DES MOINES — As a freshman in 2016, Cameron Baker sat in the stands and watched teammates Colton Clingenpeel win a state championship and McGwire Midkiff place second for Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson.
A year later, he watched Midkiff win a state title. And you better believe Baker dreamed of earning his way into championship night.
Thomas Jefferson will be represented in the Class 3-A finals for the third time in four years after the top-rated Baker dispatched unrated Travis Theisen of Le Mars 3-1 in Friday’s 220-pound semifinal at Wells Fargo Arena. He’s western Iowa’s lone 3-A finalist.
Baker (46-1) will meet second- rated Beau Lombardi (30-3) of West Des Moines Valley in Saturday’s final. Earlier Friday, Baker pinned No. 10 Shane Mathias of Muscatine in 1:07 in the quarterfinals.
Thomas Jefferson coach August Manz said Baker’s disdain for losing shone through in both matches.
“You see it on the football field. You see it on the wrestling mat,” he said. “He wants to do his best, lay it out on the line and let people know what he has.”
Baker became emotional seconds after the semifinal ended. After qualifying as a freshman and sophomore, he missed last season due to a shoulder surgery.
“I’ve been working so hard this year,” the Northern Iowa football recruit said. “One thing I really wanted to do is just give my coaches one last wrestler this year who made it as far as he could. I knew I was going to be that wrestler.
“That win was big for me and it was big for my coaches, and I was happy I could give it to them.”
Baker also received a call from Midkiff before the semifinals.
“He just asked how I was feeling,” Baker said. “Giving me some insight about how he felt his years in the semifinals. Me and him, growing up together, it meant a lot. So I knew I was ready for my match.”
Western Iowa’s other semifinalist in 3-A, Glenwood’s Brett Mower at 182, wasn’t as fortunate. His match with MVC’s Devin Ludwig hinged on three crucial rulings.
Trailing 6-3 with 16 seconds left in the second period, Mower’s attempt at a takedown was initially ruled out of bounds. But after consulting with the second official, Mower was awarded the two points to pull within one.
With 52 seconds left in the third, Mower initially was awarded a takedown to even the match 9-9. But after another conversation with the second official, it was taken off the board. With the score still 9-7, Mower was close to finishing a takedown as time expired, but the official ruled it a fraction late and the second official agreed.
Derec Weyer has certainly made the most of his first and only trip to the state wrestling tournament.
Harlan’s senior heavyweight completed his impressive run to the Class 2A state title match by dispatching Sioux City Heelan’s second-ranked Kobe Clayborne with a pin in 1:32. No. 5 Weyer, who pinned Maquoketa’s Taven Rich in 31 seconds to reach the semifinals, flexed to the crowd and screamed “let’s go” after securing the victory at Wells Fargo Arena Friday night.
“It felt good getting the pin right away,” Weyer said. “This means a lot for all the hard work everyone has put in and the team pushing each other.
“I wanted to work my ties, get my ties, and it just worked out like that.”
Weyer is looking for the Cyclone’s first state wrestling title since 2002 when Brent Schumacher claimed the 171-pound crown. Weyer will face top-ranked and undefeated Spencer Trenary of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows Saturday night.
Atlantic/CAM senior Chase McLaren is a four-time state qualifier whose previous best finish was seventh place a year ago. The 138-pounder can now add state finalist to his resume.
McLaren, who has more than 200 victories in his career, handed third-ranked Jaron Kadel of Columbus Community his first loss of the season, 7-4. Fifth-ranked McLaren draws Union’s top-ranked Jack Thomsen in the finals as he looks to become the Trojans’ first state champion since Darrian Schwenke in 2014.
“I worked too hard and too long not to go out there and give it my best effort,” said McLaren, who flexed to the fans in the stands after the big victory. “It feels absolutely amazing.”
McLaren was down 2-1 going to the third before he hooked up a cradle. Kadel reversed him to tie the score at 4-all, but McLaren earned the escape and sealed the victory with a takedown.
