by Marianne Gasaway
Four wrestlers will represent Clear Lake High School at the State Wrestling Meet which begins Thursday in Des Moines.
Undefeated and top ranked Eric Faught, along with Sam Nelson, Braxton Doebel and Kade Hambly each won District championships Saturday on the CLHS mats. Three other Lion wrestlers came up just short in their bid for a State berth.
Faught won in style to continue his path to the State Tournament. He moved through the District tournament pinning both of his opponents once again. In the opening round he put Jordan Jensen, from Humboldt, on his back in 1:41. He topped Remington Hanson, from Clarion-Goldfoeld-Dows, in the first place match in 1:26.
“It’s a pretty big feat for Eric, being a four-time conference champ, four-time Sectional champ, and four-time District champion,” said his coach, Mike Lester. “He has his eyes set on the State title and the drive needed to finish on a high note.”
At 113, Sam Nelson was a champion.
“Sam had a great day, defeating two highly qualified wrestlers,” said Lester. “Both were close matches, but Sam does a tremendous job of keeping his composure and wrestling very solid matches. He will be looking to get on that podium this year after his State qualifying experience from last year.”
Nelson recorded a 3-2 victory over Coledon Bethel, of Southeast Valley, in the open round. He punched his ticket to State with a 3-0 victory over Tyler Stein, of C-G-D.
At 152-pounds, Braxton Doebel avenged a Sectional tourney loss against Carter Profitt, from Charles City, to be the District champ. Doebel defeated Profitt, 5-4, in the first place match. His other win on the day was over Cayden Howland, of Iowa Falls-Alden, with a pin in 3:27.
“He has been sticking with our game plan on strategies against opponents and we see it paying off. We are excited to get Braxton to State and see him peak out at the right time,” said Lester.
Kade Hambly made short work of his District tournament, pinning both opponents. In the 220-pound bracket he stuck McKade Eisentrager in just :31 seconds and Wyatt Folkerts, of Hampton-Dumont, in 1:35.
“Kade’s physical wrestling style is hard for his opponents to match,” said Lester. “He has a ton of leverage and strength, which shows in his intense matches. He has his goal set to be a State champion and with the way he is wrestling and his mindset he can accomplish that.”
Bryan Hillyer (138), Thomas Gansen (160), and Dylan Kruckenberg (182) fell just short of the State tournament.
“They all three competed at such a high level that they can hold their head high and say they gave it their all. I was very proud of their efforts and it is heartbreaking to come so close but not quite get there,” said Coach Lester.