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State Wrestling: Title Dreams Come True
By K.J. Pilcher and Josh Christensen, Reporters
Above is the video report from Josh Christensen on the final day of the state wrestling tournament in Des Moines. Below is K.J. Pilcher's story, focusing on Class 2A.
DES MOINES – West Delaware ruled the night and Class 2A.
The beloved Grand March was led by one of the school’s administrators, a quartet of classmates belted out a stirring rendition of the National Anthem and then the top-ranked Hawks put the finishing touches on a team title after their staff received 2A "Coach of the Year" honors.
Top-ranked Pat Woods opened Saturday’s night competition with a first-period fall and Adam Reth and Dean Broghammer added titles at the Iowa High School Athletic Association’s Class 2A state wrestling championship at Wells Fargo Arena capped West Delaware’s first team championship since sweeping state meets in 1991.
“It’s kind of the West Delaware reunion,” Woods said. “That’s really special. It’s probably something I won’t forget.”
The biggest reminders will be a gold medal and large wall bracket.
Woods wasted little time against Center Point-Urbana’s Brock Rathbun in the 106-pound final. He scored a takedown 30 seconds into the match for a 2-0 lead. He laced up a double-bar arm and turned Rathbun, feeling confident and comfortable while getting back points.
Related: Watch Woods' winning pin of Rathbun
“My game plan is to attack,” Woods said. “When I attack, I wrestle my best.”
Woods’ quest to be a state champion began in middle school and culminated with Saturday night’s performance. He appreciates the support from his parents, coaches, workout partners and fans.
“It was a weight off my shoulders,” Woods said. “A three-week state journey came to an end there.”
Rathbun became the Stormin’ Pointers' first freshman finalist since Chris Halblom in 2008. Rathburn was not satisfied with just being a part of the ceremonies.
“Yeah, we’ve only had one person at Center Point get to the finals before, so it was one of my goals,” Rathbun said, “the other goal was to be a state champ, but just got to get there next year.”
He finished 41-3 and is confident he will get another shot.
“Well I made it my first year, so just keeping working like I did all summer,” Rathburn said. “I’ll get back.”
Top-ranked Reth capped his prep career in impressive and dominant fashion. He decked Boyden Hull/Rock Valley’s Tyler Dolieslager in 1:58 of the 220 finals, posting his second straight unbeaten championship season and his 89th straight victory.
He nearly tackled Hawks coaches in his corner and smacked another with a thunderous high-five as he passed. He will put that to good use next year, playing football for the University of Northern Iowa.
“This feels good,” Reth said. “It was my last match, my last six minutes I was going to be able to wrestle and put an exclamation point on it.”
He received a boost from the events surrounding the action.
“West Delaware as a whole, we came out in full force,” Reth said. “It was exciting to see everyone get involved.”
Broghammer (47-0) put the finishing touches, building a 5-0 lead before pinning Bondurant-Farrar’s Chad Pohlmeier in 2:50. He joined older brother, Carl, who won the 189-pound championship in 2009 for the Hawks.
Related: Watch Broghammer's winning pin
West Delaware locked up the title before the finals. The Hawks scored a whopping 151 points, beating runner-up Davenport Assumption by 37 ½. Mediapolis was third with 100.
It is the second traditional state team title in school history. The pressure of the team race was eased, so the Hawks could focus on their individual challenges.
“I know we’re real excited about bringing a team title back,” Woods said. “It was kind of cool to go down in West Delaware history twice in one night.”
Creston’s Jake Marlin (53-1) and Denver-Tripoli’s Brandon Sorensen (57-0) made their own history, becoming Iowa’s 22nd and 23rd four-time state champions. It was the fourth time in history two wrestlers won their fourth in the same year and first time that it involved 2A wrestlers.
Marlin pinned Charles City’s Adam Staudt in 2:55 to claim the 138 title for the second straight year. He also won at 130 and 135 as a freshman and sophomore. Sorensen beat West Delaware’s Zach Muller, 7-3, for the 145-pound title. His previous titles were at 119, 130 and 132.
