DES MOINES — The list was already plenty long.
Twenty-five-plus victories? Check.
Sectional title? Check.
State wrestling qualifier? Check.
And Central DeWitt 113-pounder Royce Butt can add another accomplishment to his growing catalog of accolades.
State meet victory?
Just the second Sabers freshman ever to qualify for the state meet, Butt bounced back from a first-round setback to the eventual state runner-up to stay alive in the tournament with a 7-2 victory in the consolation first-round Thursday night.
Butt’s medal quest came to a close the following afternoon, but the experience will provide plenty of motivation to take that next state step and build off his sensational freshman campaign.
“We knew the physical, high-tempo brand of wrestling that Royce has would fare well on the big stage,” Central DeWitt head coach Matt Ohnemus said. “Royce is as committed to the sport as you could hope for and we know his goals of being on the state podium will motivate him throughout the offseason.”
As the 14th seed, Butt had the difficult task of battling third-seeded and undefeated Anders Kittelson in the first round.
Kittelson, who was just coming off an upset of the reigning state champion at the district meet, showed his strength on his feet, recording five takedowns in an 11-3 major decision. The Crestwood (Cresco) freshman would advance all the way to the finals of the weight class before dropping a 2-1 decision to Webster City’s Camron Phetxoumphone in the rematch of that district final he had won.
Butt moved to the consolation side of the bracket where he faced Woodward-Granger sophomore Peyton Nixon.
This time, it was Butt who showed his ability on his feet, recording a takedown in every period and surrendering just two escapes in a 7-2 victory.
“Royce is all-business on the mat and looks to dominate his opponents and I thought his second match was a perfect example of that,” Ohnemus said. “Always attacking to score, comfortable, and in control of the match.”
Butt knew he would face a quarterfinalist in the second-round of consolations — either West Delaware’s Carson Less, who Butt had already faced three times, including at the previous week’s district meet, or Bondurant-Farrar’s Dalton Rowe — with a state medal at stake.
It turned out to be Rowe, who fell to Less, 3-2, in the quarterfinals. Butt stayed on the attack, striking first with a takedown, but Rowe came back with an escape, hit a takedown of his own and added three nearfall points to build a 6-2 lead.
Rowe added another escape to start the second period, but Butt scored a takedown just before the period closed to get back within three at 7-4.
Looking to draw even closer with an escape or reversal, Butt chose bottom to start the third period. Rowe, though, was able to maneuver the freshman to his back and ended up getting the fall in 4:26.
The setback ended Butt’s tournament, but will also provide plenty of motivation as the Saber looks to join teammate Keaton Zeimet as the program’s only four-time state qualifiers.
“The fact that Royce got to join Keaton in Des Moines as Royce paves his own way was a really special way to conclude the season,” Ohnemus said. “Royce has absolutely set himself up to be a major fixture in our lineup.
“We can’t wait to see him attack his goal over the next three years.”