The Glenwood wrestling team will send four wrestlers to this week’s Iowa State Wrestling Tournament and all four are unranked.
And that’s just the way Ram head coach Brad Asche likes it.
“We like being the underdog. The surprise,” the coach said. “We’re the underdog right away because all four of our kids didn’t place first in the district and playing kids who won their districts. So we look to surprise some people.”
A.J. Clark, Jesse Bendt, Hunter Hoffman and Alex Killpack will compete for Glenwood this week at the state wrestling tournament. Matches get underway at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Thursday in all three classes. Glenwood will open the tournament as part of the Class 3A portion beginning at 9 a.m.
At the Glenwood district, Council Bluffs Lewis Central qualified five wrestlers for state and edged Sioux City North 196 to 183.5 for the district title.
Glenwood was fourth in the team standings with 162 points.
All four Rams will be making their first state tournament appearances.
A.J. Clark is the Rams’ lone senior qualifier. The four year letterwinner heads to state for the first time after battling but ultimately falling to Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson’s Mikey Wallace in the championship match at 138 pounds.
Clark defeated Council Bluffs Lewis Central’s Nick Ruis in the opening round and Sioux City West’s Taron Flemister in the semifinals to reach the finals.
“He wrestled really well,” Asche said of Clark. “He had to comeback in his semifinal match down 7-2 at one point, and he ended up doing it. It was a good atmosphere and I think being at home helped out a lot.”
Killpack was the other Ram to reach the finals. The 285 pound junior battled Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln’s Jordan Bywater into the waning seconds when Bywater got escape and stunning takedown to get the win.
The Rams Jesse Bendt (132 pounds) and Hunter Hoffman (182) both won wrestleback matches to secure their state spots.
Bendt pinned Sioux City West’s Brandon Knutson in 3:25 in their match.
“Jesse was behind a couple of good wrestlers the last couple years. He’s really come into his own this year on the mat and he’s only lost to a few Iowa kids all year. Most of his losses are from out of state,” said Asche.
“I think we dug ourselves a little hole to start and had to rely on some other people that fell through,” said the coach. “I’d always like to see a few more guys go (to state). It’s an accomplishment.”
Hoffman scored a 9-7 decision over Jake Morgan of Thomas Jefferson.
“He did alright,” Asche said of Hoffman. “He had to rely on the kid who beat him in the semifinals to pull through (in the championship) and that ended up happening so that’s a big deal. He planned on being at the state tournament and he did that.”
1. Council Bluffs Lewis Central, 196. 2. Sioux City North, 183.5. 3. Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson, 182. 4. Glenwood, 162. 5. Sioux City East, 128.5. 6. Sioux City West, 87. 7. Abraham Lincoln, 86. 8. Denison, 64.