DES MOINES - With each passing round, the decibel level increases at Iowa's traditional state wrestling tournament. And, as if on cue, Don Bosco and its fans cranked the dial up to 11 Thursday.
As the afternoon wore on, the Dons' opponents were left covering their ears - and their eyes, as they glanced at the team tallies. Don Bosco racked up 97 points during the tournament's first two days, 50 1/2 better than second-place New London/Winfield-Mt. Union.
Ten Dons worked their way into the semifinals - a statistic that seemed to blow the mind of everyone in attendance at the 1A quarterfinals. And, all 12 of the Dons'state qualifiers remained alive entering today's action.
"They got on a roll, the crowd got into it, and the kids started feeding off that," said Don Bosco coach Tom Kettman, "and we had a heck of a day.
"They're all placewinners now, and hopefully they can keep that going."
As a result of Don Bosco's dominance to date, the all-class tournament record for team points appears well within reach. Council Bluffs Lewis Central established the current record en route to a 2001 state title, recording 188 points.
Despite their flawless group performance, most of the Dons sounded a bit underwhelmed. After all, winning is usually a given for the boys from Gilbertville, winners of back-to-back traditional titles entering this season.
"We came here with 12 people, and we wanted to place 12 people," shrugged 285-pounder Cory Becker, now 36-8 after a mild quarterfinal upset of West Lyon's seventh-ranked Chad McKenzie.
Becker's win was but one of several instances in which the Dons bullied foes in impressive fashion. Brandon Welter, Cole Welter and Ryan Schares all produced pins. Ben McMahon, Vance Ortner and Taylor Kettman all notched major decisions.
But Cody Delagardelle got the Dons truly rolling, courtesy of a white-knuckle, 3-2 triumph over top-ranked Jordan Westfall of Highland Riverside.
Now, the Dons have history in their crosshairs, with Lewis Central's record point total looking quite attainable.
"We're not looking at points or anything," Kettman insisted. "If (the record) happens, great, but right now we're just trying to get each kid to keep wrestling the way they have been - up to their ability."
Nashua-Plainfield remained in third place with 38 points, despite an up-and-down day. Still, four Huskies remain alive, with Cody Johnston (130) and Zach Rosol (215) remaining on the front side.
"We knew," said Huskies coach Al Frost, "that it gets tougher with every step you take."
Johnston opened eyes in the quarterfinals, as he won a 10-2 major decision over North Linn's second-ranked Chris LeClere. Johnston posted a pair of second-period near falls en route to the slight upset.
"On paper, he should've beaten me," noted the fifth-ranked Johnston (45-4). "But I knew inside myself that I could get him. A lot of it's mental down here, and rankings don't matter."
East Buchanan's Dan Wieland looked quite worthy of his No. 1 ranking as he soundly worked over his foe for a major decision. The Bucs' four-time state qualifier said staying on his feet was the key.
"I feel stronger on my feet, and a little quicker," said the senior, who improved to 42-0. "If I get ahead in the first period I like to use it, and get my momentum going."
South Winneshiek's Jason Winkler (125) and AGWSR's Andrew Roberts (189) remain in title contention in the winners' bracket after winning decisively Thursday.
Thursday's consolation winners from Northeast Iowa were Justin Hoffman of East Buchanan, Jacob Schwebke (AGWSR), Isaac Frieden (Valley of Elgin), John Simon (Aplington-Parkersburg), Kyle Kayser (Jesup) and Mitchell Schultz (Postville).
Contact Kelly Beaton at (319) 291-1456 or firstname.lastname@example.org