Breaking Down the Class 2A State Wrestling Meet

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Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

The Wrestlers

Area Qualifiers/Opening Round Opponents

145 – No. 1 Hayden Taylor (48-0) Soph., Solon vs. Jerret Delagardelle (30-8) Jr. Jesup

152 – No. 3 Zeb Gnida (44-6) Sr., Solon vs. Johnny Perez (40-11) Sr., West Lyon

160 – Caleb Ebert (21-14) Jr., Solon vs. No. 7 Kalen Meyer (40-2) Jr., Central Lyon

170 – No. 8 Jax Flynn (45-7) Sr., Solon vs. Kale Rodgers (32-10) Jr., North Fayette Valley

182 – No. 9 Seamus Poynton (29-9) Sr., Solon vs. Cody Hall (39-7) Sr., Bondurant-Farrar

195 – Gage Marty (38-9) Soph., Solon vs. No. 3 Dylan Winkel (40-0) Jr., Central Lyon

Returning State Champions

Current Weight/Wrestler/2019 Championship Weight

113 – Carter Fousek, Crestwood, Soph., (106)

126 – Matthew Lewis, Centerville, Jr., (113)*

145 – Hayden Taylor, Solon, Soph., (126)

145 – Jack Thomsen, Union, Sr., (138)

220 – Cody Fisher, Woodward-Granger, Sr., (220)

Undefeated Wrestlers

106 – Camron Phetxoumphone (38-0) Soph., Webster City

106 – Lane Scorpil (33-0) Soph., Columbus

120 – Dominik Ridout (34-0) Soph., East Marshall

132 – Bryce Hatten (16-0) Sr., Winterset

138 – Jalen Schropp (50-0) Sr., Williamsburg

145 – Hayden Taylor (48-0) Soph., Solon

152 – Will Esmoil (38-0) Sr., West Liberty

152 – Wyatt Appleseth (38-0) Jr., Panorama

170 – Caleb Swalla (36-0) Sr., Van Meter

182 – Sage Walker (44-0) Sr., Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont

195 – Dylan Winkel (40-0) Jr., Central Lyon  

220 – Cody Fisher (48-0) Sr., Woodward-Granger

220 – Kobe Simon (34-0) Jr., West Liberty

220 – Crew Howard (35-0) Jr., Clarinda

First Round Match to Watch

Solon senior Seamus Poynton (29-9) will make his state meet debut on Thursday against Bondurant-Farrar senior Cody Hall (39-7).

The opening round match has been a long time coming for Poynton who is wrestling the best of his career over the past several weeks.

Poynton posted a pair of first-period pins of fourth-ranked Dylan Jeffers of Keokuk on his way to the first state tournament berth of his career, downing Jeffers in both the sectional and district meets.

Ninth-ranked Poynton has won seven straight matches and10 of his last 11 with the lone loss during that stretch a 1-0 decision to third-ranked Jack Neuhaus of West Delaware.

An opening round win would be a big boost for Poynton and would likely set up a quarterfinal match with second-ranked Jackson Kinsella of Creston (50-1).

Who To Watch

Hayden Taylor burst onto the state-wide scene last February in his state meet debut when he steamrolled through the 126-pound field on his way to a Class 2A title.

Taylor returns to Wells Fargo Arena this weekend seeking an encore performance on the state’s biggest stage.

The top-ranked Solon sophomore has posted a sparkling 48-0 record this season and brings a 68-match winning streak into state meet competition.

Taylor earned the top seed in the 145-pound bracket but doesn’t have an easy path to a second straight state title match.

For the second time in as many seasons Taylor could face a defending state champion in the semifinals.

Last year it was ADM senior Andrew Flora who Taylor took down via a 15-0 tech fall.

On Friday Taylor could face one of the most anticipated semifinals of the entire tournament against defending 138-pound champion Jack Thomsen of Union.

Thomsen (42-2) is already a three-time state medalist with a 173-10 career record after a 47-0 campaign last season.

Weight Class to Watch

It is tough to top a bracket with a pair of defending state champions like the 145-pound field in Class 2A but the action at 152 pounds could be just as entertaining.

Solon senior Zeb Gnida (44-6) is seeking a third straight state medal but will need to navigate a strong field that features a pair of defending state runners-up and a couple of unbeaten wrestlers.

Top-ranked Will Esmoil (38-0) joins Panorama junior Wyatt Appleseth (38-0) as the only undefeated wrestlers in the field and is the favorite following a pin of third-ranked Gnida in the district title match.

Esmoil was runner-up at 145 pounds a year ago while second-ranked Jack Gaukel (50-1) was runner-up at 132 last season.

Gnida is seeking a strong finish to his career after losing three one-point matches at the state meet a year ago on his way to a sixth-place finish.

A challenging schedule has tested Gnida against the best in the state with all five of his in-state losses coming to wrestlers ranked first or second in their respective classes.

With an opening round win Gnida could face a state meet rematch with eighth-ranked Stone Schmitz of Union in the quarterfinals. Gnida defeated Schmitz 8-4 in the opening round last season.

Gaukel won a 10-3 decision over Gnida in the finals of the Herb Irgens Invitational last month and would likely be waiting in the semifinals.

The Teams

District Champions (State Qualifiers)

West Delaware (12); Sergeant Bluff-Luton (8); Davenport Assumption (8); Osage (6); Bondurant-Farrar (6); Crestwood (5); Union (5); Red Oak (4)

2019 Top 5 Team Finishers – 1. West Delaware 76.5; 2. Spirit Lake-Park 63.5; 3. Clear Lake 62.5; 4. Union 60.5; 5. Solon 58.5

Last 5 Team Champs

2019 – West Delaware

2018 – Dubuque Wahlert 

2017 – Solon

2016 – Creston/Orient-Macksburg 

2015 – Mediapolis

2014 – Davenport Assumption

What to Watch in the Team Race

There hasn’t been a back-to-back champion in Class 2A since Ballard won the second of its two straight titles in 2009.

West Delaware is a heavy favorite to change that this weekend.

Top-ranked West Delaware has a Class 2A-best 12 state qualifiers eight of which are ranked and the Hawks have six wrestlers ranked in the top five.

The battle in Class 2A should be for the final two team trophies with second-ranked Union and third-ranked Sergeant Bluff-Luton the front runners to grab some hardware.

With six qualifiers that includes six ranked wrestlers Solon should challenge for a third top-five team finish in the past our seasons.

Top-ranked sophomore Hayden Taylor and third 152-pound senior Zeb Gnida (44-6) are returning medalists for the Spartans.

Seniors Jax Flynn (45-7) and Seamus Poynton (29-9) both enter ranked in the top-10. Flynn is one of three returning state medalists for the Spartans placing seventh a year ago. 

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