Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – The team element that comes with postseason duals has made qualifying for the state dual tournament a popular focus among members of the Solon wrestling program the past several seasons.
It was a total team effort on Wednesday that sent Solon back to the state dual meet for the third straight season in dominating fashion.
Second-ranked Solon had 16 different wrestlers earn victories while cruising to a pair of wins in a Class 2A regional dual at Solon.
The Spartans dispatched of Gilbert 58-12 in the semifinals before hammering Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont 66-12 in the title match.
“We have a family atmosphere and this means a lot to us,” Solon senior Mike Hoyle said. “We have 12 of the 14 guys going to districts but for those two guys that didn’t go it means a lot to them to continue our season. That’s why we enjoy this so much, it takes the whole team.”
Solon used nearly its entire team to secure its spot at the 2A state dual meet next Wednesday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Everyone in a Spartan singlet seemed to get into the action as Solon won 24 of 28 total matches with half of those victories coming via fall.
“The kids rise to the occasion,” Solon coach Blake Williams said. “We never stress the important of one meet over another meet but they know what’s on the line, they are smart kids but we just said battle for six minutes and be the aggressor and I think tonight we were the aggressors and good things happen when you are aggressive.”
Last season the Spartans needed a win in the final match of the dual to edge West Liberty in the regional final.
There was no such drama on Wednesday.
Solon opened its semifinal with seven consecutive wins, building a 36-0 lead on its way to a 58-12 win over Gilbert.
The championship followed a similar path.
Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont got a first-period pin from seventh-ranked Tyler Landgrebe at 113 pounds to open the dual but Solon responded by winning the next 12 matches with the final eight wins coming via pin or tech fall.
“Going in we knew they were a good team and once we got on a roll and got a little momentum it made a big difference,” Williams said. “You just hope your kids step on the line ready to battle and they did.”
Freshman Jakobe Lahr started the string of Solon wins in the championship by pinning Dayton Menuis in 41 seconds to even the score at 6-6.
Fellow freshman Hayden Taylor and senior Zeb Gnida followed with back-to-back major decisions to put Solon up 14-6.
“We got some good wins early and that set the tempo for the whole lineup,” Solon senior Zack Bevans said. “Those early wins got us going.”
That was just the start for Solon.
The Spartans rattled off seven consecutive pins, starting with a second-period fall for senior Aidan Dall over Hunter McFadden at 138 pounds.
Colton Spillman, Bevans, Andy Brokaw, Jax Flynn, Seamus Poynton and Adam Bock all followed suit with pin fall wins as Solon built a 55-6 lead.
“We knew they were going to put up a fight and I think we all just wrestled really well the whole way through,” Bevans said. “When we wrestle like that we are very tough.”
Hoyle added a tech fall at 220 and Michael Broghammer tacked on a pin at 285 to put an exclamation point on an impressive night.
Solon will look to improve on its sixth-place finish from a year ago at the 2A state dual meet.
The Spartans will open competition at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
“Most of the guys that are upperclassmen know what a fun experience state duals are and what an honor that is,” Williams said. “It’s something always from the start of the year that they want so to be able to do that its another great accomplishment for these guys and I know they are very excited for next Wednesday.”
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