WAUKEE, Iowa – Most kids in Kenny Lampman’s position would have quit.
That’s what Glenwood coach Brad Asche told his 195-pound senior the week leading up to the first and final district wrestling tournament of his career.
For three and a half years, Lampman hustled and honed his craft on the JV squad while his highly touted classmates soaked up the spotlight.
He got his first taste of varsity wrestling in January after the guy in front of him chose to leave the team, and soon became a fixture on the medal stand.
On Saturday, Lampman finally ascended to the top, claiming the 195-pound Class 3-A District 8 championship – and a state tournament berth – with a 9-8 victory over Ankeny’s Cole Rathjen.
“I’ve been practicing four years for this moment,” Lampman said. “I came into the wrestling room freshman year not knowing anything, so I’m just ecstatic right now.
“I took my chance when I saw it, and now I’m going to state. I’m pumped.”
Lampman was one of seven Rams and nine area wrestlers to qualify for state.
Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln senior Lanny Herzog became a three-time state qualifier at 152 pounds, and Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson senior Cesar Salazar picked up back-to-back state berths in unusual fashion at 132.
Waukee was the team district champion with 215 points, while Glenwood took runner-up with 195.5. Abraham Lincoln was sixth with 85, and Thomas Jefferson finished seventh with 84.
Glenwood’s Trevor Anderson (145), Anthony Sherry (182) and Caleb Sanders (285) all earned district titles. Jordan Renshaw (152) took runner-up, and Brett Mower (160) and Isaac Bales (220) both wrestled back to seal state berths.
But at the end of the tournament, everyone was buzzing over Lampman’s triumph.
“I’m really proud of Kenny Lampman,” Bales said. “He put a lot work into it. He deserves it.”
Lampman, who was seeded fifth, opened the day with a 10-8 decision over Abraham Lincoln’s Javier Huerta. He then upset top-seeded Nate Heckart of Norwalk by a 5-1 decision to earn a trip to the finals.
The championship match was a wild, back-and forth affair until the end, but Lampman got the edge in the third period and fended off several shots in the waning moments. His reaction in the aftermath was joy mixed with disbelief.
After the official raised his hand, he put both arms in the air and embraced the coach who suggested he could be a Glenwood wrestling folk hero.
“I told him this week, ‘I want to tell your story the rest of my life,’” Asche said. “After being in JV for three years in a tough sport like wrestling, most kids would have quit. He didn’t. He stuck it out. He got his chance, and he showed everybody that he’s worthy of that shot.”
The Rams, who were district champs a year ago, had to go through some stiff competition to reach the sport’s biggest stage this year.
Anderson grinded out a 3-2 decision over Waukee’s Brock Parker in a matchup between the second and fourth-ranked 145-pounders in 3-A. Sanders, the top-ranked heavyweight in 3-A, topped No. 3 Nathan McDonald of Waukee in a 7-3 decision, while Sherry took No. 3 Brandon Tessau of Waukee off guard with a lateral drop that turned into a first-period fall in 36 seconds.
Top-seeded and third-ranked Bales let a seven-point lead go to waste when he got pinned by Norwalk’s Drake Leek in the third period of the 220-pound title match, but he came back strong with a first-period fall over Waukee’s Gabe Gammell in the wrestleback.
“I was pretty upset, but I had to realize, ‘It’s in the past now; got to finish what I started,” Bales added.
No. 6 Herzog took another step toward his goal of ending his prep career on the state podium by topping Glenwood’s Renshaw in a 7-5 decision.
“That’s been his goal since he stepped in the door at A.L.: Get on the medal stand.” Abraham Lincoln coach Mat Daniels said. “He’s come short so far. He’s worked hard. He’s really close. Hopefully he can get there.”
With the win, Herzog snagged his second district title and improved to 47-2 on the year.
“That probably wasn’t my best match,” Herzog said. “I made simple mistakes that we’re going to work on. The main things is, just getting back in the room on Monday and focusing.”
The Lynx nearly had a second state qualifier.
A.L. senior 132-pounder Gage Sorensen avenged a Missouri River Conference championship loss to T.J.’s Salazar in the semifinals. Then, in the title match, he was seconds away from advancing to state by rule when he was disqualified for a shot to his opponent’s head.
As a result, Salazar – who won the third-place match – was bumped up to the runner-up spot.
“Well, he has been given a second chance,” Thomas Jefferson coach August Manz said. “Hopefully he takes advantage of it.”
Team scoring: 1, Waukee 215; 2, Glenwood 195.5; 3, Norwalk 181.5; 4, Ankeny 171.5; 5, Perry 102.5; 6, CB Abraham Lincoln 85; 7, CB Thomas Jefferson 84; 8, Carroll 80.
106: 1, Lucas Uliano, Waukee; 2, Grant Harbour, Norwalk. 113: 1, Caleb Rathjen, Ankeny; 2, Nick Miller, Waukee. 120: 1, Kyle Biscoglia, Waukee; 2, Zachary Thompson, Perry. 126: 1, Kaleb Olejniczak, Perry; 2, Cory Anderson, Perry. 132: 1, Spencer Anderson, Ankeny; 2, Cesar Salazar, Thomas Jefferson. 138: 1, Zach Stewart, Perry; Carter Schmidt, Norwalk. 145: 1, Trevor Anderson, Glenwood; 2, Brock Parker, Waukee. 152: 1, Lanny Herzog, Abraham Lincoln; 2, Jordan Renshaw, Glenwood. 160: 1, Parker Klocke, Carroll; 2, Brett Mower, Glenwood. 170: 1, Anthony Zach, Waukee; 2, Jack Livingston, Norwalk. 182: 1, Anthony Sherry, Glenwood; 2, Brandon Tessau, Waukee. 195: 1, Kenny Lampman, Glenwood; Nate Heckart, Norwalk. 220: 1, Drake Leek, Norwalk; 2, Isaac Bales, Glenwood. 285: 1, Caleb Sanders, Glenwood; 2, Nathan McDonald, Waukee.