“He was fighting pretty hard, but I have never bent someone over like that before in my life with all that adrenaline,” McLaren said of the cradle.
Red Oak junior Justin McCunn, who scored an upset pin of Independence’s third-ranked Cole Davis in the quarterfinals, reached Saturday night with a 7-1 decision over Osage’s No. 4 Zach Williams at 160. McCunn, who took eighth place last year, will face top-ranked Skyler Noftsger of Ballard in the title bout.
McCunn went for throws early and often to get the win.
“When you are here to win a state title you have to win every match before that, and that is what I feel I had to do to win that match,” he said. “It ended up working out for me.”
— Jeff Budlong
DES MOINES — Becoming Iowa’s 27th four-time state wrestling champion last year, Alex Thomsen deservedly commanded the headlines for Underwood.
This year for the Eagles, it’s destruction by committee.
“I’m in a room full of hammers, beating the crap out of each other every day,” freshman Nick Hamilton said.
That work in the practice room paid off handsomely on Friday. Underwood sent freshmen Stevie Barnes (106) and Hamilton (138), along with junior Logan James (132) to Saturday night’s Class 1-A finals, and will have six medal winners among its nine entries. The Eagles ended the day in second place with 88.5 points, just ahead of Lisbon (87.5) and Denver (74) and behind champion Don Bosco (133).
Western Iowa added three other finalists in 1-A: second-rated Logan-Magnolia sophomore Briar Reisz (126), top-rated AHSTW senior Gabe Pauley (182) and second-rated Missouri Valley senior Arron Olson (285). Logan-Magnolia’s Hagen Heistand (113) and Underwood’s Michael Baker (160) lost in the semifinals.
But Underwood again set the pace from western Iowa. Top-rated Barnes (51-2) fought off seventh-rated Clayton McDonough (48-2) of Central Springs, needing a takedown 30 seconds into the one-minute, sudden-victory period to get the 4-2 win.
Barnes said they have practiced together often at the Sebolt Wrestling Academy.
“I was not getting on my offense like I should have,” he said. “I made it closer than it had to be. I’m going to focus on keeping my offense going for this next match.”
Barnes nearly escaped to break the 2-2 tie in the third, but McDonough successfully rode him out for the two minutes to force extra time. Barnes said he had to regroup entering the sudden-victory period.
“I had to calm down a little bit,” he said. “I was getting all worked up. Really just had to level out. It came down to just grit. Just fighting hard and getting to the leg and was able to come around the side and score that two.”
Fifth-rated James (29-1) needed extra time to outlast No. 9 Nolan Noonan (33-7) of Cascade, 3-2. It was still 1-1 after the one-minute, sudden-victory period. James chose the down position in the first 30-second tiebreaker. He earned a stalling point and an escape to go up 3-1. Noonan escaped with five seconds left in the next 30-second tiebreaker, but James held on for the win to the delight of the Underwood faithful.
“One of the main things we prepared for this match was being able to hand fight, and that’s probably the best I’ve hand fought in a long time,” James said. “I was just dogging him down, snap-downs, snap-downs, over and over again. That really took a toll on him.”
At 138, second-rated Hamilton (50-2) of Underwood controlled No. 8 Grant Hoeger (40-7) of Dyersville Beckman, 6-2. He said he’s honored to join Barnes as freshmen in the finals from his school.
“Me and Stevie are just going to start a tradition in our school,” he said.
Reisz (56-0), last year’s runner-up at 113, is back in the finals after a 3-1 win over No. 3 Cole Cassady (35-3) of Martensdale-St. Marys.
In last year’s district tournament, Cassady beat Reisz. This year, Reisz took control.
“He wrestled a really smart match the whole way,” Lo-Ma coach Dan Thompson said.
Reisz said he was nervous in Friday morning’s 9-5 quarterfinal win over Don Bosco’s Michael McClelland.
