DES MOINES — Another fourth place for Creston/Orient-Macksburg. But this one was far more agonizing than the rest.
Three teams have finished ahead of the Panthers at the Class 2-A state dual meet in four of the last five seasons. None of those showings left them feeling as empty as when they departed Wells Fargo Arena on Wednesday night.
The Hawkeye Ten champs — seeded third — began their outing with a 58-17 victory against sixth-seeded Sergeant Bluff-Luton. But a series of tight matches went against them in a 34-27 loss to Davenport Assumption before they pulled their individual state qualifiers and fell to New Hampton 51-21 in the finale.
“We don’t have very many opportunities to win a state championship,” Creston coach Darrell Frain said. “We screwed up today, that’s for sure.”
Against second-seeded Assumption, a surprise turn at the penultimate weight denied what would have been potentially a winner-take-all finish. At 132 pounds, Creston individual state qualifier Trevor Marlin led 7-2 in the third period before non-qualifier Kole Kreinbring flipped him for a pin. That turned a 28-21 Knight edge into 34-21 to clinch the dual.
The final bout would have pitted fifth-ranked Kirk Mommsen of Assumption against No. 2 Wyatt Thompson before they meet in Thursday’s first-round individual match. Instead, Thompson took the forfeit to close a dual that left the Panthers shaking their heads.
Creston (18-2) had its moments in the matchup. No. 7 Cameron Leith (160) earned a 4-1 decision of No. 6 Joe Argo. No. 3 Seth Maitlen triumphed in a clash of state qualifiers at 195 and non-qualifier Kelby Luther (120) rallied to down qualifier Jacob Felderman 7-3.
But a 3-2 loss at 145 by qualifier Mitchel Swank against non-qualifier Patrick Schwartzhoff stung. So did the 220 bout, when No. 3 Kadon Hulett got caught on his back early against No. 4 Noah Broderson and couldn’t make up the deficit in a 7-6 setback.
Creston wrestlers watched on as Assumption went on to celebrate a state title with a 36-27 final against fourth-seeded Clarion-Goldfield-Dows. They kept things in perspective in their last match against New Hampton by cheering junior varsity grapplers competing. They were also reminded that — unlike last year at state duals when now-graduated wrestler Tayler Pettit nearly died from a heart condition — this wasn’t life and death.
“We’ll lead the state with the most fourth-place trophies out of anybody,” Frain said. “But that’s kind of the way it works: We’re here to win state ... third’s good, but it’s not worth risking getting somebody hurt in that consolation.”
Creston won the first 11 bouts — eight by pin — against Sergeant Bluff-Luton to seize a 58-0 advantage. The Warriors (15-2) followed their lopsided loss with a tight 37-29 defeat to seventh-seeded Washington. They led 29-27 through 12 weights after state qualifiers Rhyker Sims (120) and Brayden Curry (126) landed pins. But Washington ended with a fall at 132 and a major decision at 138 to make up the difference.
Still, the Missouri River Conference dual champions ended on a high note against eighth-seeded Albia. Six pins in seven bouts sparked the Warriors to a 50-29 final.
Creston/O-M 58, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 17 — 138 pounds: Wyatt Thompson, C, pinned Keyton Ruskamp, 3:17. 145: Mitchel Swank, C, pinned Zach Schultz, 1:11. 152: Joey Huntington, C, dec. Preston Dunn, 6-4. 160: Cameron Leith, C, pinned Alex Freiberg, 5:02. 170: Chase Shiltz, C, pinned Sean Kellogg, 0:42. 182: Jackson Mikkelsen, C, major dec. Kyle Benson, 10-0. 195: Seth Maitlen, C, pinned Fidel Torres, 1:10. 220: Kadon Hulett, C, pinned T.J. Heineman, 1:10. 285: Zach Hoffman, C, pinned Calvin Sterk, 1:21. 106: Cade Vicker, C, pinned Dominique Hollowell, 0:51. 113: Jacob Goodson, C, dec. Ethan Kempema, 10-6. 120: Rhyker Sims, SBL, tech. fall Kelby Luther, 17-1. 126: Brayden Curry, SBL, pinned Austin Nguyen, 1:24. 132: Easton Graff, SBL, pinned Trevor Marlin, 5:26.
Davenport Assumption 34, Creston/Orient-Macksburg 27 — 145: Patrick Schwartzhoff, DA, dec. Mitchel Swank, 3-2. 152: Nick Johnson, DA, pinned Joey Huntington, 1:58. 160: Cameron Leith, C, dec. Joe Argo, 4-1. 170: Chase Shiltz, C, won by forfeit. 182: Jackson Mikkelsen, C, dec. Julien Broderson, 6-1. 195: Seth Maitlen, C, dec. Chris Bridges, 6-2. 220: Noah Broderson, DA, dec. Kadon Hulett, 7-6. 285: Travis Bruns, DA, pinned Zach Hoffman, 2:52. 106: Matthew Randone, DA, major dec. Cade Vicker, 10-2. 113: Jacob Goodson, C, dec. Trenten McDonough 13-7. 120: Kelby Luther, C, dec. Jacob Felderman, 7-3. 126: Jacob Fenske, DA, pinned Austin Nguyen, 1:00. 132: Kole Kreinbring, DA, pinned Trevor Marlin, 4:32. 138: Wyatt Thompson, C, won by forfeit.