There are bigger goals ahead and bigger tournaments in the past for the Southeast Polk wrestling team, but the CIML meet is front and center for now for the Rams.
The top-ranked team in the state rolled through the regular season, winning all 23 of its dual meets by a whopping 57-point average margin.
The Rams made their mark on the national level, topping a star-studded field in January to win the prestigious Cheesehead Invitational in Wisconsin, and they currently sit at No. 17 in the InterMat Fab 50.
The biggest goals on Southeast Polk’s preseason list of objectives are still two weeks away when the state tournament championship series begins in Wells Fargo Arena.
“We go to practice every day knowing we want to get that state title at the end of the year,” Southeast Polk 138-pounder Dylan Buchheit said. “That’s motivation.”
For now, though, the primary mission for the Rams is to capture their third straight CIML title and blow away the field in the process. The conference meet begins at 3:30 p.m. today at Southeast Polk High School.
“Southeast Polk is a clear favorite,” Valley coach Travis Young said. “After that, there’s a mix of teams in there. With the year Ankeny’s had, they would probably be the No. 2 right now and Dowling’s had a good year and Indianola’s wrestling better. There is some parity after Southeast Polk.”
Ankeny went 28-1 in duals. Indianola swept through the Metro Division. Dowling Catholic compiled a 13-2 record in duals, captured the CIML Western Division title and stands one victory from reaching the state duals for the first time in 20 years.
“We’re one of the teams that would like to think we can make things interesting with (Southeast Polk),” Dowling Catholic coach Jon Garvin said. “I don’t want to say we’re looking to get second place, but … we’re looking to finish ahead of pretty much everybody else there and see how interesting we can make it with (Southeast Polk).”
Seven Rams — Nolan Hellickson (106), Buchheit, Sam Jones (152), Tim Miklus (160), Dylan Blackford (170), Ethan Anderson (195) and Bryce Fisher (220) — earned No. 1 seeds and four others are seeded second.
Ankeny, with John Ware at 182 and heavyweight Xavier Quigley, and Indianola, with John Gioffredi at 120 and Matt Victor at 145, are the only other schools with more than one No. 1 seed.