“That’s kind of funny when you’re 52-0 coming in here,” Thompson said. “But these are high school kids.”
Reisz believes last year’s finals experience will help him.
“I’ll be a little calmer because I’ve already been through it,” he said. “Just wrestle.”
At 182, AHSTW’s Pauley (36-3) is one victory from a second straight state title after beating No. 6 Carter Murray (38-5) of GT/RA, 5-3.
A wrestling website posted a quote on Twitter from Pauley after his quarterfinal win that said, “I’m gonna beat the crap out of whoever is next.”
AHSTW coach Evan McCarthy said that affected him a bit.
“Honestly, I think he was a little tight,” he said. “I think he was really worried about losing tonight and kind of maybe getting laughed at a little bit for what he said.”
Iowa high school state wrestling tournament semifinal results
Team leaders: 1, Waverly-Shell Rock 126; 2, Southeast Polk 108; 3, Fort Dodge 81.5; 4, Ankeny Centennial 78; 5, WDM Valley 58.
182: Devin Ludwig, Western Dubuque, dec. Brett Mower, Glenwood, 9-7.
220: Cameron Baker, Thomas Jefferson, dec. Travis Theisen, Le Mars, 3-1.
120: Aiden Evans, Bettendorf, major dec. Nick Walters, SC North, 10-2.
160: Preston Terry, Burlington, major dec. Parker Klocke, Carroll, 10-2.
195: Noah Carter, Glenwood, dec. Aaron Ungs, Storm Lake, 15-9.
120: Cullan Schriever, Mason City, dec. Nick Walters, SC North, 6-2.
160: Luke Fistler, Dallas Center-Grimes, dec. Parker Klocke, Carroll, 4-3.
182: Brett Mower, Glenwood, dec. Matthew Scott, DM East, 5-3.
195: Brayden Wolf, Waverly-Shell Rock, pinned Noah Carter, Glenwood, 1:09.
220: Cameron Baker, Thomas Jefferson, pinned Shane Mathias, Muscatine, 1:07.
106: Lane Cowell, Fort Dodge, dec. Tanner Wink, Lewis Central, 11-4.
120: Nick Walters, SC North, dec. Bryce Parke, Linn-Mar, 9-6.
132: Evan Yant, Waverly-Shell Rock, pinned Brian Paul, Lewis Central, 1:45.
145: Andrew Rohret, Clear Creek-Amana, dec. Abraham Dirkx, Carroll, 4-2.
160: Parker Klocke, Carroll, pinned Lincoln Willett, Cedar Falls, 3:55.
195: Noah Carter, Glenwood, dec. Jacob Byers, Thomas Jefferson, 2-1 (TB-1).
Team leaders: 1, West Delaware 56.5; 2, Union 54.5; 3, Solon 52.5; 4, Centerville 51; 5, Independence 49. Also from WI: 9, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 45; 12, Red Oak 38.5.
132: Jack Gaukel, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, dec. Jalen Schropp, Williamsburg, 3-1.
138: Chase McLaren, Atlantic, dec. Jarod Kadel, Columbus, 7-4.
152: Kyler Rieck, Spirit Lake Park, dec. Easton Graff, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, 6-5.
160: Justin McCunn, Red Oak, dec. Zach Williams, Osage, 7-1.
285: Derec Weyer, Harlan, pinned Kobe Clayborne, SC Heelan, 1:32.
113: Sam Nelson, Clear Lake, pinned Johnathon Erp, Red Oak, 3:50; Brayden Graff, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, major dec. Kolten Crawford, Union, 11-2.
138: Jadyn Peyton, West Delaware, pinned Isaac Bryan, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, 3:59.
152: Mitchel Mangold, West Delaware, tech. fall Connor Pellett, Atlantic, 18-3.
170: Spencer Mooberry, Osage, dec. Jackson Kinsella, Creston, 7-6.
