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|2/13/2013 ||Email this article Print this article |
Four Saber grapplers punch tickets to state meet
|Something to celebrate. Central junior Jake Feldpausch leaps to his feet in triumph after pinning Mark Ramirez of Columbus during the 195-pound final at the 2A district meet hosted by West Liberty. The Sabers’ lone champion, Feldpausch was one of three Central qualifiers who beat a sectional champion on their way to a state bid. Photos by Ross Eberhart|
|Central sophomore Walker Wegener keeps Mediapolis freshman Luke Erickson on the mat during their semifinal match at 126 pounds. Wegener cruised into the finals with an 8-4 win.|
By Ross Eberhart
Taking on some of the best wrestlers in the state has become a weekly tradition for members of the Central wrestling team.
And it is one practice the Sabers are more than happy to continue with for one more weekend.
Four Central wrestlers earned another shot at the best during this weekend's 2A state wrestling tournament by finishing in the top-two at Saturday's district meet hosted by West Liberty.
Leading the way for the Sabers was junior Jake Feldpausch, who picked up a district title at 195 pounds.
Joining Feldpausch are three other state newcomers - seniors Greyson Doolittle (152 pounds) and Cameron Donovan (220 pounds) and sophomore Walker Wegener (126 pounds) - who all finished second.
Taking on the cream of the wrestling crop has become passé for the Sabers, who in the span of three weeks competed at the Bob Lueders Invitational (which featured 11 3A teams and three state-ranked squads), the WaMaC Invitational (which was won by top-ranked West Delaware) and a 2A sectional meet (with second-ranked Davenport Assumption).
So Saturday's meet proved to be par for the course for Central's six qualifiers, even with the additional presence of third-ranked Mediapolis.
In fact, three of the Sabers' four qualifiers toppled Bulldog wrestlers who had won sectional titles a week earlier.
That included Feldpausch, who kicked off a big day with a victory over Mediapolis' Ethan Timmerman in the semifinals.
The two met in the Sabers' first tournament of the year - the Dick Mellinger Invitational - with Feldpausch picking up a 10-3 victory.
The rematch was much closer as the two wrestlers went the first period without scoring.
Timmerman picked bottom to start the second period and scored the match's first point with an escape. Feldpausch, though, picked up a huge takedown just before the period expired to take a 2-1 lead into the third period.
Feldpausch added to his lead with an escape to start the third period, but Timmerman was able to tie things up at 3-3 when he took Feldpausch down with just over a minute remaining in the match.
The Saber, though, escaped from Timmerman's control with 22 seconds left and held off the Mediapolis freshman for the 4-3 win.
The victory sent Feldpausch into the finals against another sectional runner-up, Mark Ramirez of Columbus, who upset Assumption's Zach Adrian in the other semifinal.
Feldpausch scored first with a takedown, while Ramirez came back with an escape.
It was still 2-1 at the start of the third period when Feldpausch picked up an escape. Like Timmerman though, Ramirez was able to tie things up with a takedown.
Knowing he would not be able to ride Feldpausch for the rest of the match, Ramirez let the Saber up in search of a takedown.
Ramirez, as expected, went in for a shot, but he did it just as Feldpausch was making his own takedown attempt, the resulting collision forced Ramirez to his back and Feldpausch worked himself in position for the fall which came in 4:59 - much to the delight of a raucous Central crowd.
"When they both went in for a shot at the same time, I knew who was going to win that battle," Central head coach Ed Vance said. "What an exciting way to go into the state tournament."
Feldpausch's fall provided the exclamation point to an impressive day that began with Wegener's victory in the semifinals against Mediapolis freshman Luke Erickson.
Erickson was 35-6 and coming off a sectional title, but he was no match for Wegener who steadily built up a lead and knocked off the Bulldog with an 8-4 decision.
"I think what got us off on the right foot was Walker's win in the first round," Vance said. "He wrestled a tough, smart match and came out on top."
The victory set up a rematch of Wegener's sectional final with Tony Devries of Assumption.
Again the third-ranked Devries got the best of Wegener, beating him by technical fall, but on the other mat, Erickson pinned Jerek Brown of Washington to secure Wegener's spot at state.
"He's really at the top of his game right now and we're excited to have a sophomore in the state tournament," Vance said.
Doolittle's opponent in the semifinals, Mediapolis sophomore Bradley Conley, had lost just twice entering the district meet, but that mattered little to the Central senior who dominated the Bulldog.
Doolittle came close to converting two different takedown opportunities in the first period against Conley before making his third try the charm. The Saber then rode out Conley for the final minute of the first period to take a 2-0 lead.
Doolittle added an escape midway through the second period and then used a scramble situation to turn a Conley takedown into his own two-points to make it 5-0.
Needing points in a hurry, Conley chose neutral to start the third period, but it was Doolittle who scored on a third takedown. Doolittle kept Conley down for the rest of the match to finish off a 7-0 win.
"Greyson's been a 'gamer' all season," Vance said. "When it is on the line or he's up against someone that is ranked, he cranks it up a notch."
Like Wegener, Doolittle faced the same foe (Davenport Assumption senior Nick Georgean) he met in the sectional final a week earlier.
Georgean, who will look to defend his state title at the weight this coming weekend, took the rematch between the two by technical fall, but Conley won his third-place match to send Doolittle to state.
Donovan, the Sabers' final state qualifier, had the advantage of taking on a sectional runner-up in his semifinal match as the Saber senior took on New London sophomore Kyle Davis.
Donovan came out on the attack right away and scored four points just 22 seconds into the match with a takedown and two near fall points.
