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The video above is Josh Christensen's report from the final sessions of semifinal day at the state wrestling tournament, and the story below is K.J. Pilcher's 2A recap, focusing on West Delaware's charge to the top. For more, head over to Iowa Prep Sports.
DES MOINES, Iowa – The charge was led by the ankle-biter and the auto racer.
The smallest wrestlers in top-ranked West Delaware's lineup made the biggest impact in the semifinal round of the Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 2A state wrestling championship Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena.
Top-ranked 106-pounder Pat Woods and No. 2 Zach Less at 113 punched their tickets to Saturday night's finals, helping the Hawks extend their lead in the team race.
Woods was dominant, trouncing OA-BCIG's Jake Wulf, 13-0. He built a 4-0 lead the first increasing it to 10-0 with an escape, takedown and three nearfall in the second.
"Here at the state tournament, you only have six minutes to show everybody what you're made of and what message you want to send," Woods said. "It feels good to get a couple good wins like that is a good statement to leave in people's minds [Saturday] night."
Woods appears in constant motion on the mat. He causes fits for opponents with his relentless attack, powering him to the finals after a third-place finish last season.
"Coach (Kris) Lenz calls me 'ankle-biter,'" Woods said. "Coach (Kurt) Hatfield calls me a little Chihuahua.
"I go out there after being slow out here and I go like a bat out of hell."
Woods (45-1) isn't ready to celebrate yet. He faces Wamac conference foe Brock Rathbun, of Center Point-Urbana, in the finals. Woods won their previous meetings this season.
"I'm not finished," Woods said. "I got one more to get [Saturday] night. It's what I've been working for all year, my high school and youth career.
"It's good to have this opportunity to wrestle in the state finals. It's a dream come true but I have to take care of business."
Rathbun, the Stormin' Pointers first freshman finalist since Chris Halblom in 2008, beat Mediapolis' fifth-ranked Mason Buster, 8-2, in the semifinals.
On an adjacent mat to Woods, Less earned a return trip to the finalist since his runner-up finish at 103 in 2011. Interestingly, Woods was the backup for Less that season.
Less scored a takedown in the third period and held off Davenport Assumption's Brendan Gould, 2-1, in the 113 semifinals. He avenged a loss to Gould in the State Duals final two days earlier.
"I wanted this since Wednesday when I lost to him," said Less, who was fifth at 113 last year. "I knew I'd have him in the semis. I just had to get through."
Less, an accomplished late model race car driver who has competed at Hawkeye Downs Speedway, kept his foot on the accelerator as the match was scoreless going into the third. He scored the decisive takedown with about 1:30 to go.
"I had to avoid getting turned," Less said about getting ridden the entire second period. "I knew I was going to have to get a takedown in the third when I didn't in the first."
Less has a sense of urgency about capturing gold Saturday night. He wants to cap his career with a championship, and will have to beat Washington's Fletcher Green, who reached the finals with a 6-1 win over Crestwood's Chase Lienhard.
"I can't let this one get away from me," Less said. "This is my last shot."
Adam Reth is attempting to finish his second straight season as an undefeated champion, but he was in jeopardy early in the semifinals. Sheldon's Bryce Kelleher led 5-2, put Reth on his back and tried for a fall. Reth recovered and posted an 8-5 win.
He will face Boyden Hull/Rock Valley's Tyler Dollieslager, who pinned Williamsburg's Corbin Blythe to advance to the 220 final.
The Hawks had five finalists and led the team race. Zach Muller (145) also reached the finals, beating Union's Jacob Holschlag, 5-2. West Delaware heavyweight Dean Broghammer beat Union Community's Josh Clark, 10-3, to reach the finals. Jake Voss (152) and 182-pounder Jacyn Goebel fell in the semifinals.
Union brothers, Max and Logan Thomsen, advanced to the finals. Max Thomsen scored a 10-2 major decision over Albia's Bryce Leshen at 126. Logan Thomsen topped Albia's Griffin Osing, 9-2.
Mount Vernon's Trey Ryan matched his brother as well. The Mustangs' top-ranked 160-pounder reached the championship match, joining his brother Jacob, who was a state finalist in 2007. Trey Ryan beat No. 3 Sawyer Anderson, of New Hampton, 7-6.
Mount Vernon teammate James Wenzel advanced to the semifinals, but lost to Central Springs' Kyle White, 7-0.