Hefley Uses Previous Postseason Lessons to Return to State Meet

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

CEDAR RAPIDS – Kyle Hefley didn’t pick up any hardware in his first trip to the state meet but that doesn’t mean he left Wells Fargo Arena empty handed.

The state meet haul for Hefley last season came in the form of a few valuable lessons rather than a medal.

Lesson one?

“Don’t look at the lights,” Hefley said quickly. “Don’t let the lights affect you.”

Thanks to some tough lessons learned and a dominating district effort Hefley is headed back to the Class 3A state meet for a second year in a row.

This time, thanks to a few years of experience, he isn’t making any match more than what it is.

“That is my mindset when I come in to tournaments, any tournament actually, this is just another one right now, I don’t treat anything bigger than what it is,” Hefley said. “I say just win the next match. It’s just like wrestling at a small town tournament and I just keep treating it like that.”

That approach worked well for Hefley on Saturday at the 3A, District 7 Meet at Cedar Rapids Prairie.

Hefley (35-6) didn’t let a match go the distance on Saturday claiming his first district title with a 15-0 tech fall over Cedar Rapids Prairie senior Justis Kruse in the 152-pound championship.

“Honestly I just wanted to do what I know how to do, my shots, my takedowns, my turns so on and so forth,” Hefley explained. “That’s something I’ve focused in all year. I drilled that into my head all summer, in the grand scheme of things it’s just another match.”

Hefley finished 41-4 last season but lost his final three matches.

He lost to the state champion in the district title match and dropped two state meet matches to eventual medalists.

As tough as an end to the season as it was the experience left a lasting impression on Hefley that he is using to his advantage this postseason.

“What I learned is don’t look at the lights,” Hefley said. “Don’t let the atmosphere get to you, you have to treat it like any other match because that is what really did me in last year. I let the lights get to me.”

Nothing got the Hefley on Saturday.

He pinned Liberty High junior Kaleb Williams in 1:53 in the semifinals and dominated Kruse from the outset in the title match.

“I was just winning the hand fighting on my feet and getting to my positions and then being a tough rider on top,” Hefley said. “That’s what I think was the key today.”

Hefley joined 106-pound junior Ethan Wood-Finley and 285-pound senior Jacob Murry as City High district champs on Saturday as the Little Hawks qualified four wrestlers for the state meet.

Wood-Finley took a que from Hefley and was impressive en route to the 106-pound championship winning both matches via first-period fall.

Class 3A No. 3 Wood-Finley (32-3) needed 49 seconds to pin Owen Kruse of Fort Madison in the semifinals and just 57 seconds to pin West High freshman Grant O’Dell in the title match.

“In these tournaments you just have to stay confident, it’s the biggest tournament but don’t make it special,” Wood-Finley said. “Kyle always says treat it like it’s just another match. That’s what we’ve tried to do this year, all year.”

Murry (29-4) earned a 4-2 decision over Danen Settles of Fort Madison in the 285-pound title match to earn a return trip to the state meet.

City High got runner-up finishes from Joe Ring at 170 pounds and had nine wrestlers place third or fourth while claiming the district team title with 210 points.

Cedar Rapids Prairie was second with 189 and West High was third with 186.

Class 3A, District 7

At Cedar Rapids Prairie

Team scores – 1. City High 210; 2. Cedar Rapids Prairie 189; 3. West High 186; 4. Fort Madison 147; 5. Burlington 102; 6. Mount Pleasant 101; 7. Liberty High 85; 8. Clear Creek Amana 82;

(State qualifiers; Area Placewinners)

106 – 1. Ethan Wood-Finley (ICH) pinned Grant O’Dell (ICW) :57; 5. Jayden Massey (CCA)

113 – 1. Austin Kegley (CRP) pinned Elton Kruse (FM) 1:09; 3. Parker McBride (ICW); 4. Reece Hayden (ICH); 6. Mason Padgett (ICL)

120 – 1. Hunter Garvin (ICW) pinned Kael Scranton (CCA) 2:34; 4. Garrett Bormann (ICH)

126 – 1. Keaton Speicher (ICW) dec. Samual Stevens (CCA) 8-4; 4. Michael Santoro (ICH)

132 – 1. Conrad Braswell (CRP) dec. Duncan Delzell (BUR) 8-2; 4. Gable Mitchell (ICH); 6. Mike Luyeye 3:42

138 – 1. Graham Gambrall (ICW) major dec. Johnny Washburn (CRP) 12-4; 3. Ryan Ceynar (ICH); 4. Jarrod Alger (ICL); 6. Randal Mosier (CCA)

145 – 1. Andrew Rohret (CCA) major dec. Nathan Wallace (MP) 12-1; 3. Reece Caven (ICH); 4. Collin Leavy (ICW); 5. Darius Willis-Newell (ICL)

152 – 1. Kyle Hefley (ICH) tech. fall Justis Kruse (CRP) 15-0; 3. Kaleb Williams (ICL); 5. Mason Applegate (ICW)

160 – 1. Preston Terry (BUR) dec. Brandon Lalla (ICH) 3-2 TB-1; 2. Colton LaGrange (CRP); 3. Brandon Lalla (ICH); 5. Drew Snyder (ICL); 6. Joe Dixon (ICW)

170 – 1. Ashton Barker (ICL) pinned Joe Ring (ICH) 3:02

182 – 1. Will Hoeft (ICW) dec. Logan Andeway (CRP) 7-4; 4. Gavin Luze (ICL); 5. Drake Patterson (ICH); 6. Spencer Beltz (CCA)

195 – 1. Ashton Stoner-DeGroot (CRP) med. forfeit Sam Hayes (FM); 4. Jason Lemus (ICH); 5. Brett Pelfrey (ICW); 6. Quentist Alexander (ICL)

220 – 1. Landon Green (ICW) dec. Zach Beason (MP) 10-9; 3. Davryn Stewart (ICH)

285 – 1. Jacob Murry (ICH) dec. Danen Settles (FM) 4-2 TB-1; 5. Jordan Hughes (ICW); 6. Tommy Morlan (CCA)