CORNING, Iowa — Wyatt Lewis expected he’d have the heavier load to bear on Saturday.
The 10th-rated Council Bluffs St. Albert junior faced No. 9 Tyler Hein of Panorama in his Class 1-A district opener, the only first-round meeting here of rated wrestlers.
Meanwhile, his older brother Jake, rated seventh in the state, had three wrestlers in his 182-pound bracket with a combined 41 losses this year.
“I always feel some pressure,” Wyatt said. “That brotherly love. Always trying to outdo the other one.”
Wyatt Lewis (45-6) kept up on his end of the bargain. He pinned Hein in 4:45 and then secured his district championship with a 5-2 victory over Shane Swank of Mount Ayr.
A few minutes later, Jake Lewis (34-1) capped a two-pin day by flattening Zach Barton of Corning in 59 seconds for his district crown.
“I can’t say enough about how proud I am of my boys,” said the boys’ father, St. Albert coach Al Lewis.
St. Albert finished fourth in the team chase with 56 points. Panorama won with 74 points, edging Guthrie Center (73) and Underwood (69.5) for top honors before a full house at the Corning Activity Center. The top two finishers in each weight class advanced to the traditional state tournament, which begins a three-day run on Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Underwood had the most champions with three: senior Taylor Curtis (46-2) at 106, junior Riley Klein (45-8) at 113 and senior Andrew Foutch (49-0) at 126. With sophomore Cody Kingery (37-4) finishing second at 145, Underwood tied Panorama for the most state qualifiers with four.
“For the most part, we wrestled pretty well,” Underwood coach Joe Stephens said. “Our four guys we figured would make it through did. We were hoping to get one or two more, and we were right in the mix to get it done.”
Top-rated Foutch moved to 204-13 in his career with a 23-second pin and a 16-0 technical fall. Currently second in career wins in state history, he could tie T.J. Sebolt of Centerville (207-1 from 2003 to 2006) with a semifinal win at state and become the all-time leader with a state title.
Curtis won by technical fall in his only match, as the Nodaway Valley sectional had only one qualifier at 106. Ninth-rated Klein had little trouble with No. 10 Jacob Vogel of Riverside in the second round, winning by major decision, 11-2.
St. Albert nearly had a third wrestler join the Lewis brothers at state. After a 9-3 first-round loss to Nodaway Valley’s Kain Queck at 152, senior Nate Dunning pinned Guthrie Center’s Gavin Laughery in 5:30 to earn the chance to wrestle back for a trip to state.
After trailing East Mills’ Josh Hopkins 6-4, Dunning tied it with 34 seconds left on a takedown. Hopkins immediately escaped, and Dunning tried desperately to notch the winning takedown in the final 20 seconds. With about 10 seconds left, he was in on a leg, but couldn’t finish it off.
“It’s hard for me to talk about Nate when he’s not going with us,” an emotional Al Lewis said. “He’s a heck of a kid. I can’t say enough about him. I wish I had more kids that worked as hard as he does. And he was just right there on the cusp.”
Riverside sent three wrestlers to state as runners-up: Vogel (43-10) at 113, Tucker Bluml (37-24) at 120 and Clay Harris (48-11) at 132.
Bluml entered his opening-round match with Guthrie Center’s Lane Rumelhart tied at 2-2 in the season series. Both wins were by fall in matches he was trailing. He pinned Rumelhart in 2:33 Saturday to earn his trip to state.
“I just had to get in the right position to pin him,” Bluml said, “because I knew I wouldn’t be able to beat him by points.”
Griswold senior Zach Vance (30-10) turned in the most dramatic win of the day. In the wrestleback for second at 126, he trailed Guthrie Center’s Tucker Patrick 8-2 with less than a minute remaining. Down 8-3 and time ticking away, he knew he was in trouble.
“I just thought that I needed something big,” he said. “A miracle, technically.”
He slammed Patrick to his back for a takedown and earned three back points as time expired, forcing it into overtime. With 34 seconds left, he registered the winning takedown.
Vance said he didn’t want his wrestling career to be over.
“That’s what fueled the fire,” he said. “I was excited for overtime. I knew that there was no way that I was going to lose.”
Other qualifiers from The World-Herald’s western Iowa coverage area included champions Queck of Nodaway Valley (152) and Mark Hall of Southwest Iowa (285), along with runners-up Craig Rice of Southwest Iowa (106), Tanner Potter of Griswold (138), Barton of Corning (182) and Colton Story of East Mills (195).
Barton thrilled the home fans in the final match of the day, rallying from a 5-0 deficit to beat Panorama’s Colby Woodvine 8-7 on a takedown with 14 seconds left.
Team scoring: 1, Panorama 74; 2, Guthrie Center 73; 3, Underwood 69.5; 4, CB St. Albert 56; 5, Riverside 48.5; 6, Mount Ayr 39; 7, East Mills 37; 8, Nodaway Valley 36; 9, Griswold 34; 10, Southwest Iowa 32; 11, Corning 22; 12, Martensdale-St. Marys 20; 13, East Union 19.5; 14, West Central Valley 17.
State qualifiers: 106: 1, Taylor Curtis, Underwood; 2, Craig Rice, Southwest Iowa. 113: 1, Riley Klein, Underwood; 2, Jacob Vogel, Riverside. 120: 1, Dylan Gibson, Martensdale-St. Marys; 2, Tucker Bluml, Riverside. 126: 1, Andrew Foutch, Underwood; 2, Zach Vance, Griswold. 132: 1, Erik Freed, Mount Ayr; 2, Clay Harris, Riverside. 138: 1, Hunter Grunsted, Panorama; 2, Tanner Potter, Griswold. 145: 1, Ryan Joint, West Central Valley; 2, Cody Kingery, Underwood. 152: 1, Kain Queck, Nodaway Valley; 2, Josh Hopkins, East Mills. 160: 1, Wyatt Lewis, CB St. Albert; 2, Tyler Hein, Panorama. 170: 1, Bryson Kinyon, East Union; 2, Austin Laabs, Guthrie Center. 182: 1, Jake Lewis, CB St. Albert; 2, Zach Barton, Corning. 195: 1, Taylor Hein, Panorama; 2, Colton Story, East Mills. 220: 1, Mark Hall, Southwest Iowa; 2, Cody Cain, Guthrie Center. 285: 1, Dillon Suhr, Guthrie Center; 2, Garrett Johnston, Panorama
True-Second Wrestlebacks: 126: Zach Vance, Griswold, dec. Tucker Patrick, Guthrie Center, 10-8 (OT). 132: Clay Harris, Riverside, major dec. Austin Dollen, Griswold, 12-1. 152: Josh Hopkins, East Mills, dec. Nate Dunning, CB St. Albert, 7-6. 160: Tyler Hein, Panorama, pinned Shane Swank, Mt. Ayr, :53. 182: Zach Barton, Corning, dec. Colby Woodvine, Panorama, 8-7. 195: Colton Story, East Mills, pinned Cale Crowder, Guthrie Center, 1:29.
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