195: Thomas Bentley, Red Oak, pinned Andy Murphy, Decorah, :43.
113: Matthew Lewis, Centerville, major dec. Brayden Graff, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, 8-0.
132: Jack Gaukel, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, pinned Remington Hanson, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, 4:21.
138: Chase McLaren, Atlantic, dec. Luke Radeke, Vinton-Shellsburg, 10-7; Jack Thomsen, Union, dec. Brennan Todd, SC Heelan, 8-2.
145: Colby Tool, PCM, dec. Oscar Olmos, Harlan, 7-0.
152: Kyler Rieck, Spirit Lake Park, pinned Connor Pellett, Atlantic, 1:36; Easton Graff, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, dec. Zack Bevans, Solon, 3-1.
160: Justin McCunn, Red Oak, pinned Cole Davis, Independence, 3:09.
113: Johnathon Erp, Red Oak, dec. Johnny Hua, MOC-Floyd Valley, 10-5; Brayden Graff, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, tech. fall Lincoln Holub, Mount Vernon, 16-1.
138: Isaac Bryan, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, dec. Brennan Todd, SC Heelan, 3-1.
145: Keaton Wilson, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, pinned Oscar Olmos, Harlan, 1:13.
152: Connor Pellett, Atlantic, pinned Cole Nauman, East Marshall, 3:03.
160: Austin Beaver, West Liberty, dec. Luke Martin, SC Heelan, 4-2.
170: Spencer Mooberry, Osage, major dec. Frank Vondrak, SC Heelan, 12-2; Jackson Kinsella, Creston, pinned Aiden Carr, Gilbert, 3:06.
182: Dylan Jeffers, Keokuk, pinned Beau Barncastle, Creston, 3:00.
195: Thomas Bentley, Red Oak, pinned Bryce Hoyle, Greene County, 2:45.
220: Dakoda Powell, Spirit Lake Park, pinned Cale Roller, Atlantic, 1:51; Seth Adrian, Davenport Assumption, pinned Joseph Arkfeld, Harlan, 1:22.
Team leaders: 1, Don Bosco 133; 2, Underwood 88.5; 3, Lisbon 87.5; 4, Denver 74; 5, West Sioux 70. Also from WI: 7, Missouri Valley 40; 9, Logan-Magnolia 31.5.
106: Stevie Barnes, Underwood, dec. Clayton McDonough, Central Springs, 4-2 (SV-1).
113: Aidan Noonan, Cascade, dec. Hagen Heistand, Logan-Magnolia, 7-0.
126: Briar Reisz, Logan-Magnolia, dec. Cole Cassady, Martensdale-St. Marys, 3-1.
132: Logan James, Underwood, dec. Nolan Noonan, Cascade, 3-2 (TB-2).
138: Nick Hamilton, Underwood, dec. Grant Hoeger, Dyersville Beckman, 6-2.
160: John Henrich, Akron-Westfield, pinned Michael Baker, Underwood 1:08.
182: Gabe Pauley, AHSTW, dec. Carter Murray, GT/RA, 5-3.
285: Arron Olson, Missouri Valley, dec. Taylor Fox, East Buchanan, 5-2.
145: Blake Thomsen, Underwood, dec. Max Wettengel, Don Bosco, 10-6; Duke Kyle, Missouri Valley, dec. Ryne Mohrfeld, Lisbon, 8-2.
152: Cooper Andreassen, English Valleys/Tri-County, pinned Tanner Owens, Underwood, :36; Kade Chance, Cardinal, dec. Connor Lange, Missouri Valley.
160: Drew Venteicher, Bedford/Lenox, dec. Bryson Freeberg, Tri-Center, 4-0.
170: Nick Haynes, Missouri Valley, dec. Mason Wickman, Alburnett, 11-9 (SV-1).
220: Chance Strough, Bedford/Lenox, dec. Dylan Obermeier, Audubon, 5-2.
