DES MOINES — Ryan Steffen left nothing to chance.
The Crestwood senior had been to the Class 2A state semifinals each of the past two seasons only to be left heartbroken with a loss.
Steffen exorcised some semifinal demons Friday afternoon, hitting a five-point move in the second period and lifting himself to a 6-4 victory over second-ranked Tanner Abbas of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows and into 145-pound state final at Wells Fargo Arena.
The victory capped a day that saw Steffen use a reversal in the final 20 seconds to beat top-ranked Noah Fye of New Hampton/Turkey Valley, 6-5, in the quarterfinals.
“Finally got past and I’m where I need to be,” Steffen said. “Finally proved to everybody I could get there and it is awesome. I just knew I had to get it done this year.”
Steffen finished fifth as a freshman, then fourth at 126 and fifth at 132 the past two seasons after reaching the semifinals.(tncms-asset)29b10602-137a-11e8-8022-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)
Steffen trailed Abbas, 3-0, when he hit the throw on the edge in the final minute of the second period. He then out-fought the Cowboy senior over the final two minutes to not only earn his 150th career win, but a spot at center stage.
“In the state tournament you do anything to get yourself to the next round. It was there. I hit it and came out on top,” Steffen said of the winning points against Abbas.
BLOCKHUS BACK IN FINALS: New Hampton/Turkey Valley senior Michael Blockhus became the 58th four-time state finalist when he pinned Independence’s Matthew Doyle in 4 minutes, 43 seconds of the 138 semifinals.
“It’s an honor getting to be a four-time finalist,” Blockhus said. “Getting to be a three-time champ, I mean that is the mindset. But it is an honor to be considered alongside some of the greatest wrestlers in Iowa history.”
Blockhus made his first two finals appearances for Crestwood before transferring to New Hampton last winter. If he were to beat Jarett Miller of Ballard in the finals, he’d be the 83rd three-time state champion.
The Chickasaws will have four other wrestlers place — Fye at 145 and Noah Glaser at 170 can finish no worse than sixth, while Evan Rosonke at 182 and Aeron Day at 220 are wrestling for seventh place.
Fye’s podium finish is his fourth. He was third, fifth and sixth previously.
A rough quarterfinal round where NH/TV went 1-5 hurt as the Chickasaws stood in third place, 19 points behind leader Dubuque Wahlert, heading into the final day of competition.
“We didn’t wrestle hard,” Chickasaws head coach Nick Hemann said of the quarterfinals. “We didn’t have a chip on our shoulders.”
BAUMLER GOING FOR TWO: North Fayette-Valley’s Jordan Baumler will try to become the TigerHawks’ second two-time state champion following his 6-3 victory over Tyler Anderson of Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove in the 220 semifinals.
Jim Guyer Jr., who won at 155 in 1986 and then at 167 in 1987, was North Fayette’s first two-timer.
“It means everything,” Baumler said of reaching the finals again. “Every practice in November. Every morning, lift or run, is all for this. That is why I do it for these moments right here.”
Baumler will face Dubuque Wahlert’s Boone McDermott in the finals.
Other 2A medalists were: (placing will be determined Saturday morning)
- Kolten Crawford of Union at 106
- Taylor Kolthoff of South Hardin at 113
- Kaden Anderlik of Crestwood at 120
- Jack Thomsen of Union at 120
- Phillip Ihde of Decorah at 126
- Doyle of Independence at 138
- Dylan Koresh of Charles City at 152
- Colter Bye of Crestwood at 160
- Payton Pelke of Union at 160
- Zach Williams of Osage at 160
- Jack Sindlinger of Charles City at 170
- Hunter Maitland of Aplington-Parkersburg/Grundy Center at 182
- Dalton Chipp of Hampton-Dumont at 195
- Hunter Crawford of Independence at 220