City High Continues Breakthrough Season With District Title

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Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

MOUNT PLEASANT – It has been a breakthrough season for the City High wrestling team.

A pair of Little Hawks got individual breakthroughs on Saturday to help City High keep its magical postseason rolling.

Ethan Wood-Finley and Jacob Murry each won district titles to secure their first trips to the state tournament and help ninth-ranked City High roll to the Class 3A, District 4 team title Saturday in Mount Pleasant.

“It means a lot to be a state qualifier for the first time,” Wood-Finley said. “We’ve been working hard in practice and getting ready for this so it feels good.”

City High has shown its growth as a program through the season, winning conference titles and most recently a regional dual crown.

In it’s final showing before state competition on Saturday the Little Hawks continued to flash its improvement.

City High crowned four champions on Saturday and qualified eight wrestlers for the state meet, both program bests in the six years under head coach Cory Connell.

“I always have mixed emotions after tournaments like this, I feel great for the kids that made it but I feel bad for the other kids that didn’t make it,” Connell said. “I’m really happy for the eight that made it but I always wish we had more to add to it.”

Connell had more reasons to be happy than on Saturday than any of his first five seasons leading his alma mater.

After back-to-back seasons without a qualifier in 2014 and 2015 City High had four qualifiers in 2016 and upped that number to six with three district champions a year ago.

The Little Hawks improved on those numbers this season.

Second-ranked Jacob Dykes and No. 9 Joey Harney joined Wood-Finley and Murry as district champs as City High had all eight of its district finalists secure spots at state.

“This year has been a fun ride,” Dykes said. “We are very humble about everything we’ve done and we’ve gotten back down to earth and gotten right back to work every day.”

Dykes (41-1) pinned his way through the 195-pound bracket to return to state for the third straight season while Harney (34-5) won a 7-4 decision over Ottumwa’s Vincent Vass in the 138-pound championship to return to state for the second time.

Wood-Finley and Murry each earned their first trip to state after disappointing third-place district finishes last season.

“I just remember feeling the disappointment of coming up short, I definitely remember how that felt,” Wood-Finley said. “It felt really good to get some redemption from last year and finally make it this year.”

Wood-Finley (38-4) used a pair of first-period pins to earn his first trip to the state meet.

The seventh-ranked sophomore made short work of Mount Pleasant sophomore Corbin Broeker in the 106-pound title match, turning an early takedown into a pin in 1:57.

“Ethan he has been consistent all year,” Connell said. “He goes out there and he attacks.”

Murry (35-11) needed a little extra time to secure his first trip to state.

The junior rode West High’s Guy Snow for 30 seconds in the ultimate tie breaker to decide a 2-2 match in which every point came via escape.

“I had to keep him down and I think it was just mostly mental,” Murry said. “I had to keep moving and move with him that was important.”

Lance Bormann, Kyle Hefley, Wilfred Kadohou and Brandon Lalla all advanced to state via runner-up finish.

Fourth-ranked Kadohou lost to top-ranked Nelson Brands of West High in the 160-pound title match but needed just 1:13 to pin Mount Pleasant senior Garrett Boecker in the wrestle back.

City High will attempt to put the finishing touches on its season by improving on the 46 points it scored at the state meet last season.

“We have eight going, I thought we could have more but we could have had less,” Connell said. “We have to take care of business and makes sure we are peaking at the right time and ready when we step out there at Wells Fargo.”

Class 3A, District 4

At Mount Pleasant 

Team scores – 1. City High 232.5; 2. West High 196.5; 3. Fort Madison 164.5; 4. Mount Pleasant 131; 5. Ottumwa 106.5; 6. Burlington 94; 7. Pella 92; 8. Oskaloosa 85.

(State qualifiers; Area Finishers)

106 – 1. Ethan Wood-Finley (ICH) pinned Corbin Broeker (MP) 1:57

113 – 1. Ryan Hancock (PEL) dec. Hans von Rabenau (ICW) 5-1; 3. Garrett Bormann (ICH)

120 – 1. Duncan Delzell (BUR) major dec. Dayne Cordray (FM) 10-0; 4. Michael Santoro (ICH)

126 – 1. Ryan Steffensmeier (FM). 2. Keaton Speicher (ICW); 4. Reece Caven (ICH)

132 – 1. Graham Gambrall (ICW) dec. Lance Bormann (ICH) 5-1

138 – 1. Joey Harney (ICH) dec. Vincent Vass (OTT) 7-4; 5. Collin Leavy (ICW)

145 – 1. Aaron Steffensmeier (FM) dec. Nate Wallace (MP) 4-2; 4. Jack Anson (ICH)

152 – 1. Harlan Steffensmeier (FM) pinned Kyle Hefley (ICH) 2:53; 5. Jo Dixon (ICW)

160 – 1. Nelson Brands (ICW) tech. fall Wilfred Kadohou (ICH) 29-8

170 – 1. Ashton Stumpf (ICW) pinned Brandon Lalla (ICH) 2:00

182 – 1. Joey Mitchell (OTT) dec. Will Hoeft (ICW) 4-2 SV-1; 5. Joe Ring

195 – 1. Jacob Dykes (ICH). 2. Enutifia Gamia (ICW).

220 – 1. Francis Duggan (ICW). 2. Danen Settle (FM); 4. Jason Lemus (ICH)

285 – 1. Jacob Murry (ICH) dec. Guy Snow 3-2 UTB.