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Howell earns win at state

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

The East Mills wresting team placed 69th at the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament last weekend.

The Wolverines got a consolation round victory by heavyweight David Howell for their three team points. East Mills tied with Alta-Aurelia, Northrund Kensett, Sigourney-Keota, Southwest Iowa, Wayne-Corydon and West Sioux for 69th place.

“I felt like we wrestled pretty well,” said East Mills coach Claude Lang. “Every match we wrestled was really close. We were one move away from winning just about every match.”

Howell, who  lost his opening round match to Clarion-Goldfield’s Mitch Gambrill, 4-2, bounced back in his first round consolation match with a pin of Nashua-Planefield’s Blane Bark.

On Friday afternoon, Howell faced off against Panorama’s Garrett Johnson for the second time this season. The result was the same as their January meeting with Johnson getting another 1-0 victory.

Howell entered state with a record of 34-1 after missing most of the first month of the season with an injury.

“He was excited to be at state, especially after missing the first part of the year,” Lang said. “He knew he needed to take more chances; it’s hard when you don’t see high quality guys knowing when to take those chances in matches. He lost three matches this season by a combined four points.”

East Mills’ Josh Hopkins dropped both of his first round matches and was eliminated on day one. Jacob Hoch of Southeast Warren defeated Hopkins 7-5 in tough, sudden victory match in the opening round.    

“We knew he needed to win the first match to get on the medal stand,” Lang said. “He had a chance, he was in deep on a shot one time in the overtime but his foot tapped the out of bounds. It’s tough.”

Hopkins was ahead 5-0 early in his consolation bracket match with Wilton’s Kaleb Schmidt and working on a near-pin but a reversal by Schmidt set up his own pin of Hopkins to end his season at state.

Hopkins finished his sophomore season with a record of 39-7.

Southwest Iowa wrestler Craig Rice (31-11) dropped his opening round match to Alburnett’s Zach Fowler, 10-0 before rebounding for a consolation round win over Woodbury Central’s Shane Funk by fall. Rice was eliminated in the consolation second round by fall to Bryce West of Highland-Riverside.