DES MOINES — This time, Alex Thomsen knew what to do.
Some waves to his cheering supporters in a section of Wells Fargo Arena. A few hugs. And two fingers held out in front of his grinning face.
The path to state championship No. 2 was all about enjoying the moment for Underwood’s unbeaten sophomore. No dwelling on wrestling away from the mat. And definitely no triumphant fist-pump from his freshman season, which friends continue to give him grief about.
“Last year I was like, ‘Uhhh, am I supposed to celebrate? Am I supposed to throw my hands in the air and wave them around? What am I supposed to do?’ ” Thomsen said. “But this year I had so much fun.”
The top-rated Thomsen completed another run through the Class 1-A field with a 15-7 major decision of Highland’s No. 2 Drew West in the 126-pound final Saturday night. In a touted battle of unbeaten wrestlers, Underwood’s standout racked up seven takedowns and led 11-4 after four minutes.
“I just wanted to go out there and score as many points as I could and entertain the crowd a little bit,” Thomsen said. “I knew I was better than him — I wanted to (technical fall) him if I could have. But I just got in my groove and kept on going.”
Thomsen reaches the midpoint of his prep career with two state golds and a 94-0 record. He ends this season at 50-0 and earns Underwood’s 14th individual state title after claiming 113 last year.
Thomsen also dealt West a 5-4 loss in the quarterfinals a season ago. West, a junior, is now 151-2 in high school matches.
“I hate to say that Alex ever had doubt, but there’s always that little guy crawling on your shoulder and whispering in your ear,” Underwood coach Joe Stephens said. “I think now that guy is having a hard time even climbing on his shoulder.
“This is what we work toward. We want to open up and have fun with it, get to a lot of different attacks and make it to where the guy can’t figure out what we’re doing. He has that skill set.”
The area’s other two Western Iowa Conference finalists couldn’t complete 4-0 weeks in Des Moines in their state debuts.
AHSTW sixth-ranked senior Tim Barr fell short in his bid to become the program’s third-ever state champ by enduring a similar fate in all three periods of the 170 final. Facing No. 1 Tanner Sloan of Alburnett, Barr was taken down early in all three frames and couldn’t escape after that. He was turned in the final moments of the match to come up short 8-0 to end his career 54-2.
Missouri Valley eighth-ranked sophomore Nathan Haynes quickly fell behind 2-0 to Interstate 35’s No. 3 Sal Arzani in the 160-pound final and lost 10-2. The first Big Red to reach the finals since 2007 finishes his season at 57-6.
Missouri Valley medaled a total of four wrestlers. Sophomore Tom Rief (220) took third while freshman Connor Lange (120) was sixth and junior Jack Kyle (132) was eighth. In addition to Thomsen, Underwood celebrated multiple medalwinners in seniors Tom Jennings (fourth, 138) and Marshall Rasmussen (eighth, 106).
Logan-Magnolia added medalists Garret Thompson (seventh, 126) and Brady Wilson (eighth, 152). Other area placers were Riverside’s Tatem Bluml (fourth, 113), Treynor’s Steven Gregory (fourth, 182), Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto’s Cole Jensen (fifth, 285), OA-BCIG’s Kurtis Krager (sixth, 106), AHSTW’s Dustin Engel (seventh, 160), Nodaway Valley’s Ben Freese (eighth, 126) and West Monona’s Braiden Tank (eighth, 145).
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