Clear Lake’s wrestling team appears to be peaking at the right time.
Six Lion wrestlers punched their ticket to State Saturday, while the team placed first in the 12-team District field at Webster City.
Four wrestlers claimed individual titles, while two placed second.
Brennen Doebel (106), Ryan Leisure (113), Ryan Schmalen (120) and Andres Gonzalez (138) all won individual titles. Ryan Faught (132) and Conner Nosbich (182) placed second, but still qualified to go to State. Spencer Orr and Blake Kelso wrestled well and placed third. Both wrestlers were beaten in the first round, but battled back to place third. Kelso narrowly missed obtaining a wrestle back, as his opponent was beaten in overtime to narrowly claim his chance to go to State.
Carter Garrington, a sophomore, finished behind three seniors at 172.
“I thought all nine kids wrestled well on Saturday, particularly our four District champions who did not even have a close match,” said Coach Gary Weber. “Nosbisch and Faught both lost in the finals to two quality opponents. I would’ve liked to have gotten all nine guys through, but that is not always possible. My kids gave it their best shot.”
Clear Lake’s Gonzalez (35-0) is one of 34 wrestlers entering the State tournament undefeated in their weight class. He is making his fourth appearance at State (fourth in 2011, third in 2012, fifth in 2013) and is determined to be crowned a state champion. He opens the tournament facing a familiar foe-- Christian Fox (42-4), of Osage.
Forty-three grapplers have lost only once this season, including CLHS junior Brennen Doebel (34-1) and junior Ryan Schmalen (10-1), who sat out most of the season with an injury. Doebel will take on Wil Beach (34-9) from Harlan in his first match, while Schmalen will meet Brendan Gould (34-5) of Davenport Assumption. Schmalen posted a record of 40-6 as a sophomore and was fourth at State last year.
Connor Nosbisch (31-8) is also an experienced State performer. The senior qualified for State last year and finished with a 29-14 record. He will take on Jordan Challis (40-5) from Tipton, in the first round.
First time State qualifiers, freshman Ryan Leisure (34-3) and sophomore Ryan Faught (28-8), face tough challenges in the first round at State. Leisure will meet Samuel Klarenbeek (40-2) of Boyden Hull/Rock Valley, while Faught will battle Bruce Leshen (51-0) from Albia.
Clear Lake was among the schools with the most state qualifiers in Class 2A. Davenport Assumption and Mediapolis each had 10, Sergeant Bluff-Luton qualified nine and Creston-Orient Macksburg and Union LaPorte City send seven. Albia, Charles City, Osage and Clear Lake each qualified six.
Davenport Assumption has been a top four finisher each of the last six years and is seeking its fifth title (1995, 98, 99, and 2011), and is one of at least five teams that hope to grab the title won by West Delaware last year.
Clear Lake’s best finish is third in 2009.
The individual State Tournament starts Thursday at 9 a.m. for Class 2A wrestlers. It resumes again at 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Friday and continues on Saturday at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. State tournament pairings may be found on trackwrestling.com.