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Beck leads Baxter wrestling quartet at state tournament

Feb. 19—DES MOINES — The Baxter boys wrestling team reset its expectation bar this winter.

The Bolts qualified four wrestlers for the state wrestling tournament for the first time in school history and the milestones continued at the Iowa High School State Wrestling Championships inside Wells Fargo Arena.

Junior Ayden Beck became the program's first state medalist and senior Aiden McFadden also won multiple matches for the second time in his career.

Senior Callyn Bishop claimed his first state tournament victory, too.

"It's great to have four qualifiers and our first state medalist," Baxter head boys wrestling coach Dwight Gliem said. "We've already set the standard for our program really high."

Dwight Gliem Jeremy Smith

Beck's run to his first state medal featured a 4-2 weekend at 120 pounds in Class 1A.

He won his first three matches to become Baxter's first-ever semifinalist and then posted his fourth win to claim the fifth-place medal. Two of his four wins came against sixth-ranked Dawson Jacobsen of Central Springs.

McFadden (42-9) was 2-2 on the weekend at 285. One of those wins came against 1A No. 7 Isaac Cox of Cardinal, who McFadden eliminated for the second straight season.

Bishop (40-7) was 1-2 at 170 and sophomore Ruger Kincaid finished 0-2 at 150.

All four Baxter wrestlers were state qualifiers last season. Bishop and McFadden were competing in the state tournament for a third time.

"It's amazing to have a group of kids who worked hard all year and see success," Gliem said. "The most amazing feeling as a small town is to get that first semifinalist."

Beck, who ended the season ranked eighth at 120, opened the tournament with a 14-2 win over Jesup's Gavin Bell. He led Bell (32-20) 4-1 after the first period and pushed the advantage to 11-2 after two. The second period featured two takedowns and three near fall points.

The Baxter junior downed ninth-ranked Austin Etzel of Wilton, 11-4, in his second match. He led Eztel (39-11) 5-0 after one, 7-0 after two and went up by as many as 11-1 in the match.

Beck's first win over Jacobsen (51-9) came in the quarterfinals. He used an early takedown to lead 2-0 and got an escape point in the third to win 3-1. It was Beck's 100th career victory.

"I wanted to get ahead early so I wouldn't have to work as terribly hard to get an advantage," said Beck, who won more than one match at state for the first time in his career. "I wanted to get ahead so that was big. Winning a medal and getting to the semifinals feels amazing. I can't express it."

Aiden McFadden

The two losses for Beck came against fourth-ranked Cael Morrow of Akron-Westfield and fifth-ranked Eli Becerra of Missouri Valley.

Beck trailed Morrow (38-2) 2-0 after one, 4-0 after two and then fell behind 8-1 in the third before losing 8-4.

Becerra (38-6) led Beck 7-0 after two periods, went in front 9-1 and 11-2 in the third and went on to win 12-6.

"I just can't get angry and get into my own head," Beck said. "That's what happened. I had to turn that around in my last match. I sat alone and got a harder warmup in. I went out there with some swag. That helped me a lot."

In the rematch against Jacobsen, Beck led 2-0 after one. He rode out Jacobsen for the entire two minutes of the second period and then went in front 3-0 following an escape in the third.

Beck went on to win 5-0 after scoring a final takedown with 19 seconds to go in the match.

"The mindset was to still wrestle his match," Gliem said. "We wanted to put the pedal to the metal and be on offense the whole time."

McFadden, who ended the season ranked 12th, opened his third state tournament with a 7-2 loss against No. 11 Jonah Reiling of Lisbon.

The match was scoreless after one period, but Reiling took a 2-0 lead on a reversal in the second.

McFadden tied the match with an escape, but a second stalling call gave Reiling another lead and he added to the margin with a takedown and two near fall points.

Facing elimination, McFadden (42-9) rallied from a 6-2 hole against Cox.

He trailed 5-0 after one but got his first takedown to close the gap in the second. An escape by Cox (32-9) made it 6-2, but McFadden hit a headlock with 30 seconds to go and scored the win by fall 14 seconds later.

Callyn Bishop

The takedown occurred at the edge of the mat. McFadden admitted the match could have gone either way.

"He's stupid strong. He's athletic," McFadden said about Cox. "And he's just shorter than anyone else I wrestle. I usually have to wrestle up in height not down. It's a big change for me.

"I was trying to get him hooked and locked up for a while, but I just couldn't get it to go. All of the coaches told me to throw it, so I threw it and it worked out."

McFadden extended his tournament with a win by fall against Denver's Cody Koepke. He led Koepke (31-16) 2-1 in the second at the time of the pin.

Unfortunately, McFadden was eliminated one match later when he was pinned by fourth-ranked Michael Block (46-4) of Sibley-Ocheyedan. Block went on to place seventh.

"Aiden didn't meet his goal, but wrestling isn't the end goal," Gliem said. "He was more of a leader this year than he's ever been before. He worked harder this year, too. It's hard to see Aiden not reach his goal because he did work hard to get to this point."

Bishop (40-7) won his 40th match of the season when he pinned Wapsie Valley's Brock Kleitsch in the opening round at 170.

Bishop led Kleitsch (31-20) 4-0 after the first period following a takedown and two near fall points.

Sixth-ranked Zach Robbins (36-5) of Treynor pinned Bishop in 43 seconds in his second match.

Bishop was then eliminated 6-1 by Kody Jacobson of Ridge View. He trailed 2-0 after one and fell behind 5-0 after two.

"I have been coaching Callyn the last six years of his life, and it was a heartbreaker to see his last match," Gliem said. "He's been here three times and that was his first win. His goal was to win a match because he went 0-2 the other two times.

"He was still smiling after that last loss because he met his goal. His attitude was still great."

Ruger Kincaid

Kincaid (32-17) went 0-2 at 150 after going 1-2 at 120 last season. He was pinned by No. 12 William Lawson (41-10) of Pocahontas Area and lost 8-3 to Ridge View's Conner Jacobson.

Kincaid fell behind Conner Jacobson (45-9) 4-1 after one. He got his deficit to 4-3 early in the second but that was the closest he got.

"Ruger went from 120 last year to 150 this year," Gliem said. "He's a strong kid but not quite as strong as the other 150s who are already grown into their bodies. I think Ruger needs to stay at 150 next year and we'll be in business."

Notes: Beck transferred to Baxter in the offseason after going 26-9 at 113 pounds wrestling for 3A Dallas Center-Grimes last season. He was 1-2 at the state tournament. "His goal for next year is the finals," Gliem said. "It will take a lot of offseason work. We know what our weakness is. We have to be able to score from the down position." ... Gliem said McFadden plans to wrestle at Ellsworth Community College next season.