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SOLON – Mike Hoyle can’t wait.
The Solon junior roared into the postseason red-hot after back-to-back pins over ranked wrestlers to secure a WAMAC title and won a sectional title last week.
Hoyle can secure a second consecutive trip to the state meet at the Class 2A, District 2 meet on Saturday.
That’s not what has Hoyle so excited.
Make no mistake, Hoyle is plenty pumped for districts and a shot at a return trip to state but first comes a little unfinished business.
Eighth-ranked Solon will attempt to secure a second-consecutive state dual meet appearance when it travels to West Liberty on Tuesday for a 2A Regional dual meet.
Solon (17-5) faces Independence in the regional semifinals at 6 p.m.
“Getting back to state duals has been talk for us all year long,” Hoyle said. “Going from state dual finalist last year to not even being expected to make regional duals, we are looking forward to it.”
Solon finished runner-up at the 2A state duals last season, falling to New Hampton 45-23 in the title match.
Few expected a return trip for the Spartans this season.
Solon lost seven seniors from its dual lineup last season, five of which were individual state qualifiers.
The Spartans have had a number of wrestlers step up this season, starting with Hoyle.
Ranked fifth in 2A at 182 pounds, Hoyle is (37-7) and brings an eight-match winning streak into Tuesday night.
“Coming off a state championship season I knew I had to take a bigger role on this team and I had to step up,” Hoyle said. “I’m trying to keep doing that.”
Hoyle showed at the WAMAC tournament the type of wrestler he can be avenging a pair of regular season losses with second-period pins.
He pinned then sixth-ranked Dalton Rosenberg of South Tama in the semifinals and claimed his first conference crown with a pin of then No. 4 Devin Ludwig of Western Dubuque.
“He can be as good as he wants to be,” Solon coach Blake Williams said of Hoyle. “If he puts his mind to it he can beat anybody but he has to be a little more consistent each and every time out there. If he does that he is going to be pretty tough to beat.”
Hoyle has had plenty of help this season as Solon as avoided the huge letdown many outside the program expected.
The Spartans have five ranked wrestlers entering Tuesday’s Regional dual semifinals.
For the Spartans a return to the state dual tournament would go a long way in showing the program’s staying power after the graduation of a strong senior class.
“They want it, they really do,” Williams said. “They know it’s not going to be easy, we have our work cut out for us but it’s a goal they’ve had from the start to get to back there.”
Awaiting the Spartans in the finals is a likely meeting with seventh-ranked West Liberty (25-3).
The Comets boast a talented lineup with four ranked wrestlers highlighted by the top-ranked Esmoil brothers.
Sophomore Will Esmoil (44-2) is ranked No. 1 at 132 while senior Bryce Esmoil (45-0) is the defending 2A state champ and top-ranked at 195 pounds.
“It will be a challenge,” Williams said. “We are going to have our hands full with whoever we have but I know our guys are excited for the opportunity.”
Solon isn’t the only team with an eye on a state dual team berth.
City High hosts a Class 3A regional dual on Wednesday and has its sights set on its first state dual meet appearance since 2006.
Sixth-ranked City High (23-3) will face the winner of No. 14 Western Dubuque and No. 20 Linn-Mar for a trip to state.
No. 19 West High (9-13) travels to Waukee for a 3A regional on Wednesday and will face No. 13 Norwalk in the semifinals.
With a win West High would take on third-ranked Waukee in the title match.
No. 7 West Liberty vs. Columbus, 6 p.m.
#8 Solon vs. #25 Independence, 6 p.m.
Semifinal Winners, 7:30 p.m.
No. 14 Western Dubuque vs. No. 20 Linn-Mar, 6 p.m.
Semifinal winner vs. No. 6 City High, 7:30 p.m.
No. 13 Norwalk vs. No. 19 West High, 6 p.m.
Semifinal winner vs. No. 3 Waukee, 7:30 p.m.