WOODBINE, Iowa — Public address announcer Adam Cox summed up the afternoon at the Class 1-A sectional Saturday with a single statement prior to the final round of competition.
“With team scores like this,” he said, “every match counts.”
Boy, did they ever.
Entering the fifth-place and wrestle-back matches, 3.5 points separated the top three teams. And only the top two at the end advanced to Tuesday’s regional duals.
Western Iowa Conference champion Audubon (186 points), rated No. 6 in the 1-A dual team rankings, pulled away to win the team title. Logan-Magnolia (174.5) held off No. 11 Tri-Center (174) for second.
The Panthers extended their streak of years with a regional dual appearance to 12. Lo-Ma had its string of 10 straight seasons with a sectional championship ended by Tri-Center last year. The Panthers played second fiddle to the Wheelers this time.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a sectional this close,” Lo-Ma coach Kent Kersten said. “I just didn’t think we wrestled as well as we could have.”
Kersten said he told his wrestlers that the goal was to end the season at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, whether it’s as an individual state qualifier or as a team for the state dual meet.
The Panthers advanced four to districts next Saturday, as did Tri-Center and Coon Rapids-Bayard. Audubon crowned four champions and advanced six. Five from Woodbine moved on.
All 11 state-rated wrestlers made it through Saturday’s sectional, including two-time state champion Loren Williams. The senior from Tri-Center pinned his way to the 152-pound title.
Williams, 43-1 this year, weighed in at 149 pounds, easily his lowest of the season.
“I felt lighter, and I felt I had more speed. I felt really well today,” he said. “It felt good going out there and getting this off my back. I have been opening up my stuff a little more, showing my knowledge.”
Christian Polley (113 pounds) was the other champion for the Trojans. Brad Kerkhoff (120), Chase Petersen (138), Jesse Svoboda (182) and Matt Fett (285) claimed titles for Audubon.
Svoboda pinned Ben Wellman of Tri-Center in the 182-pound championship match. It was the only meeting of ranked wrestlers at the meet. Svoboda led 1-0 in the third period before recording the fall at 4:56.
Lucas Hedstrom (126), Josh Matusik (160) and Mason Mentink (170) won their brackets for Woodbine. Ridge Meeker (132) and Logan Melby (220) were Lo-Ma’s champions.
Evan Hansen of Exira-EHK pinned eighth-ranked Darrian Irlbeck of Tri-Center with one second left in the 145-pound title match to join teammate Trey Sander (195) as a sectional champion.
Micah Hoffman claimed the 106-pound title for Coon Rapids-Bayard.
Team scoring: 1, Audubon 186; 2, Logan-Magnolia 174.5; 3, Tri-Center 174; 4, Woodbine 138; 5, Coon Rapids-Bayard 129; 6, A-H-S-T 103; 7, Exira-EHK 96.
District qualifiers: 106: 1, Micah Hoffman, CRB; 2, Kyle Juelsgaard, Aud. 113: 1, Christian Polley, TC; 2, Austin Malloy, EHK. 120: 1, Brad Kerkhoff, Aud; 2, Christian Hilgenberg, CRB. 126: 1, Lucas Hedstrom, Wood; 2, Andrew Malloy, Aud. 132: 1, Ridge Meeker, LM; 2, Zach Evans, CRB. 138: 1, Chase Petersen, Aud; 2, Brady Charbonneau, LM. 145: 1, Evan Hansen, EHK; 2, Darrian Irlbeck, TC. 152: 1, Loren Williams, TC; 2, Keenan Bock, CRB; 160: 1, Josh Matusik, Wood; 2, Kyle Bauerkemper, AHST. 170: 1, Mason Mentink, Wood; 2, Jake Larson, AHST. 182: 1, Jesse Svoboda, Aud; 2, Ben Wellman, TC. 195: 1, Trey Sander, EHK; 2, Darin Peterson, Wood. 220: 1, Logan Melby, LM; 2, Matt Monahan, Wood. 285: 1, Matt Fett, Aud; 2, Joe Graf, LM.