DES MOINES - Hunter Hoffman and Cole Peckham both earned their first wins at state but the Glenwood wrestling team went home without any medals for the second straight year at the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament in Des Moines last weekend.
Southeast Polk, who also won the state dual title, had 11 medalists on Saturday and ran away with the traditional state title, racking up 180.5 to runner up Bettendorf’s 134.5.
Glenwood finished in a four-way tie in 50th place with Davenport Central, Muscatine and Cedar Rapids Xavier in the team standings. The Rams went without a medal for just the second time since 2008 and just the third time in 36 years.
“It’s disappointing,” said Glenwood coach Brad Asche, whose team lost just one dual all season, to eventual champion Southeast Polk in the dual regional final. “I think we wrestled sort of flat at times and we didn’t really wrestle our best. It’s hard when you’re that close to being there and then you have to wait a whole year to try and get back or realize it’s your last shot. It’s difficult.”
Peckham (113 pounds) and Hoffman (182) earned the Rams’ wins at state – both were their first state victories. Hoffman is a two-time state qualifier and Peckham is a junior who made his first state tournament this season.
Peckham (32-11) dropped a 7-2 decision to Jonah Eide of Dowling Catholic in the 113 pound opener. Peckham won his wrestleback over Zach Blizzard of West Des Moines Valley 8-1 before being knocked out by Nathan Sands of Waverly-Shell Rock 4-2.
“It was big for Cole coming back next year,” Asche said. “It was a good experience for him and for everybody really coming back next year. They’ll come back with different attitudes.”
Hoffman, who was plagued all season by a knee injury, faced a tough draw at 182, Asche said. For the second year in row Hoffman faced off with the top ranked wrestler in his weight class in the opening round.
Hoffman (18-14) fell to North Scott’s Justin Kreiter by pin in the first round but the senior bounced back in his wrestleback to defeat Zach Downs of West Des Moines Valley, 3-1. Kreiter went on to place third.
“It wasn’t a good draw for Hunter,” Asche said of the match with Kreiter. “But you always see good competition at state. All in all it was good for him to get a win. He’s not 100 percent so he’s had to completely change his style of what he’s doing because of his knee injury and he did wrestle pretty well.”
Hoffman was eliminated on Friday when he was pinned by Dylan Fielder
of Western Christian.
At 106 pounds Chase Evans (30-16) lost his opener to Kyle Lowe of Waterloo East by a 3-0 decision. Evan lost his afternoon wrestleback to Erik Birnbaum of Fort Dodge 6-0.
Alijah Jeffery of Linn Marr defeated Ram freshman Matt Malcom (35-19) in their 120 pound opener with a 10-0 major decision. Malcom was eliminated from state in his wrestleback with a 8-5 loss to Fort Dodge’s Kole Evans.
District champion Sam Jameson (38-11) lost a tough 6-3 decision to Pleasant Valley’s Travis Willers in the 126 pound opening round.
“That was (seed) eight, (seed) nine match up and it was probably the spotlight match in that weight class with those two guys,” said Asche. “That kid’s a tough kid. He was a state finalists a couple years ago.”
Jameson and Willers were tied up 3-3 late in the third period when Willer scored a go-ahead point on an escape and then managed to get Jameson on his back for the final two points.
“It was a real good match. He(Willers) battled and got the points when he needed,” Asche said.
Jameson dropped his wrestleback to Austin Hosch of Epworth-West Dubuque in the consolation bracket in a tight 12-11 decision.
At 132 pounds, Jesse Bendt (26-16) was pinned by Kegan Wakefield of Iowa City West in his opener. Bendt dropped his wrestleback to Algona’s Kory Kuecker by fall as well.
Heavyweight Alex Killpack (37-12) lost his opener to Southeast Polk’s Jake Scanlan, 3-1. Killpack was eliminated in his afternoon wrestleback by Keokuk’s Alex Goss in a 7-1 decision.
A disappointing finish aside, Asche sees positives in his team’s state performance.
“We’re going to have to take the experience out of this. This was a fun year; it didn’t end the way we wanted it to but we have a lot of good memories to look back on from this whole season we had together. That’s kind of where we go from here. We have to build for next year right now.”
Asche loses a an experienced group of senior off this year’s team in Jameson, Bendt, Hoffman and Killpack. But he returns Evans, Peckham and Malcom and a strong group of underclassmen.
“We’ll have some holes to fill,” Asche said. “There’s a lot of guys that will have to work hard in the off-season so we’ll need to re-group and get better. Losing those seniors is going to be hard but we’ll have guys step up next year and we’ll be fine.”