Jeff Yoder Photo / iagameday.smugmug.com
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – Solon head coach Blake Williams promised Friday night Tyler Linderbaum would rebound quickly from a semifinal loss.
Linderbaum demonstrated on Saturday morning exactly why his coach was so confident in his ability to bounce back.
The senior heavyweight capped his career with back-to-back consolation wins over ranked opponents to finish third at the Class 2A state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.
“To finish my career with a win that is always nice,” Linderbaum said. “It stinks that I didn’t finish where I wanted to finish but third place in the state of Iowa at heavyweight that is pretty good. Especially with the level of competition this year.”
The third-place finish was the highest finish for Linderbaum and his second straight top-five performance at state.
Linderbaum headlined a list of three Solon medalists on Saturday as sophomore Zeb Gnida (44-11) placed fourth at 120 pounds and junior Zack Bevans (34-14) was sixth at 152.
A loss by fall to fifth-ranked Spencer Trenary of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows in Friday night’s semifinals dashed the state title dreams for Linderbaum.
The third loss of the season didn’t keep Linderbaum down for long.
He earned a 4-0 win over sixth-ranked Brendon Lunsford of Fairfield in the consolation semifinal.
Linderbaum defeated Dubuque Wahlert senior Blake Bradley 7-2 in a tiebreaker in the third- place match to end his career.
“It sucked losing yesterday but I knew I had to come out strong today and get the best finish possible which was third and I did that,” Linderbaum said. “It was important to close it with a win.”
Linderbaum finished his season 39-3 with all three losses coming this week in Des Moines to top-five wrestlers. He lost twice in the state dual tournament on Wednesday.
“It was a tough tournament this year there were a lot of good quality wrestlers out there,” Linderbaum said. “There were a lot of close matches between different guys.”
Gnida earned the first medal of his career with his fourth-place finish at 120.
Following a quarterfinal loss to Sergeant Bluff-Luton freshman Jack Gaukel, Gnida rattled off consecutive consolation wins to reach the third-place match.
“For the first time at state the nerves got to me a little bit,” Zeb said. “I know I came out on top but the first match they were there a lot so to finish fourth I’m pretty satisfied with where I ended up.”
Gnida evened the season series with Center Point-Urbana junior Caleb Fuessley at 2-2 with a 5-4 win in the consolation semifinals.
Fuessley (42-7) won the first two meetings by scores of 2-1 and 7-2 but Gnida won a pair of postseason matches with a 6-4 district win and a 5-4 decision on Saturday.
“Fuessley and I go way back, we’ve gone to the same DC Elite since second grade and we’ve been at each other’s weight since then so this is a long time coming,” Gnida said. “I feel like I really hunkered down when I needed to and got the wins where they were most important so I’m pretty satisfied with that.”
Gnida joins Bevans and returning qualifiers Mike Hoyle and Andy Brokaw to give Solon a strong nucleus returning for next season.
“I’m just trying to make a bigger name for myself next year,” Gnida said. “Hopefully I will take a few more steps up on that podium.”
120 – No. 7 Zeb Gnida (Solon) dec. No. 5 Caleb Fuessley (Center Point-Urbana) 5-4
152 – No. 3 Joe Kelly (West Liberty) pinned No. 10 Zack Bevans (Solon) 1:15
285 – No. 3 Tyler Linderbaum (Solon) dec. No. 6 Brendon Lunsford (Fairfield) 4-0
120 – No. 4 Jack Thomsen (Union) major dec. No. 7 Zeb Gnida (Solon) 13-5
285 – No. 3 Tyler Linderbaum (Solon) dec. No. 7 Blake Bradley (Dubuque Wahlert) 7-3 TB-1
152 – No. 5 Mitchel Mangold (West Delaware) pinned No. 10 Zack Bevans (Solon) 1:31