It’s fair to say Southeast Polk saw this coming.
For the fifth year in a row, the Rams rolled into the Class 3A finals of the state dual team tournament, and just like in 2013 and 2015, raised a trophy before the sprawling individual tournament began.
But on Wednesday, there were championship t-shirts ready.
New Hampton and Lisbon dominated their dual finals too, but neither passed out yellow tops that claimed, “Can’t spell ‘state champs’ without SEP.”
“The state duals is a team thing and it’s not about individuals,” Southeast Polk coach Jason Christenson said. “We don’t have any champs on this team. That’s kind of what makes this group special is that they’ve all got bigger goals.”
The championships that have grown increasingly close in recent years were routs on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Arena. A full day of duals was set up only for the three top-ranked teams to cruise, crushing the average margin of victory of five points over the past two tournaments.
Southeast Polk won 48-18 over a strong Fort Dodge squad, New Hampton took 2A from Solon by a 45-23 score, and Lisbon got back on top of 1A with coach Brad Smith, beating Don Bosco of Gilbertville 45-26.
“Once our heavyweight came up with the win, it pumped me up and pumped the whole team up, and I just went in there excited and ready to go,” Lisbon’s 106-pound sophomore Cobe Siebrecht said after logging a pin in 10 seconds. “We were all hungry for this state title.”
New Hampton and Lisbon each won their fourth dual titles. It was the first for the Chickasaws since 2005, while Smith has waited since 1991 to win again with the Lions.
“We’ve just gotten better every year,” Smith said. “The kids bought into what our coaches were telling them. That’s what it takes. It’s just constantly working in the offseason, doing whatever you can to get better. We don’t sit around and do nothing in the offseason.”
Fort Dodge needed wins from the final weight class in duals against North Scott and Valley, setting up their first team meeting with Southeast Polk this season. The unbeaten Rams never trailed and recorded four straight pins from 170 to 220 pounds to put the showdown away.
“We’ve worked hard all season and we kind of knew what was going to happen coming into this,” said Gavin Babcock, Southeast Polk’s senior at 170. “I feel like after (152) we started rattling wins off and got the momentum going.
“There’s no need to make it close if it doesn’t have to be.”
Solon stormed to its first state dual finals appearance by putting up better than 60 points against Sergeant Bluff-Luton and Washington in the 2A bracket. New Hampton quickly extinguished that energy as Michael Millage moved up from 126 to 132 to log the first of his team’s five pins.
“There were a couple swing matches that didn’t go our way,” Solon coach Blake Williams said. “Hats off to New Hampton. They outwrestled us and they’ve got a great team.
“I don’t think we had our best effort.”
The state individual tournament begins with 3A at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Class 3A—Southeast Polk 48, Fort Dodge 18
Class 2A—New Hampton 45, Solon 23
Class 1A—Lisbon 45, Don Bosco 26
Class 3A—1. Southeast Polk; 2. Fort Dodge; 3. Waverly-Shell Rock; 4. W.D.M. Valley; 5. North Scott; 6. Cedar Rapids Prairie; 7. Western Dubuque; 8. Indianola.
Class 2A—1. New Hampton; 2. Solon; 3. Davenport Assumption; 4. Washington; 5. Denver-Tripoli; 6. Sergeant Bluff-Luton; 7. Creston/Orient-Macksburg; 8. Atlantic/CAM.
Class 1A—1. Lisbon; 2. Don Bosco; 3. Lake Mills; 4. Missouri Valley; 5. Sibley-Ocheyedan; 6. Logan-Magnolia; 7. Wapsie Valley; 8. Interstate 35.