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Rams gain ‘experience’ at state

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

    DES MOINES - The Glenwood wrestling team may not have won a match at the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament with its four first-time state qualifiers, but coach Brad Asche is far from disappointed with how his team performed.

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    “I think the guys got a little caught up in the bright lights of state but it was a great experience for all four of them and three of the four will be back next year,” said Asche, the Rams’ first-year head coach. “Sure, there will be a sore feeling in the stomach for another year, until you get there again.
    “Maybe this will put some fire into us for next year. We are definitely headed in the right direction.”
    Bettendorf, who also won the state dual title, was the Class 3A traditional champion, edging Southeast Polk 170 to 156.5 in the point standings.
    Glenwood was one of nine 3A teams to not score a team point.
    The Rams also went without a medal for the first time since 2008 and just the second time in 36  years.
    Jesse Bendt (132 pounds), A.J. Clark (138), Hunter Hoffman (182) and Alex Killpack (285) all made their state debuts for Glenwood at this year’s state tournament.
    Bendt dropped his opening round match at 132-pounds to Bettendorf’s Logan Ryan (38-12) in a tight 3-0 match won by decision. Damone Manning (32-10) of Burlington eliminated Bendt in the consolation bracket with a 16-5 major decision.
    “We had a good plan in that first match to shut him (Ryan) down and he did a good job of that, but he couldn’t quite capitalize on some things we thought he might be able to, he couldn’t turn him. It was difficult to score points on him but he really wrestled a good match,” Asche said.
      Spencer’s Jack Randall (45-4), who went on to place third at 138-pounds, pinned the Rams’ A.J. Clark in Thursday’s opening round.
    “He had a tough draw,” Asche said. “The two kids he wrestled, both medaled. Both were bigger than A.J. and they had good game plans. But it was good to see A.J. make state. He’s worked hard four four years. It’s just unfortunate he couldn’t capitalize on it.”
    Clark’s consolation opponent, Dakota Gray of Fort Madison (36-6), who won by 16-1 technical fall, went on to place fourth.
    In the 182-pound bracket, Hunter Hoffmann (37-11) took a 2-0 lead on Indianola’s Brad Boden (23-5) into the third period but couldn’t hang on. Boden won the match by fall at 5:00.
    “He got up and I don’t know what happened after that,” Asche said of Hoffman’s opening round match. “I don’t think Hunter had been ridden out all year by a kid like he was there. He got a reversal in the third period and he was a little stronger and got him.”
   Layton Fritsch of Dubuque-Hempstead (29-8) won a 3-1 decision over Hoffman to end his state tournament. Both Boden and Fritsch went on to medal.
    Killpack opened his first state tournament against a familiar face: Johnston’s Jake Scanlan (34-7). Killpack had faced Scanlan twice in the regular season, losing both matches. In Thursday’s opening round match, Killpack suffered a similar fate, by fall to Scanlan in 3:06.
    “Alex wrestles him really well on his feet and I thought we could get on the ground and get him out and he ended up getting an arm-bar slapped on him and rolled him over,” said Asche.
   Iowa City West’s Colin Foerstner (29-25) won in overtime over Killpack, 6-3.
    “We have to find a way to win those close matches,” Asche said. “Two of the kids’ Alex beat this season, placed. But sometimes it comes down to draw. Alex just happened to a draw a guy whose had his number all season.”