Four Okoboji matmen advance to state
Four of Okoboji's wrestlers will be advancing to state after an exciting day at the Class 1A district meet on Saturday, Feb. 13. The Pioneers took third place out of the 14 schools with 75 points. They followed district runner-up Woodbury Central, who had 83 points, and district champion Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn, who finished with 104 points.
Tanner Taylor (135), Zach Jones (160), Doug Schwaller (215) and Dustin Schwaller (285) will all be wrestling at the Iowa State Wrestling Championships starting Thursday, Feb. 18 at 9 a.m.
Taylor, ranked seventh at 135, took runner-up in his weight class, which qualifies him to move on to state for the second year in a row. After pinning Austin Renes of Sioux Center in the first round, he lost a well-fought match to fifth-ranked Steven Brockshus of Sibley-Ocheyedan by a 5-3 decision. After Renes lost to Devin DeRocher of Hinton, Taylor was able to get a wrestle-back in which he won by pinning DeRocher.
"Tanner won his first-round match with a fall, but then lost a hard fought battle to Steven Brockshus of Sibley-Ocheyedan in the finals, which has been a battle in each of the four contests they wrestled this year," said Okoboji coach Justin Bouse. "He then was forced into a wrestle-back against another fine wrestler from Hinton in Devin DeRocher. Tanner just kept his composure and knew exactly what he needed to do. He came out right away and picked up the first takedown and really controlled the match from that point on."
Jones, who is rated 10th, was the champion in the 160-pound weight class, more than proving himself ready for state. Jones pinned Michael Kots of West Sioux in the first round and defeated Jacob Pearson of Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn by an 8-4 decision in the championship.
Doug Schwaller was the other champion of the day for the Pioneers at the 215-pound class. Schwaller won his first match against Kyle Scholten of West Lyon by pinfall. In the championship round, he faced Josh Treybal of H-M-S and won a 7-4 decision to take the title and guarantee his place at state. Schwaller has now defeated Treybal three times this season.
"Zach Jones and Doug Schwaller both had outstanding days coming away with the championships and both are wrestling with a ton of confidence right now," said Bouse.
Dustin Schwaller was the heavyweight runner-up. He took a close second place after battling tough opponents throughout the day. In the first round, Schwaller lost a 3-2 decision in overtime to Brendan TerWee of West Lyon. He then pinned Scott Frazier of Lawton-Brawson while TerWee was in a tough match against Matt Sefcik of Alta. Okoboji then cheered on TerWee, hoping for his victory to give Schwaller a wrestle-back. Schwaller was able to get the wrestle-back after TerWee defeated Sefcik, and Sefcik then wrestled against Schwaller. Schwaller redeemed himself from a loss last week to Sefcik by winning a 5-3 overtime decision.
"Dustin's road was even more tense. After losing his opening match against Brendan TerWee in overtime, things didn't look great for Dustin," said Bouse. "He came back and picked up a pin in his consolation match and watched as Brendan scored a takedown in the closing seconds to give Dustin an opportunity to wrestle back. Again Dustin had to take his match to overtime, but he was able to pick up the win this time. Dustin has outstanding conditioning for a heavyweight, which has certainly won him several matches this year. I really felt that Dustin and Tanner believed they deserved to go to the state tournament, which is something we have preached all year."
Shane Vanderpool (189) took third place in his weight class. After losing to Austin Sasse of West Sioux in the first round, he pinned Tanner Knop from Hinton. After Sasse lost to Nate Howard of Graettinger/Terril, Vanderpool was not given the wrestle-back.
"I was very disappointed for Shane Vanderpool, who came up with third place at 189 and did not receive a wrestle-back," said Bouse. "Shane really came on his senior year and wrestled extremely well down the stretch. He was a four-year letter winner and will be missed."
Austin Millard (171) ran into some very tough kids as well and finished fourth, which is still an excellent accomplishment considering his first matches of the season were last week.
"He definitely played a huge role in helping our team win sectionals and wrestle in the regional duals last week," Bouse said.
Getting four state qualifiers was the most the progam has had in a single season since 1969.
"Saturday was definitely an emotional roller coaster, which is what districts so often is. All four of these kids have put in the time it takes to give you that mental edge. Taking four kids to state is really big for our program," said Bouse. "Back in 1969, Milford took six wrestlers to state, but since then neither a Milford or an Okoboji team has had more than three. We really feel good about the draws of all four kids and really feel like the kids have a great opportunity to bring home some hardware."
Class 1A District Tournament
Team scores -- 1. Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn 10-4; 2. Woodbury Central 83; 3. Okoboji 75; 4. Graettinger/Terril 66; 5. Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn 43.5; 6. Sioux Center 32; 7. Lawton-Bronson 29; 8. West Lyon 26; T-9. West Sioux 24; T-9. Alta 24; T-11. Kingsley-Pierson 20; T-11. Akron-Westfield 20. 13. Sibley-Ocheyedan 17.5; 14. Hinton 10.
103 -- 1. Jordan Bremer (WC); 2. Heath Nagel (H-M-S). 112 -- 1. Nick Drenth (H-M-S); 2. Nathan Ryan (WC). 119 -- 1. Tyler Smith (WC); 2. Hank Voss (H-M-S).. 125 -- 1. Zach Ryan (WC); 2. Josh Kristensen (A). 130 -- 1. Chad Richardson (L-B); 2. Josh Taylor (A-W). 135 -- 1. Steven Brockshus (S-O); 2. Tanner Taylor (O). 140 -- 1. Matt Finch (H-M-S); 2. Matt Steffen (K-P). 145 -- 1. Michael Jensen (G/T); 2. Wyatt Towne (H-M-S). 152 -- 1. Russ Godberson (M-M-C); 2. Brett Flynn (H-M-S). 160 -- 1. Zach Jones (O); 2. Jacob Bearson (M-M-C). 171 -- 1. Jared McCoy (WC); 2. Colton Van't Hof (SC); 4. Austin Millard (O). 189 -- 1. Nate Howard (G/T): 2. Austin Sasse (WS); 3. Shane Vanderpool (O). 215 -- 1. Doug Schwaller (O): 2. Josh Treybal (H-M-S). 285 -- 1. Brendan TerWee (WL); 2. Dustin Schwaller (O).
*-- Top two place winners advance to state