Two Clear Lake wrestlers advanced to the State Wrestling Championship round and all six qualifiers scored points, helping the Lions to a fourth place team finish Saturday in Des Moines.
Five of Clear Lake’s six grapplers placed, led by senior Andres Gonzalez at 138-pounds and freshman Ryan Leisure at 113. Both made the finals, but lost and finished as runner-up at their respective weights.
Brennen Doebel placed fourth at 106, Ryan Schmalen was fifth at 120 and Ryan Faught placed eighth at 132. Connor Nosbisch did not place, but won a match and scored team points.
“We always hope to win them all, but the boys wrestled hard and should be proud of themselves,” said Coach Gary Weber.
Gonzalez reached the finals in impressive fashion, using a pin, major decision, and pair of decisive wins to advance to the championship. In the finals, he lost 5-4 to three-time state champion Max Thompson, of Union, LaPorte City.
“Andres chose to go 138 and try to beat the best. He could have gone any weight he wanted and for him to go after the best is very impressive to me,” said Coach Weber about his senior wrestler.
Leisure is just starting his high school wrestling career. And while just getting to State would be a great achievement, Leisure set his sights on becoming a four-time state champion. He put himself in a position to do that with major decisions in the first and second rounds. He was tested in the third round by Jacob Fenske, of Assumption Davenport, but came away with a 2-1 victory. In the finals he faced Brock Rathbun (46-0), of Center Point-Urbana. Rathbun, a sophomore, recorded a fall in 4:48 to win the 113-pound title.
“He just ran into a very good wrestler in the finals. He has a very bright future,” said Coach Weber.
Brennen Doebel was making his first trip to State as a junior.
“Brennen won three matches and lost twice to Brayden Curry, of Sergeant Bluff-Luton. He had a great year. This was his first trip to state and fourth is not bad,” said Coach Weber. Curry handed Doebel a 10-4 loss in the second round. He advanced in the consolation bracket with three decisions and a pin, setting up another meeting with Curry in the third place match. Curry won the rematch, 10-6.
Junior Ryan Schmalen made a miraculous return to State. After breaking his elbow days before the first meet of the season, he underwent surgery and then rehabilitated his arm and was able to compete in the final regular meets to quickly get in shape for the post-season. Schmalen was making his third appearance at the State Tournament and he came away with a fifth place finish.
“We did not even know if Ryan would be able to wrestle this year due to his injury, so he did extremely well placing fifth,” said Weber. Schmalen rebounded from an opening round 6-2 loss to Brendan Gould, of Assumption Davenport. Gould went on to place second at 120. On the consolation side of the bracket, Schmalen recorded three decisions and a technical fall on his way to a fifth place finish.
Sophomore Ryan Faught claimed eighth place at 132-pounds by winning a big match by pin over the fifth ranked wrestler from Cherokee in his second match on Thursday. He opened the tournament losing by fall to Bryce Leshen, of Albia, and battled with great determination throughout the consolation bracket, posting a pin among his victories.
“To place at state is a real accomplishment,” noted Weber.
Senior Connor Nosbisch did not place at 182-pounds, but was in the round of eight when he lost in overtime to deny his placing.
Nosbisch started the tournament with a 7-6 decision over Jordan Challis, of Tipton. His first loss occurred in the second round, when Riley Hasken, of Dubuque Wahlert, got the win in sudden victory, 3-1. In consolation, Nosbisch was defeated, 5-1, by Brad Skubal, of Washington.
“He had a great year,” said Weber about the senior.