williams. “Anything from Graeson Dall (152) winning his first match, on a broken leg still, and getting a pin, to Ben Carr getting a big fall, because those pin points add up.”
And add up they did for Solon, whose 10 win-by-falls tied 3A teams City High and Southeast Polk for the most pins. Valued at two points per fall, those 10 pins accounted for 20 of Solon’s final 96.5 points, while the extra half-point was thanks to a round-one, 23-6 tech fall by Carr over East Marshall/GMG’s Dawson Riemenschneider.
“Even guys like Zach Wegmann got a big pin,” Williams added. “And (Mike) Hoyle got a major decision. Drew had three pins leading up to the finals. Like I said, each boy really did his part in the final success leading up to the state championship.”
Looking toward the next season, Williams expressed his dismay over losing so many talented seniors.
“We are losing a lot of seniors, but this is sure going to build the excitement for Solon wrestling,” he added. “It shows a lot of our younger wrestlers what it takes to be at that level. I’m excited about the future.”

2017 IHSAA State Championships
2A Team Scores
1. Solon 96.5
2. New Hampton 96
3. Assumption 83
4. Creston/O-M 79.5
5. West Liberty 66.5
6. Ballard 66
7. Denver-Tripoli 53
8. Atlantic-CAM 52
9. Osage 50
10. Clear Lake 46

Results for Solon
120: Bryce West (54-1) placed 1st and scored 27.00 team points
Champ. Round 1 - Bryce West (Solon) 54-1 won by fall over Jack West (Winterset) 27-11 (Fall 1:53)
Quarterfinal - Bryce West (Solon) 54-1 won by fall over Philip Ihde (Decorah) 24-4 (Fall 5:54)
Semifinal - Bryce West (Solon) 54-1 won by decision over Zachary Thompson (Perry) 52-6 (Dec 8-3)
1st Place Match - Bryce West (Solon) 54-1 won by major decision over Blake Steege (Denver-Tripoli) 27-3 (MD 15-5)

126: Drew West (54-2) placed 2nd and scored 24.00 team points
Champ. Round 1 - Drew West (Solon) 54-2 won by fall over Lucas Carter (Harlan) 23-18 (Fall 0:21)
Quarterfinal - Drew West (Solon) 54-2 won by fall over Brady Fritz (South Tama County) 45-7 (Fall 5:46)
Semifinal - Drew West (Solon) 54-2 won by fall over Riley Wright (Denver-Tripoli) 49-5 (Fall 4:00)
1st Place Match - Michael Millage (New Hampton) 24-1 won by decision over Drew West (Solon) 54-2 (Dec 3-2)

138: Ben Carr (42-9) placed 3rd and scored 17.50 team points
Champ. Round 1 - Ben Carr (Solon) 42-9 won by tech fall over Dawson Riemenschneider (East Marshall/GMG) 28-23 (TF-1.5 6:00 (23-6))
Quarterfinal - Ben Carr (Solon) 42-9 won by decision over Austin Rozeboom (Rock Valley (Boyden-Hull/RV)) 36-3 (Dec 11-7)
Semifinal - Keaton Geerts (New Hampton) 57-1 won by fall over Ben Carr (Solon) 42-9 (Fall 3:15)
Cons. Semi - Ben Carr (Solon) 42-9 won by decision over Nate Thoms (Camanche) 44-6 (Dec 5-2)
3rd Place Match - Ben Carr (Solon) 42-9 won by fall over Tanner Abbas (Clarion-Goldfield-Dows) 43-6 (Fall 2:25)

152: Graeson Dall (36-7) place is unknown and scored 4.00 team points
Champ. Round 1 - Graeson Dall (Solon) 36-7 won by fall over Jaden Kampen (Humboldt) 39-10 (Fall 3:13)
Quarterfinal - John Tuttle (Spirit Lake Park) 39-6 won by injury default over Graeson Dall (Solon) 36-7 (Inj. 0:41)
Cons. Round 2 - Cody Feldman (Beckman Catholic) 36-13 won by medical forfeit over Graeson Dall (Solon) 36-7 (M. For.)

160: Trevor Nelson (41-9) placed 6th and scored 9.00 team points
Champ. Round 1 - Trevor Nelson (Solon) 41-9 won by fall over Isaiah Mitchell (Decorah) 26-11 (Fall 1:39)
Quarterfinal - Trevor Nelson (Solon) 41-9 won by decision over Matt Dahl (MOC-Floyd Valley) 29-9 (Dec 10-8)
Semifinal - Julien Broderson (Assumption) 43-2 won by decision over Trevor Nelson (Solon) 41-9 (Dec 6-5)
Cons. Semi - Thomas Bentley (Red Oak) 46-10 won by fall over Trevor Nelson (Solon) 41-9 (Fall 5:14)
5th Place Match - Lucas Roland (PCM) 36-4 won by fall over Trevor Nelson (Solon) 41-9 (Fall 1:32)

170: Mike Hoyle (38-18) place is unknown and scored 2.00 team points
Champ. Round 1 - Jarron Trausch (PCM) 44-7 won by major decision over Mike Hoyle (Solon) 38-18 (MD 12-3)
Cons. Round 1 - Mike Hoyle (Solon) 38-18 won by major decision over Tyler Zeimen (Cherokee, Washington) 35-12 (MD 14-6)
Cons. Round 2 - Michael Kent (Iowa Falls-Alden) 39-6 won by decision over Mike Hoyle (Solon) 38-18 (Dec 7-1)

220: Zach Wegmann (41-20) place is unknown and scored 3.00 team points
Champ. Round 1 - Caleb Ring (Osage) 42-3 won by fall over Zach Wegmann (Solon) 41-20 (Fall 1:08)
Cons. Round 1 - Zach Wegmann (Solon) 41-20 won by fall over Travis Te Grotenhuis (MOC-Floyd Valley) 35-10 (Fall 3:03)
Cons. Round 2 - Nick Smith (Central DeWitt) 40-9 won by decision over Zach Wegmann (Solon) 41-20 (Dec 3-1)

285: Tyler Linderbaum (53-10) placed 5th and scored 10.00 team points
Champ. Round 1 - Elijah Van`t Hof (Sioux Center) 40-5 won by decision over Tyler Linderbaum (Solon) 53-10 (Dec 7-2)
Cons. Round 1 - Tyler Linderbaum (Solon) 53-10 won by fall over Michael Ahrendsen (Union) 14-5 (Fall 5:55)
Cons. Round 2 - Tyler Linderbaum (Solon) 53-10 won by decision over Eli Harris (Gilbert) 47-8 (Dec 3-2)
Cons. Round 3 - Tyler Linderbaum (Solon) 53-10 won by decision over Nic Hoefling (Spencer) 36-7 (Dec 2-1)
Cons. Semi - Spencer Trenary (Clarion-Goldfield-Dows) 17-1 won by fall over Tyler Linderbaum (Solon) 53-10 (Fall 2:59)
5th Place Match - Tyler Linderbaum (Solon) 53-10 won by decision over Brendon Lunsford (Fairfield) 34-10 (Dec 1-0)