Feb. 12—STORY CITY — A full day of wrestling to decide who heads to state and who sees their season end. Oskaloosa was one of seven teams up at Roland-Story on Saturday for district wrestling action with the top two wrestlers at each weight punching their ticket to the state tournament. When the dust settled, Oskaloosa had two boys earning a trip to Des Moines.
Oskaloosa sent 10 boys to compete in the tournament that consisted of some strong competition that included several ranked boys including two number ones. As the day progressed, those 10 Indians started to tick down to four that had chances to secure a top two finish.
The first one to get through was sophomore 132 pounder Kaiden Parker. With only five boys in his bracket, Parker earned a first round bye and was set up for a huge semifinal matchup against Humboldt's Cyler Cirks, a state medalist from a year ago.
Parker was ready to go from the first whistle and attacked early with two takedowns in the first period to lead 4-1. The second period saw him capitalize late with a takedown and three-point nearfall at the end of the period to extend his lead to 9-2 before finishing things off with two more takedowns in the third to cap off a 13-3 major win.
Parker advanced to the finals where he would take on the top-ranked and undefeated Kade Blume of Roland-Story. Parker was able to battle for all six minutes but would ultimately fall 9-2. The good news for Parker was that he was not going to a wrestleback and finished a short day of work on the mat 1-1 to secure a return trip to state.
"That first match for him in the semis was one that was going to decide whether or not he went to state," Oskaloosa head coach Derek Moyer said. "He went out there and wrestled like a man on a mission. To put up a major on a kid that was an eighth place finisher last year at state, that was big. Then he had to come back and wrestle the number one kid so we've got some things that we can work on and improve heading into state."
Oskaloosa's junior 113 pounder Ty Lorentzen also earned a first round bye to the semifinals in his bracket after slotting in as the two seed. Lorentzen got off to a strong start with a first period pin in that semifinal match to advance to the finals against the top seed of Caiden Latch of Roland-Story. After a scoreless first period, Latch started the second down and quickly turned it into a reversal. Latch would then ride out Lorentzen for most of the period before the Osky wrestler flipped it into a reversal of his own and nearly a pin as he got a three-point nearfall before the period ran out. Lorentzen led 5-2 going into the third and earned a quick escape to lead 6-2 before getting caught on a takedown attempt and turned for a pin.
The loss meant that Lorentzen would have to head to a wrestleback for a spot at state. The moment didn't seem too big for Lorentzen as he bounced back in a big way and dominated to a 12-1 major decision to lock in his spot at state.
"That's the toughest match," Moyer said of the wrestleback. "Ty bounced back really well. He was focused, dialed in and he did his thing out there and got on his offense. You could tell how much he wanted it."
Two other Osky wrestlers came close to joining Parker and Lorentzen at state. Matthew Phillips, a freshman 144 pounder, scored a win by pin in his quarterfinal match before losing by a 10-2 major in the semifinals to the top seed. Phillips then bounced back with a pair of pins on the backside of the bracket and earned a wrestleback with a chance to go to state. Unfortunately for Phillips, he would get taken down and pinned in the first period.
"He's a freshman at 144 pounds," Moyer said. "Some days you don't know what you're going to get. But he came out and he battled and he earned a spot to wrestle in that wrestle back that's what we're looking for. As a freshman he came back and put himself in there and we're proud of the kid for what he did today. He accomplished a lot and he's going to be a force to be reckoned with here in the future."
Right behind Phillips was Luke Abrahamson, a 150 pound senior hoping to earn his first state tournament appearance. Similarly to Phillips, Abrahamson won his first match by pin before getting pinned by the top seed. Abrahamson also rebounded with a pair of wins on the backside including an exciting 6-4 win in the third place match with a late takedown to take the lead and the victory. That match sent Abrahamson to a wrestleback for a spot at state. Abrahamson would battle but would eventually get pinned in the third period to fall just short.
"Third place in his senior year, not bad for a kid that started wrestling as a sophomore," Moyer said. "He had some goals and he wanted to qualify for the state tournament. He fell a little short but today he wrestled out of a little slump and came out of it and wrestled his best. He gave himself a chance to qualify for state and put himself out there and sometimes it just doesn't go your way, but he didn't stop wrestling. I'm pleased with that and that's been our biggest motto is to wrestle till the whistle."
The state brackets have been released as No. 19 Ty Lorentzen (Oskaloosa, 31-12) will take on No. 14 Jon Gonzalez (West Marshall, 39-4) in the first round at 113 while No. 12 Kaiden Parker (Oskaloosa, 26-8) will battle No. 21 Charlie Karam (Solon, 31-18) in the opening round at 132.
Oskaloosa also sent two wrestlers to state last year with Parker and Trey Miller. The two went a combined 1-4 in that tournament and will hope this year they will be able to go on a run for the Indians.
"Just be loose, it's just another tournament," Moyer said. "We've got to be ready to go. Kayden had the opportunity last year to wrestle there as a freshman. This time he is on a mission and he wants to put himself on the podium. He's wrestling lights out right now and I'm pleased with his efforts. Ty has been getting better every single year and this year he had some big wins throughout the season and it's well deserved for him. He put in the work and this is where he gets."
The Iowa High School Boys State Wrestling Tournament starts Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
1. Humboldt (176.5), 2. North Polk (167.5), 3. Ballard (144), 4. Roland-Story (123), 5. Woodward-Granger (121), 6. Chariton (74.5), 7. Oskaloosa (71)
Colin Peters can be reached at 641-672-2581, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ColinPetersOH.