DES MOINES — Greed is in the New Hampton wrestling team’s blood.

Two days after winning the Class 2A State Duals title, the Chickasaws had productive quarterfinal and semifinal rounds Friday that has them on the verge of completing the sweep.

But before that can happen, New Hampton still has work to do.

“I’m never happy. I guess I’m just wired that way, but ... we’ve just got to keep climbing,” Chickasaws head coach Nick Hemann said.

New Hampton advanced three wrestlers to the finals — Michael Millage at 126, Keaton Geerts at 138 and Ryan Gorman at 160, and overtook first-day leader Solon by 7 1/2 points, 88-80.5, heading into the final day of competition.

The Chickasaws will have six wrestlers standing on the podium altogether Saturday, while Solon has two finalists and five placewinners.

The two teams will have one head-to-head match in the finals at 126 where Millage will face top-ranked Drew West.

“Michael has to wrestle better. Keaton is on a mission, and Ryan Gorman can hang with anyone,” said Hemann of his finalists.

Both Millage and Geerts got pins in the semifinals. Millage pinned Gabe Ruepke of Chariton in 3 minutes, 59 seconds, while Geerts got the big victory, decking Ben Carr of Solon in 3:15 in a head-to-head showdown.

“We needed bonus points,” said Geerts, who is chasing his second consecutive title. “We got the job done there. It was a huge win to beat them head-to-head.”

Gorman advanced to his first championship match by grinding out a 3-1 win over Kolton Bartow of Dubuque Wahlert, 3-1, at 160.

New Hampton was on the verge of a fourth finalist, but Noah Fye, with his matched tied at 6-all, was caught by Davenport Assumption’s Matt Robertson and pinned in 5:24. Noah Glaser dropped a 13-3 decision to Osage’s Brock Jennings at 170 in another semifinal featuring a Chickasaw.

Denver-Tripoli junior Blake Steege has battled knee injuries throughout his career, but that didn’t hold him back Friday as he scored a 3-0 victory over Shea Ruffridge of Pocahontas Area to advance to the 120 final where he will face Solon state champion Bryce West.

“Last year right after Christmas break I hurt my knees pretty bad,” Steege said. “Right before the season started I had another knee surgery and about six or seven days in, I hurt my knee again and had another surgery.

“I thought I was done. But I came up and heck, I’m a state finalist now.”

In all, Steege, has had two scopes on his left knee and one on his right, in the last six months.

Jennings’ victory over Glaser at 170 advanced the Green Devil to his first title match where he will face Kyler Fisher of Southeast Valley. Jennings had previously finished fourth, seventh and fifth in his first three trips to state.

“Being up there on the gym wall (inside the Osage wrestling room where there is a list of state champions) that would be the pinnacle,” Jennings said.

North Fayette-Valley junior Jordan Baumler trailed his entire 220-pound semifinal to Blade Durbala of Benton Community until he finally decided to go for broke.

The end result? He planted Durbala on his back for a pin in 5:54 and a spot in the finals against Creston’s Kadon Hulett.

“I just went to basic old school wrestling and used my best move, lateral drop, and put him down,” Baumler said. “He was stopping my go-to offense and I was having trouble getting to him. I saw the time and my adrenaline just kicked in and I put him away.”

Several other area wrestlers lost semifinal matches.

Denver-Tripoli’s Riley Wright was pinned by Drew West of Solon at 126 and his teammate, Cael Krueger, lost a hard-fought 5-4 decision at 152 when he was hit for stalling with five seconds left to give Washington’s Trey Van Weelden the victory.

Crestwood’s Ryan Steffen dropped an 8-6 decision to Brant O’Shea of Keokuk in a 132 semifinal. North Fayette-Valley’s Ethan Lape lost to Iowa football recruit Tristan Wirfs of Mount Vernon by fall in a 285 semifinal.


Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Courier

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