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Hayden Taylor enjoys a good test.
Taylor has already tested himself against a pair of top-ranked wrestlers this season dropping regular matches to the top-ranked Lisbon duo of Robert Avila Jr. and Cael Happel.
The Solon freshman standout will get another shot at a number one on in his first trip to the state semifinals on Friday night.
No. 3 Taylor (49-2) set up a semifinal showdown with top-ranked Andrew Flora (37-0) of ADM with an emphatic 8-2 quarterfinal win over seventh-ranked Camanche freshman Eric Kinkaid on Friday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
“I really love tough matches just to see where I am,” Taylor said. “If I come out in the those matches great but if not I know where I need to go and what I need to get better at.”
Taylor has impressed in his first trip to the state meet earning a second-period pin and an 8-2 decision over Kinkaid to reach the semifinals.
“It went the way I thought it would,” Taylor said. “He shot and my counter was there off that and that’s how I took him down a couple of times.”
Taylor will get one of his toughest tests yet against Flora who won the 2A title at 113 pounds a year ago and is 83-1 over the past two seasons.
He brings a 16-match winning streak that features nine pins into Friday night’s semifinal showdown.
“He wrestled smart, he wrestled tough and aggressive,” Solon coach Blake Williams said. “Hayden got after it and really got busy and controlled that entire match.”
Senior 220-pounder Mike Hoyle joined Taylor in the semifinals by continue his state meet dominance with a 7-2 decision over sixth-ranked Seth Adrian of Davenport Assumption.
Hoyle (45-1) pushed his win streak to 16 with the win over Adrian (49-3) and assured himself of his first medal in his third trip to the state meet.
“I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t watch a whole lot of film on him but I went out there and was aggressive hand fighting,” Hoyle said. “All I knew was that he was good at head locks so I stayed in good position the whole time and didn’t give him an opportunity to hit that.”
Hoyle will get his own shot at a top-ranked wrestler when he faces No. 1 Cody Fisher (42-1) of Woodward-Granger in the 220-pound semifinals.
Fisher was runner-up at 195 last season and is 96 of 100 matches over the past two seasons.
“Cody is a very, very good opponent,” Hoyle said. “I’m going to mentally prepare for him but I’m not going to change anything up.”
The wins for Taylor and Hoyle bookended three close losses for Solon which went 2-3 in the quarterfinals.
Sixth-ranked Zeb Gnida (38-10) fell to No. 4 Kruise Kiburz of Winterset 5-4 at 132 and fourth-ranked Zack Bevans (45-6) dropped a 3-1 decision to second-ranked Easton Graff of Sergeant Bluff-Luton at 152 pounds.
Third-ranked Colter Bye of Crestwood edged ninth-ranked Jax Flynn (44-6) 3-0 in a 170-pound quarterfinal.
Solon stayed in the thick of the 2A team race trailing West Delaware by one point for the lead after the quarterfinals and before the second round consolation matches on Friday afternoon. The top nine teams in the 2A race are separated by four points.
“I’m proud of (Hayden and Mike) but lost three really tough decisions and those three guys need to bounce back tonight,” Williams said. “If we do that tonight we will be alright.”
126 – No. 3 Hayden Taylor (Solon) dec. No. 7 Eric Kinkaid (Camanche) 8-2
132 – No. 4 Kruise Kiburz (Winterset) dec. No. 6 Zeb Gnida 5-4
152 – No. 2 Easton Graff (Sergeant Bluff-Luton) dec. No. 4 Zack Bevans (Solon) 3-1
170 – No. 3 Colter Bye (Crestwood) dec. No. 9 Jax Flynn (Solon) 3-0
220 – No. 3 Mike Hoyle (Solon) dec. No. 6 Seth Adrian (Davenport Assumption) 7-2
132 – No. 6 Zeb Gnida (Solon) Cody Calvelage (Louisa-Muscatine)
152 – No. 4 Zack Bevans (Solon) No. 6 Mitchel Mangold (West Delaware)
160 – No. 5 Baylor Crigger (Camanche) Andy Brokaw (Solon)
170 – No. 9 Jax Flynn (Solon) vs. Sam Miller (Van Meter-Earlham)
126 – No. 3 Hayden Taylor (49-2) Fr., Solon vs. No. 1 Andrew Flora (37-0) Sr., ADM
220 – No. 3 Mike Hoyle (45-1) Sr., Solon vs. No. 1 Cody Fisher (42-1) Jr. Woodward-Granger
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