Breaking Down the Class 3A State Wrestling Meet

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Photo by Norv Coblentz

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

The Wrestlers

Area Qualifiers/Opening Round Opponents

106 – No. 7 Ethan Wood-Finley (38-4) Soph. City High vs. Isaiah James (12-17) Fr. West Des Moines Dowling

113 – Hans vonRabenau (24-13) Sr. West High vs. No. 2 Caleb Rathjen (17-1) Fr. Ankeny

126 – Keaton Speicher (26-29) Jr. West High vs. No. 7 Colby Schriever (29-9) Soph. Mason City

132 – No. 7 Lance Bormann (35-7) Sr. City High vs. No. 1 Zach Price (40-1) Sr. Johnston; No. 5 Graham Gambrall (44-16) Fr. West High vs. No. 4 Caleb Corbin (35-7) Fr. West Des Moines Dowling

138 – No. 9 Joey Harney (34-5) Sr. City High vs. Christian Simpson (27-14) Jr. Cedar Falls

152 – No. 7 Kyle Hefley (41-2) Jr. City High vs. No. 4 Lance Runyon (32-6) Jr. Southeast Polk

160 – No. 1 Nelson Brands (51-1) Sr. West High vs. Brett Mower (36-13) Jr. Glenwood; No. 4 Wilfred Kadohou (36-7) Sr. City High vs. Parker Klocke (42-8) Jr. Carroll

170 – Ashton Stumpf (36-23) Sr. West High vs. Kent Kragenbrink (31-9) Jr. Dubuque Hempstead; Brandon Lalla (31-18) Jr. City High vs. No. 6 Levon Bellemy (32-3) Jr. Davenport Central

182 – No. 8 Will Hoeft (44-15) Soph. West High vs. No. 10 Derek Horak (42-9) Sr. Cedar Rapids Prairie

195 – No. 2 Jacob Dykes (41-1) Sr. City High vs. Jaise Gulling (31-10) Jr. Newton; Enutifia Gamia (26-25) Sr. West High vs. No. 8 Reece Bowling (37-5) Sr. Indianola

220 – No. 1 Francis Duggan (11-2) Sr. West High vs. Isaiah Garman (9-2) Sr. Linn-Mar

285 – Jacob Murry (35-11) Jr. City High vs. Logan Finowski (19-20) Jr. Fort Dodge; Guy Snow (43-15) Sr. West High vs. Jorge Sandoval (38-5) Sr. Storm Lake

Returning State Champions

Current Weight/Wrestler/2017 Championship Weight

113 – Cullan Schriever, Soph., Mason City (106)

120 – Kyle Biscoglia, Sr., Waukee (113)*

126 – Brody Teske, Sr., Fort Dodge (120)*

160 – Nelson Brands, Sr., West High (152)*

182 – Joel Shapiro Sr., West Des Moines Valley (160)  

*-Denotes Multi-time champion

Undefeated Wrestlers

120 – Kyle Biscoglia (47-0) Sr., Waukee

170 – Ben Sarasin (36-0) Sr., Cedar Rapids Kennedy

182 – Joel Shapiro (36-0) Sr., West Des Moines Valley

Who to Watch

The prep career for Nelson Brands is likely down to just four more matches.

Wrestling fans will want to catch as much of the West High takedown machine as possible over the three days at the state tournament.

Fans planning to watch Brands attempt to win his third consecutive state title won’t want to look away for long, only six of Brands’ 52 matches this season have gone the distance.

Brands (51-1) has compiled a 105-2 record over the past two seasons and is unbeaten against in-state competition during that span.

An Iowa signee ranked 12th in the country at 160 pounds by Intermat, Brands already owns wins over seven of the other nine ranked wrestlers in his weight class.

Brands is 9-0 over ranked 160 pounders this season with wins over the second, third and fourth ranked wrestlers.

The only match of those nine to last all six minutes was a 9-3 decision over Dallas Center-Grimes senior Zane Mulder (39-1) who Brands would likely face in the quarterfinals.

Weight Class to Watch

There is no shortage of intriguing possible matchups throughout the 3A field but there may not be a better potential semifinal than at 132.

Nationally ranked rivals Drew Bennett (42-1) of Fort Dodge and Zach Price (40-1) of Johnston are two wins away from a winner-take-all rubber match in the state semifinals.

Price and Bennett split a pair of regular season matches with Bennett winning 7-2 in December and Price returning the favor with a 10-9 win in the finals of the CIML tournament last month.

Bennett is ranked No. 13 in the country and Price is 16th in the Intermat 132-pound rankings.

The top half of the bracket presents its own interesting matchups as two of the top freshman in Class 3A meet in an opening round battle of top-five wrestlers.

Fifth-ranked West High freshman Graham Gambrall (44-16) faces No. 4 Caleb Corbin (35-7) of West Des Moines Valley in the state debut for both.

Don’t Miss This

Fort Dodge Brody Teske will attempt to add his name to the list of four-time state champions.

The seventh-ranked 126-pounder in the country by Intermat and a Penn State recruit, Teske enters the state tournament with a career 167-1 record.

Teske has won titles the past three seasons at 106, 113 and 120 pounds and will try to join the list of 25 four-time champions in state history.

The lone loss for Teske came earlier this season against another national wrestler with one career loss vying for a fourth state title in Underwood senior Alex Thomsen.

The Teams

District Champions (State Qualifiers)

Southeast Polk (9); Dubuque Hempstead (9); North Scott (7); City High (8); Cedar Rapids Kennedy (5); Fort Dodge (13); Johnston (10); Waukee (8).

2017 Top 5 Team Finishers

1. Southeast Polk 158.5; 2. Fort Dodge 123.5; 3. West Des Moines Valley 112; 4. Western Dubuque 97; 5. Indianola 72.

Last 5 team Champs

2017 – Southeast Polk

2016 – Southeast Polk

2015 – Southeast Polk

2014 – Bettendorf

2013 – Southeast Polk

What to watch in the Team Race

After back-to-back runner-up finishes Fort Dodge enters as the favorite to end Southeast Polk’s three-year reign atop Class 3A.

The Dodgers have everything in place to win their first title since 1985.

Among the state-best 13 qualifiers for top-ranked Fort Dodge 10 are ranked and half of those ranked wrestlers are in the top three at their weight.

If Fort Dodge can unseat Southeast Polk as 3A champ it would become the first team outside of the Rams, Bettendorf and Waverly-Shell Rock to win a 3A title since West High won the second of its back-to-back titles in 2007.

Southeast Polk isn’t going to give up its top spot without a fight.

All nine of the qualifiers for the fourth-ranked Rams are ranked, five in the top five.

No. 2 West Des Moines Valley and third-ranked Waukee will make a run at the top spot as well.

Valley has three top-ranked wrestlers among its seven qualifiers and Waukee has six wrestlers ranked in the top four.

Seventh-ranked West High (9 qualifiers) and ninth-ranked City High (8 qualifiers) are positioned for top-10 finishes and both should improve on their finishes from a season ago.