DES MOINES — Among Iowa’s 64 3-A schools in wrestling, Glenwood is the third smallest.
The Rams plan on hanging with the big dogs this week.
With four wrestlers ranked in the top three in their respective weights, fifth-rated Glenwood has the firepower to challenge some of the state’s elite. The Rams have seven qualifiers for the traditional state meet, which begins for 3-A schools at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena.
Glenwood has the most among the 21 western Iowa entries in the state’s largest class. Council Bluffs Lewis Central has five qualifiers, and Sioux City North is next with three.
The Rams’ top hopes are seniors Caleb Sanders (ranked first at 285 by The Predicament), Trevor Anderson (second at 145), Anthony Sherry (second at 182) and Isaac Bales (third at 220). Last year at state, Sherry finished second, Sanders was third, Anderson took fifth and Bales placed sixth.
“These guys are capable of doing anything,” Glenwood coach Brad Asche said. “That’s one of the fun things about this time of year. Anything can happen. You can beat anybody and anybody can beat you.”
The other Glenwood qualifiers are seniors Jordan Renshaw (152) and Kenny Lampman (195), and junior Brett Mower (160). Renshaw and Mower were state qualifiers last season.
The fireworks could come early for several of the top Rams. At 182, Sherry could meet No. 1 Joel Shapiro of West Des Moines Valley in the second round. They haven’t wrestled before.
At 220 in the first round, Bales will face No. 5 Beau Lombardi — also an accomplished quarterback — of West Des Moines Valley. Bales won their previous two meetings this year.
And at 145, Anderson could face No. 7 Gabe Kjeldgaard of Lewis Central if they both pass their first-round tests. They have met numerous times before.
“Both of them are real good kids,” Asche said. “I think they would prefer not to wrestle each other.”
L.C. coach Doug Kjeldgaard, Gabe’s father, said they couldn’t have more in common if they were teammates.
“They’ve trained together and they’re friends,” he said. “But when it comes time to compete against each other, they’re always ready to go.”
On paper at least, Sanders has a smoother path, with No. 6 freshman Griffin Liddle of Bettendorf the highest-ranked wrestler in his half of the draw.
Lewis Central’s qualifiers will have their hands full out of the gate. All five were district runners-up, meaning they’ll meet district champs in the first round: Tanner Wink (106), Tanner Higgins (126), Kyle Kuckta (138), Gabe Kjeldgaard (145) and No. 6 Brock Bortolotti (195).
After looking at the pairings, Doug Kjeldgaard has a positive feeling.
“Several of our guys actually have pretty good matchups,” he said. “I’m pretty optimistic about the first round for them.