DES MOINES — The state wrestling tournament is loaded with warriors.
During Friday’s Class 1A semifinals, a pair of them from Wapsie Valley battled their way into the state finals.
Defending champion Donny Schmit (126 pounds) and Warriors 138-pounder Kaleb Krall (138) reached Saturday’s finals, marking the first time in school history multiple wrestlers will compete for titles on the same night.
“I am really excited, and it is such a huge relief to make it to the state finals,” Krall said. “It is really big for me. I came down here last year and went 1-2. It was not my best performance. It feels good to bounce back and be in the finals.”
Krall, who is ranked No. 2 by The Predicament, pulled off a 3-0 decision over Jacob Hansen of West Fork in the semifinals. He’ll face Kory Van Oort of West Sioux, who defeated top-ranked Austin Leopard of Louisa-Muscatine.
While No. 2-ranked Kody Berg of Westwood had a height advantage of three inches, Wapsie Valley’s Schmit still managed to pin him in 4:47 during their semifinal bout.
“I knew I had to do better and I knew what I had to do because of his height,” Schmit said. “I waited for the quick hit and got him in the cradle, then used my leverage for the pin. I had to keep my feet moving at all times and I was a little nervous going after him.”
Dike-New Hartford’s Trent Johnson advanced to face a familiar foe in the championship match, as Dylan Schuck of Sibley-Ocheyedan pinned his opponent in 3:33 to set up a rematch.
Johnson defeated Braydon Nunemaker of East Buchanan 9-3, and immediately turned his focus to Schuck.
“I wrestled him (Schuck) here last year and beat him, and I also beat him my freshman year,” Johnson said. “But anything can happen so I need to be at my very best to win. I need to pick up the pace a little bit, but for now this is awesome. I have worked too hard all year not to go out and make my goal — win state.”
Winning state has also been a dream for Taylan Entriken of Hudson, and he put himself in position to realize that dream Friday. Entriken worked his way through a tough 170 bracket and sealed the deal with a 2:40 pin of Trent Kruger from Sibley-Ocheyedan.
“I wanted to come out fast at him and hit my outside fireman’s carry,” said Entriken. “He countered with the whizzer, but I was able to counter back and get him down.
“This has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid and now that I am here I do not feel much pressure. My parents, Susan and Colby, keep telling me to just not be nervous and stay calm.”
Chance Throndson will wrestle for the first state championship for Riceville since 1997. The No. 1-ranked 132-pounder uses an unusual attack.
The 6-foot-2 junior approaches his opponents while on his knees, making a quick shot for the takedown, and it worked to perfection in a 6-0 victory over Cooper Siebrecht of Lisbon.
“It is a style I learned a long time ago and I just am used to using that,” said Throndson. “This is such a big deal for me, I have never experienced a day like this ever.”
Waterloo Columbus’ Kaleb Boleyn earned a chance to finish as high as third, while Don Bosco will have five placewinners in Daniel Kimball (106), Easton Larson (113), Gable Fox (120), Logan Lutgen (126) and Walker Even (195).