Washington’s Fletcher Green put a halt to the Hawks' celebration originally and started one for the Demons. Green tallied two early takedowns and posted an 8-3 victory over the Hawks’ Zach Less for the 113-pound state championship. He is the school’s first since Bobby Gonshorowski won his second straight in 1997.
He had planned to celebrate with a big chocolate shake, which he hasn’t had all season.
“It’s an amazing moment,” said Green, who was showing his medal off to others in a tunnel after stepping from the awards stand. “There’s nothing like it that I’ve experienced.”
Green (36-5) entered the tournament ranked fourth and didn’t have a match closer than five points. He rolled into the finals, leaving nothing to chance after failing to earn a medal last year.
The disappointment from a year ago provided added motivation and made the accomplishment more precious.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work,” Green said. “I just stayed positive and done the little things right.
“I believe that I did what it took to get a medal and I didn’t get it. It makes this even sweeter.”
On a night when history was made, Union Community’s Max Thomsen (49-0) took a step closer to joining the elite group.
The sophomore 126-pounder scored a takedown in the first period, leading to a 3-1 win over Kyle White of Central Springs. He helped the Knights finish fourth as a team with 81 points.
Related: Watch Thomsen's full state title match
The victory was tighter than most of the top-ranked Thomsen’s matches. The early ankle-pick for two points was important, but not as much as his work on top in the final period.
“It was key, but my biggest thing is my riding,” Thomsen said. “He didn’t get his escape until late.”
He approached it like his 2012 113-pound championship bout.
“It was just like my first title,” Thomsen said. “I just focus on this title. I forgot about last year when I went out there.
“Every time you make the state finals you never know if you’re going to get back there, so you have to make the most of it.”
Older brother, Logan Thomsen, made the most of his third and final chance in the state finals. Thomsen dominated Perry’s Jackson VanKirk, scoring a 16-0 technical fall. It was the first time Union crowned two champs in the same year since Bart Mehlert and Trey Clark won titles at 140 and 189 in 2000.
Logan Thomsen (47-1) was a two-time runner-up and placed third. All were brackets won by Marlin and Sorensen.
“It feels damn good to get thereafter three years of coming up short,” Logan Thomsen said. “It also feels good to tie one on with my brother, too.”
Logan Thomsen wrestled part of the season, but didn’t feel comfortable with the drop, especially after a loss to Sorensen.
“I lifted every single day, preparing for this,” Logan Thomsen said. “I worked on my conditioning more than I ever have. I wanted it really bad this year.”
The older Thomsen put VanKirk on his back in the first, building a 5-0 lead and ended it in the final minute. It was a perfect ending.
“My goal was to ride him like a dog,” Logan Thomsen said. “Pick up points whenever.”
Monticello senior Logan McQuillen (43-5) was all smiles while climbing to the top step of the podium. He had plenty to enjoy, taking home the 160-pound title in his first state tournament appearance. He became the Panthers’ first state champion, scoring a takedown with five seconds left to beat Mount Vernon’s Trey Ryan, 4-2.
Related: Watch McQuillen's final takedown
“It is unbelievable,” said McQuillen, jumping into Monticello coach Ryan Luensman’s arms to celebrate. “All my hard work paid off. Even with all the disappointments I’ve had it makes it all worth it.”
He just missed a takedown moments earlier, but it gave him confidence. He saw 17 seconds on the clock, received some advice from coaches and went to work.
“I wasn’t going to stop and let go for nothing,” McQuillen said. “I was going to finish it.”
McQuillen’s run was highlighted by beating the top-two ranked wrestlers at his weight. Unranked McQuillen beat Albia’s No. 2 Brett Leshen, 8-2, in the quarterfinals before meeting the top-ranked Ryan.
“I always knew I should have been here (at state),” McQuillen said. “In the offseason, I went to all the big tournaments I could to prepare myself.”
When the last seconds elapsed, McQuillen had only one way to describe it.
“Pure joy,” he said.
Ryan finished 42-2 and became the Mustangs first state runner-up since his older brother, Jacob, was a finalist at 160 in 2007.
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