(Above) Clear Lake’s Dalton Mennenga won the 182-pound title at the Sectional Meet on Saturday. Mennega pinned Osage’s Chris Schneider in 1:35. -Reporter photo by Chris Barragy
The Clear Lake Lions will send 10 grapplers to Districts this Saturday, Feb. 10, at Aplington-Parkersburg. First and second place winners in each weight class will advance to the State Meet Feb. 15-17 in Des Moines.
The Lions won the Sectional Meet with 244 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Iowa Falls-Alden with 218. Osage was third with 201.5, followed by Forest City with 122, Roland-Story 108.5, and Garner-Hayfield-Ventura with 83. With the win, the Lions advanced to the Regional Duals last night (Tuesday, Feb. 6) at New Hampton. In the semi-final round, top ranked New Hampton was slated to take on unrated Charles City. The Lions, ranked 23rd in Class 2A, were paired against number 35 Iowa Falls-Alden. The winner of the four-team meet will qualify for the State Dual Team Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
“Sending 10 to Districts is a big accomplishment for our team. They have improved continuously throughout the year and are peaking at the correct time,” said Coach Mike Lester. “It is a huge testament to how hard the wrestlers have worked, avenging as many matches as we did Saturday. The are competing phenomenally well and their mindset is amazing.”
Earning Sectional titles for the Lions was Sam Nelson (106), Eric Faught (126), Braxton Doebel (145), Kade Hambly (195) and Jake Keith (285). Finishing as runner-up and also advance to District was Conner Morey (113), Jackson Hamlin (138), Rhys Glidden (152), Ben Finn (160 and Dalton Mennenga (182).
Bryan Hillyer (132) and Chance Poley (170) just missed a chance to advance, finishing third at their weights. AJ Stevenson contributed points to the team by placing fourth (220).
Nelson’s championship at 106 pounds included an impressive win over fourth ranked Averee Abben, of Osage. The Clear Lake freshman won with an 11-6 decision.
“Sam wrestled a very aggressive, smart match and dominated the match,” commented Coach Lester.
Lester noted Connor Morey fell just shy of a title, but enroute to his second place finish at 113, he avenged a loss earlier in the year against Iowa Falls-Alden’s Jack Ites. Morey won that semi-final match ins sudden victory, 5-3.
Eric Faught stayed on track for his State title run by pinning his way through Sectionals. The Lion junior, who is ranked first in the state at 126, had an opening round bye. He pinned Osage’s Ryan Adams in 3:10 and won the championship with a fall in just :34 over QuintonTo read more of this article, please login or sign up for our E-Edition