285: Brock Farley, Denver, pinned Barrett Pitt, Logan-Magnolia, 3:58.
106: Stevie Barnes, Underwood, tech. fall Jader Briggs, Akron-Westfield, 20-4.
113: Hagen Heistand, Logan-Magnolia, dec. Jakob Whitinger, Nashua-Plainfield, 9-4.
126: Briar Reisz, Logan-Magnolia, dec. Michael McClelland, Don Bosco, 9-5.
132: Logan James, Underwood, dec. Jacob McBride, Mason City Newman, 3-2.
138: Nick Hamilton, Underwood, dec. Riley Wright, Denver, 7-5.
145: Michael Egan, MFL-Mar-Mac, pinned Duke Kyle, Missouri Valley, :42; Brady Hahn, Highland, by disqualification over Blake Thomsen, Underwood.
160: Michael Baker, Underwood, dec. Elijah Wagner, Lake Mills, 3-1 (SV-1); Mason Griffin, Emmetsburg, dec. Bryson Freeberg, Tri-Center, 5-3 (TB-2); Carson Tenold, Don Bosco, tech. fall Drew Venteicher, Bedford/Lenox, 20-4.
170: Garret Bruce, East Sac County, pinned Nick Haynes, Missouri Valley, 2:30.
182: Gabe Pauley, AHSTW, dec. Quinton Rechkemmer, North Linn, 5-2.
220: Garet Sims, Iowa Valley, pinned Chance Strough, Bedford/Lenox, :37; Brett Schoenherr, Midland, dec. Dylan Obermeier, Audubon, 4-1.
285: Arron Olson, Missouri Valley, dec. Rylan Duffy, Wapsie Valley, 6-4; Taylor Fox, East Buchanan, dec. Barrett Pitt, Logan-Magnolia, 3-0.
106: Jaymus Wilson, Alburnett, tech. fall Elliot Cooney, Nodaway Valley, 17-1; Joe Ebaugh, Denver, pinned Jace Rose, Riverside, 5:39.
113: Jakob Whitinger, Nashua-Plainfield, pinned Mick Schroder, Riverside, 3:16.
120: Blaine Beeler, AC/GC, dec. Connor Attkisson, Tri-Center, 3-2; Cauy Fitch, Colfax-Mingo, dec. Weston Allen, Underwood, 11-5.
126: Michael McClelland, Don Bosco, dec. Zane Ziegler, Underwood, 8-4.
132: Jacob McBride, Mason City Newman, dec. Gabe Smith, Riverside, 10-3.
138: Lawson Losee, Riceville, pinned Teagan Lundquist, Southwest Valley, 3:09.
145: Duke Kyle, Missouri Valley, pinned Jarrett Stodghill, North Mahaska, :42; Blake Thomsen, Underwood, tech. fall Mark Dawson, Eagle Grove, 21-6.
152: Tanner Owens, Underwood, pinned Garrett Arment, Woodbury Central, 1:46; Connor Lange, Missouri Valley, dec. Kameron Black, Mason City Newman, 3-2.
160: Drew Venteicher, Bedford/Lenox, tech. fall Spencer Amling, Edgewood-Colesburg, 14-8; Bryson Freeberg, Tri-Center, dec. Chase McAlister, South Central Calhoun, 7-5 (SV-1).
170: Nick Haynes, Missouri Valley, pinned Luke Groves, North Mahaska, 2:50.
182: Colby Page, SE Warren, pinned Brennon Mauer, Treynor, 3:01.
195: Kanan Morris, Alburnett, pinned Luke Mosinski, Audubon, :59; Ethan Allie, Belle Plaine, dec. Darius Gashe, West Monona, 5-4.
220: Dylan Obermeier, Audubon, pinned Cale Anthony, Pleasantville, 3:27; Chance Strough, Bedford/Lenox, pinned Tanner Hagen, West Hancock, 5:48.