DES MOINES — A year after dropping a state dual semifinal to eventual champion Davenport Assumption, Creston/Orient-Macksburg tangled with the Knights once again.
The setting was a 2-A state quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena on Wednesday morning.
Neither team came in carrying the same weight of expectation as last year, but both planned on heading to the right side of the bracket.
“We knew exactly what we had coming in,” Creston coach Darrell Frain said. “They lost some top-line guys, and so did we.”
The rematch went down to the wire.
The dual was within six points for the first eight matches. The Knights extended the lead to nine with a pin at 170, but the Panthers earned three straight victories to take a six-point lead with two matches to go.
From an outside perspective, things were lining up nicely for the Panthers, but a lineup change altered the equation considerably.
Kadon Hulett, Creston’s second-ranked 220-pounder, was ready for a showdown with top-rated Noah Broderson, but Broderson moved up to heavyweight. As a result, Hulett and Broderson each recorded a pin in back-to-back matches.
Going into the last match of the dual, the score was tied at 36, and Assumption suddenly had a pin that Frain was hoping to avoid.
“I knew it was going to come down to pins,” he said. “They got six, we got five, and that was the difference.”
Assumption officially clinched the win with a decision at 106. The final score was 39-36.
The Panthers then dropped a 43-38 consolation semifinal before finishing on a strong note. Creston won all but three matches in 43-13 rout over No. 3 Atlantic/CAM to clinch seventh place.
Though Creston finished three spots lower than a year ago, the Panthers headed to their hotel with a much better feeling.
“This year, coming in (to the season), we didn’t even know if we’d be here,” Frain said.
Tuesday’s state duals tournament was a day of valleys and peaks for Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
But for the seventh-ranked Warriors, there ended up being more of the former than the latter.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s tournament ended with a fifth-place dual against No. 8 Denver-Tripoli. The Warriors started strong, jumping to a 24-11 lead. But they dropped the last six matches and lost the dual 38-27.
The sixth-place finish was one spot better than a year ago.
Earlier in the day, the seventh-ranked Warriors found themselves on both sides of lopsided contests.
In the quarterfinals, No. 2 Solon won all but three matches in picking up a 62-12 win. Following a fall by state title contender Brayden Curry at 132 and a decision by Easton Graff at 138, Sergeant Bluff-Luton didn’t score another point until the final match of the round.
After that, Sergeant Bluff-Luton took care of Atlantic with ease. The Warriors held their opponent to single digits on their way to a 63-6 triumph.
Atlantic was competitive in a quarterfinal battle against No. 6 Washington, but five bonus-point victories in the middle of the dual proved to be the difference in a 35-31 Washington win. Atlantic opted to rest its qualifiers from there.
The Trojans finished their third state duals appearance 0-3.
Team standings: 1, New Hampton; 2, Solon; 3, Assumption; 4, Washington; 5, Denver-Tripoli; 6, Sergeant Bluff-Luton; 7, Creston/Orient-Macksburg; 8, Atlantic/CAM.
Davenport Assumption 39, Creston/O-M 36
Washington 35, Atlantic/CAM 31
Solon 62, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 12
Denver-Tripoli 43, Creston/O-M 28
Sergeant Bluff-Luton 63, Atlantic/CAM 6
Fifth-place match: Denver-Tripoli 38, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 27
Seventh-place match: Creston/O-M 49, Atlantic/CAM 13