The Saber senior never looked back as Donovan added more near fall points in the second period en route to a 9-3 victory to advance to the finals.
"Cameron has had a monkey on his back ever since this time last year - he was so nervous he could not perform," Vance said. "This weekend he was his normal self, cracking jokes on the way to the tournament and just being Cam."
Waiting for Donovan was Fairfield senior Jacob Mineart, who is ranked 10th at the weight.
The two met at the Bob Lueders Invitational with Mineart earning a second period fall, but the rematch was closer as Donovan trailed just 4-2 after two periods before Mineart used three takedowns in the final minute to bring home an 11-4 victory.
Donovan's semifinal win, though, paid off as Davis dominated West Liberty's Dylan Van Dusen in the third-place match, assuring the Saber a spot in state.
Only a stroke of bad luck kept the Sabers from adding to their total as 182-pounder Chase Kraklio took third.
The junior had the unenviable task of taking on third-ranked Steven Holloway of Mediapolis in the semifinals and the Bulldog sophomore earned a pin in 2:42.
Kraklio, though, bounced back in his third place match against Brett Scott of Fairfield, pinning the junior with a cradle in 1:40.
Now all Kraklio needed to wrestle back for second was Holloway to beat Assumption's Gabriel Rangel.
Holloway looked well on his way too, building a 9-1 lead. Rangel, though, caught Holloway out of position and threw him to his back. The ref slapped his hand to the mat with just 11 seconds left, giving Rangel the title and keeping Kraklio at third.
Finishing things off for the Sabers, who finished third in the team standings at the meet with 64 points, was junior Drew Schroeder, who took fourth.
Despite winning a sectional title, Schroeder still had to take on a ranked wrestler in Fairfield's Seth Davisson, who is seventh (Davisson lost in the sectional final to second-ranked Adam Drain of Mediapolis).
Davisson jumped out in front right away with a throw and the Fairfield senior added another five-point move later in the period to extend the advantage.
Davisson went for a throw again in the second period and this time he was able to turn the big move into a fall.
Schroeder met Davenport Assumption's Clint Harland in the third-place match and jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a takedown.
Schroeder, though, would not score again as Harland scored the final four points in a 4-2 win.
The Rebels missed out on having their own state qualifier as senior Connor Soenksen took third in the toughest weight of the tournament - 132 pounds.
Soenksen started his day with a battle against sixth-ranked Cole Erickson of Mediapolis.
The Rebel senior fought hard on his feet against the Bulldog sophomore, but Erickson was eventually able to put Soenksen on his back in the second period for a fall.
Soenksen answered back from the loss in his third-place match against Austin Edwards of Columbus as the senior used a takedown and two near fall points to build a 4-0 lead in the first period.
Soenksen added another takedown in the second period and then reversed Edwards in the third to finish off an 8-0 major decision.
The victory coupled with Erickson's upset of second-ranked Kyle Springer in the finals gave Soenksen an opportunity to wrestle back against the Assumption senior.
Soenksen kept things interesting against Springer and nearly threw the Knight to his back during the first period, but eventually Springer won out and earned a fall in 1:07.
"Connor had a great career and a great season this year," Northeast head coach Steve Farrell said. "He is a great wrestler and an even better person.
"He had a very tough sectional and district and I believe Connor is one of the top-eight wrestlers in the state."
Saber foursome set to hit the mats Thursday night
It will certainly be a new experience for the Central quartet of qualifiers, as all four will make their state debut during Thursday night's 2A opening round.
Wegener will kick things off at 126 pounds as he meets senior Kyle White of Central Springs at the very top of the bracket.
White was a state runner-up last year at the same weight in class 1A and is 49-1 with the lone loss coming to a ranked 1A wrestler.
With a victory Wegener will wrestle the winner of Centerville's Tanner Cowan and Waukon's Adam Benzing.
Cowan has wrestled just seven matches this year, but is ranked seventh in class 2A (he finished fourth as a sophomore). Benzing is 25-14 and was a runner-up at the West Delaware district.
Doolittle opens his tournament with a bout against fellow senior Zach Moss of Winterset.
Moss is 33-6 during the season and is ranked 10th.
A victory would set up a quarterfinal match against either Jackson VanKirk of Perry or John Clark of Clarinda.
VanKirk has lost just five times this season and has handed Moss two of his losses. Clark, meanwhile, is 32-15 in his freshman season.
Feldpausch opens his tournament with a match against fellow WaMaC foe, Matt McMillan of Independence.
The freshman is 25-13 during the season and wrestled back at the district meet to finish second (he beat the same wrestler who toppled him in the finals of the sectional meet).
A victory would mean a match against Luke Johnson of Charles City or Jose Cruz of Roland-Story.
Johnson is ranked third in the state and pinned his way to a district title (albeit against two wrestlers with losing records). Cruz is 35-6 on the season and has won 19 of his last 21 matches with the two losses coming to sixth-ranked Alex Macki of Ballard.
Donovan finishes things off for the Sabers with a first round battle against senior Tyler Nyugen of Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
Nyugen is 37-7, ranked eighth in class 2A and also pinned his way to a district title.
A victory over Nguyen would match Donovan against the winner of Bryce Kelleher of Sheldon/South O'Brien and Dylan Nelson of ADM (Adel).
Kelleher is 37-4 on the season and is ranked seventh, while Nelson is 38-6 and is ranked ninth.
"This is just the seventh time in school history that we've had more than three state qualifiers, which is a great accomplishment," Vance said. "Our goal is to make history by becoming the first to put four on the awards stand on Saturday."