DES MOINES — Austin Lear was the exception.
With area wrestlers dropping matches all around him, the Council Bluffs Lewis Central senior broke the trend by pulling out a narrow first-round victory at the Iowa Class 3-A state tournament Thursday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena. He moves on to Friday, when quarterfinals, semifinals and consolation finalists will be decided.
After a scoreless first period, No. 8 Lear rode No. 9 Seth Skahill of Pleasant Valley the entire second frame. The L.C. 182-pounder seemed destined for overtime while spending most of the third on the bottom, but escaped with four seconds left to earn the 1-0 win.
“To be on top takes a lot of energy, and he kind of relaxed for a second,” Lear said. “I saw my opening and I took it for the ‘W.’
“Last year, I don’t think I ever rode anybody for more than 40 seconds. Coaches taught me a tight waist, and it’s been my bread and butter when I’m on top.”
Most of western Iowa’s grapplers experienced a much gloomier state debut. Area members went 7-21 overall, with 15 first-round losers bowing out in consolation action.
Glenwood’s seven qualifiers all lost in their openers, with two surviving to Friday. Sioux City North lost four of its six qualifiers. And Sioux City East’s four participants each finished the day 0-2.
“Winning’s contagious and so is losing, I guess,” Glenwood coach Brad Asche said. “We needed someone to jump-start us, and that came a little bit late. I don’t know. We just didn’t look like ourselves today, and obviously it shows.”
Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson (four qualifiers) and C.B. Lewis Central (three) will have everyone wrestle at least one more match. Forging ahead to the quarterfinals are T.J.’s No. 7 Colton Clingenpeel (106 pounds) and unrated Charles Weaver (145) along with Lear and No. 6 Zach Renshaw (285) of L.C.
Aside from Lear, they cruised to wins after entering as match favorites.
But the two Jackets will need massive efforts to stay on the front side Friday. Clingenpeel faces No. 1 and unbeaten Nolan Hellickson of Southeast Polk. Weaver gets No. 2 Bubba Hernandez of Bettendorf. Lear, meanwhile, starts with unrated Kyler Mathews of Waterloo West and Renshaw has No. 5 Cegan Long of North Scott.
“Everything’s still possible; a state championship is still possible,” T.J. coach August Manz said. “Their dreams of being state champs are going into Friday, which is always a good feeling.”
Also advancing after their first bouts are Carroll’s No. 8 Justin Kaltved (120) and Sioux City North’s No. 9 Shane Gill (120) and No. 2 Dustin Fuller (170).
Fuller draws No. 1 and unbeaten Duke Egli of Fort Dodge, while Kaltved and Gill will square off against each other.