Leisure and Faught capture AAU titles
The high school State Wrestling Tournament was only the first of a few post-season events which has Clear Lake High School wrestling coach Gary Weber excited about his programs’ future.
On the heels of a successful rebuilding year for the high school team, culminated with three place winners at the State Meet,
eight young Clear Lake wrestlers participated in the AAU State Tournament last weekend at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Two returned home with titles, while the third earned his way onto the medal stand with a seventh place finish.
Eighth grader Ryan Leisure won his third AAU title competing at 105-pounds. Eric Faught, a seventh grader, won at 80-pounds and Kyle Willms, an eighth grader who is in just his second year of wrestling, was seventh at 215-pounds.
“I actually think that in a lot of ways this is a bigger tournament than the state high school tournament,” said Weber. “There are no classes for the wrestlers. They compete in 32-man brackets.” Weber is quick to note that Leisure will enter the high school ranks next year as Clear Lake’s most credentialed grappler. In addition to his three AAU titles, he has captured numerous other youth wrestling honors.
At the State AAU meet Leisure was the class of the field. He was never scored on in five matches. His closest match was a 9-0 decision in the final over Joel Shapiro, of Waukee.
Faught had a first round bye, but went on to post four wins on this way to the title at 80-pounds. He advanced to the championship with a 3-1 win in overtime in the semifinals.
Willms lost in his second match on Saturday to the eventual champion at 215. He wrestled all the way back to place seventh.
“For my first time, it was definitely a good experience being at Wells Fargo,” said Willms. “Hopefully it will pay off in the future.” It was Willms’ first attempt to qualify for the AAU championship.