DES MOINES — Future college football teammates Chase Shiltz and Kadon Hulett of Creston/Orient-Macskburg will say goodbye to the sport of wrestling Saturday night, sharing the grandest high school stage.
Top-rated Shiltz earned his fourth career trip to the finals and will seek this third state title after dispatching ninth-rated Boone McDermott of Dubuque Wahlert 9-2 at 182 pounds in Class 2-A. Minutes later on an adjacent mat, second-rated Hulett held off top-rated Noah Broderson of Assumption 2-1 in the second tiebreaker session at 220 for his first trip to the finals.
“That was amazing,” said Hulett, who will join Shiltz at Northwest Missouri State. “Really, it was just guts. A lot of credit goes to the guy standing right beside you, too (Shiltz). Just in practice, he pushes my butt as hard as he can.
“When the whole recruiting process started, he picked wrestling off the bat. I wanted him to come with me to Northwest and I knew he wanted to. Just going out on this last night with him, it’s going to be even more memorable because we’re going to have that experience for the rest of our lives.”
A few minutes after Hulett’s big win, Atlantic junior John McConkey joined the Panthers duo in the championship round. The third-rated McConkey used a takedown late in the second tiebreaker period to knock off No. 1 Spencer Trenary of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows 4-2 at 285.
New Hampton enters the final night leading the 2-A chase with 88, followed by Solon at 80.5. Creston had 65.5 points for third followed by Davenport Assumption (64) and Ballard (60).
Creston coach Darrell Frain said no one is more deserving of a finals berth than Hulett, who was sixth last year.
“It just came down to guts at the end,” he said. “That’s all it was. He’s so tough. He’s mentally tough. He just knew what he had to do and that’s what it comes down to.”
Frain said Broderson had beaten Hulett twice last year, using a pair of five-point moves to do it. He said the goal was to stay out of those dangerous situations.
It appeared the match might be heading to an ultimate tiebreaker period. Even though Broderson had worked his way nearly free to face Hulett in the up position, Hulett didn’t allow him to free his arms and the official did not award the tying escape point.
“I knew I didn’t have a stall call going into it,” Hulett said. “I knew if I didn’t win that period, I had the option to go down the next period and get out.”
Shiltz was asked who he was more excited for.
“I was more excited for him,” he said. “I went back into the locker room. I saw it on the TV and it was unreal.”
Shiltz said he doesn’t feel any added pressure to do something spectacular on Saturday in his wrestling swan song. He just wants the victory.
Atlantic’s McConkey sprinted off the mat after his victory. Waiting for him at the entrance to the tunnel for a hug was Hulett.
He finished eighth last year. The 5-foot-11, 235-pounder said he’s come a long way since that showing.
“I’m stronger physically and I’m way stronger mentally,” he said. “Last year I didn’t have that much confidence. Those two things, and I got a lot better at offense.”
McConkey was asked what it felt like to earn the right to wrestle on the final night.
“Music to my ears,” he said. “It’s a great honor. I’ve worked towards it all year and that’s the plan. That’s what I want to do. I want to be a state champ.”
Western Iowa athletes dropped two other semifinal matches.
At 195, fifth-rated Zac Stork of Atlantic/CAM had a 5-0 lead at one time but lost by fall to top-rated Bryce Esmoil of West Liberty in 2:20.
And at 145, fourth-rated Mitchel Swank of Creston/O-M lost by fall in 4:56 to No. 1 Ryan Leisure of Clear Lake.
Team scoring leaders
1, New Hampton 88; 2, Solon 80.5; 3, Creston/O-M; 4, Assumption 64; 5, Ballard 60.
Also: 6, Atlantic/CAM 45.
145: Ryan Leisure, Clear Lake, pinned Mitchel Swank, Creston/O-M, 4:56
182: Chase Schiltz, Creston/O-M, dec. Boone McDermott, Wahlert, 9-2
195: Bryce Esmoil, West Liberty, pinned Zach Stork, Atlantic/CAM, 2:20
220: Kadon Hulett, Creston/O-M, tiebreaker, Noah Broderson, Assumption, 2-1
285: John McConkey, Atlantic/CAM, tiebreaker, Spencer Trenary, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, 4-2
120: Carter Cox, Atlatnic/CAM, major dec. Kayden Kauzalarich, Centerville, 14-6
132: Brayden Curry, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, dec. Jarrett Miller, Ballard, 5-4
160: Thomas Bentley, Red Oak, pinned Kyle Sinnott, Albia, :44
170: Jacob Wingert, Harlan, dec. Drake Roller, Atlantic/CAM, 9-3
182: Nick Foss, Harlan, dec. Luke Jenness, Sheldon-South O’Brien, 11-6. Tanner Vermaas, Woodward Granger, pinned Kyle Benson, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, 1:12.
195: Jackson Mikkelsen, Creston/O-M, pinned Seth Moore, Ballard, 1:04
113: Chase Luensman, Monticello, major dec. Kole Hansen, Atlantic/CAM, 10-0.
126: Gabe Ruepke, Chariton, dec. Chase McLaren, Atlantic, 4-1.
132: Matt Robertson, Assumption, dec. Brayden Curry, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, 5-0.
145: Mitchel Swank, Creston/O-M, pinned Justin Smith, Winterset, 1:13.
160: Kolton Bartow, Dubuque Wahlert, dec. Thomas Bentley, Red Oak, 7-3.
170: Brock Jennings, Osage, pinned Jacob Wingert, Harlan, 3:31.
182: Chase Shiltz, Creston/O-M, pinned Dalton Rosenburg, South Tama County, 1:31.
195: Zac Stork, Atlantic/CAM, pinned Caleb Olson, Webster City, 3:06; Cody Fisher, Woodward-Granger, dec. Jackson Mikkelsen, Creston/O-M, 5-2.
220: Kadon Hulett, Creston/O-M, dec. Caleb Ring, Osage, 7-1.
285: John McConkey, Atlantic, major dec. Colin Anderson, Ballard, 9-1.