Clear Lake took a small, but mighty contingent to the State Wrestling Tournament and emerged with big results. With just four wrestlers, the Lions placed eighth out of 96 Class 2A schools at the 2013 State Wrestling tournament. Three of Clear Lake’s wrestlers earned their way to the placewinners’ platform Saturday night.
The Lions were led by senior Brice Wilcke, who qualified for Saturday night championship match at 170-pounds after a thrilling overtime win in the semifinals.
Making his first appearance at State, Wilcke, ranked number three at his weight, pulled off a double leg takedown in overtime to defeat Grinnell’s Jack Leshen 3-1 in Friday night’s semi-final. The victory set up a title match against second ranked Mediapolis’ Adam Drain.Drain quickly put Wilcke on defense in the final, taking him to the mat within seconds for a 2-0 start. The score was 4-0 at the end of the first period and 6-0 at the end of the second. Wilcke managed an escape and takedown in the third to suddenly put the outcome in question at 6-3. An escape by Drain with under :30 second to go made it 7-3 and that score held despite Wilcke’s never-give-up attitude.
“Brice exceeded everyones expectations. He did just awesome and was simply beat by a very good wrestler in the finals,” said Lions Coach Gary Weber. “He was a joy to watch.”
Wilcke’s other wins on the way the title match included a first round pin against West Delaware’s Thomas Oleson and another pin in the second round against Seth Davisson, of Fairfield. That win set up the quarterfinal battle with Leshen, ending in the overtime victory.
“Winning in overtime was probably the highlight for me, but it was all great,” said Wilcke, who impressed many at the tournament with his positive attitude.
“I’ve dreamt about competing at state since I was sitting in the stands back when I was a seventh or eighth grader,” he said, adding that he clearly remembers seeing an occasional wrestler celebrate a win by pointing to his fans in the stands. “That was on my list of things to do,” said Wilcke. “It was incredible looking up and seeing all the fans. It was awesome.”
Wilcke ended his senior season with a 39-4 record. He says he is considering wrestling on the collegiate level, but in the meantime will help the young wrestlers in the Mighty Lions program. “I’ll go to their State meet and support them,” he said.
Also earning medals at the State meet was Ryan Schmalen, fourth at 106-pounds, and Andres Gonzalez, fifth at 132.
Schmalen, a sophomore, opened the tournament with a 4-2 decision over Samuel Klarenbeek, of Boyden Hull/Rock Valley. After dropping a 6-4 decision to Brock Rathbun, of Central City, he battled back to post a 10-1 major decision over Austin Pontier, of I-35. He pinned Devin Phaly, of Sergeant Bluff, to wrestle Mason Buster, of Mediapolis. Buster posted a 4-3 win to make Schmalen fourth at 106-pounds.
“Ryan had a great tournament,” said Coach Weber. “He lost a close quarterfinal match 6-4 to the second place kid in state (Rathbun) and battled back to place fourth. He does a lot of off-season wrestling and it is really paying off. He ended up 39-5 and is poised to move up even higher on the podium next year.”
Andres Gonzalez was battling not only stiff competition at 132-pounds, but illness.
“Andres was diagnosed with mononucleosis just two weeks ago, so he did a heck of a job battling for fifth place in a very tough bracket,” said Coach Weber. “We all learned some things we can work on for him to get him on the top step of the podium next year. He only wrestled 19 matches this year, which hurt him a little bit.”
Gonzalez, a junior, posted an 11-2 major decision over Chase Wyant, of VanMeter, in the first round, but was topped 7-5 in the second round by Mediapolis’ Cole Erickson. Erickson finished second at the weight. On the consolation side of the bracket, Gonzalez had another major decision, beating Tanner Poush, of Chariton, 13-3. Next, he bested Mitchell Broer, of Ballard, 7-1. He was defeated 8-3 by Kyle Springer, of Davenport Assumption, to finish - Read More Via e-Edition