Impressive. Imposing. Extraordinary.
Take your pick. Any of those words would be a fitting description for Lance Evans’ performance at the state wrestling tournament.
The soft-spoken Solon senior had his own word for describing his 220-pound semifinal match Friday at Wells Fargo Arena.
“Dominant,” Evans said.
Well said, Lance.
Evans continued his stroll through the bracket with a 15-0 technical fall over third-ranked Dallon Bendorf of Harlan in the semifinals.
Friday’s semifinal win was Evans’ third straight state tournament win over a ranked opponent that failed to go the final six minutes, and sends Evans into today’s finals, which begin at 6 p.m.
“I just want to go out and dominate,” Evans said. “That’s always want I want to do, is just be dominant.”
Evans (30-0) was plenty dominant Friday.
He advanced to the semifinals with his second straight pin, a second-period fall of sixth-ranked Tyler Johansen of North Fayette Valley in the morning’s quarterfinals.
He then made short work of Bendorf in the semifinals, racking up three takedowns and three three-point near falls on his way to the 15-0 victory, which ended at the 5:17 mark.
“He’s been incredibly impressive,” McLaren said. “You don’t see pins very often at state and for him to have two and a tech fall, it’s unheard of.”
Evans scored a takedown 15 seconds into the match against Bendorf (42-8) and never let up.
“People talk about setting the pace for the match, and that’s what you’ve got to do,” Evans said. “You’ve got to show that guy that you are the best wrestler out there from the very beginning.”
Evans scored his second takedown 30 seconds into the second period and added a three-point near fall in the second to take a 7-0 lead.
“To get another takedown and smash his hopes just a little bit more was big,” Solon coach Brooks McLaren said. “Then to keep hammering on top and get back points was huge.”
Evans put things away early in the third.
He took Bendorf down 35 seconds into the third period and took him straight to his back for another near fall.
Less than 10 seconds later, an Evans bear hug put Bendorf on his back again, ending the match.
“He just keeps getting better and better, and it’s a joy to see because I know he’s put the time in,” McLaren said. “None of this stuff is a fluke, it’s all true and real, it’s just hard work and he’s very focused.”
A familiar foe will be standing in the way of Evans’ first state title and an undefeated season.
The top-ranked senior will face second-ranked Josh Cannon of Mount Vernon for the third time this season in the 220-pound title match tonight.
Evans has pinned Cannon in the first period in each of the first two meetings between the top-two 220-pounders in Class 2A.
In the first meeting between the two, Evans pinned Cannon in 1:51 at the sectional meet earlier this month. He needed just 1:31 to record the fall in their second meet a week later in the district final.
“It doesn’t matter who I wrestle,” Evans said. “My goal is still to go out there and dominate.”
Solon junior Logan Linderbaum, who won a 7-4 decision over No. 7 Dalton Lape in the quarterfinals, dropped his semifinal match at 285 pounds 3-1 to No. 2 Tyler Putney of Forest City.
Linderbaum (35-9) will face West Liberty’s Dylan VanDusen, (36-8) in a 285-pound consolation semifinal today.
“He’s wrestled better than he has all year and it is all confidence,” McLaren said of Linderbaum. “You get down here and you see some kids struggle the first and second rounds with nerves and confidence, but his confidence has rose immensely ever since he got down here.”
Mid-Prairie’s Phirom Peterschmidt and West Liberty’s Elliot Henderson both clinched their second consecutive state medals with consolation victories Friday.
Peterschmidt was pinned by top-ranked Cash Wilcke in the quarterfinals but responded with a pair of wins, including a first-period pin over No. 5 Brad Skubal of Washington.
He will face Algona’s second-ranked Joe Teague (42-1) in a consolation semifinal today.
“Even though I got the first win that means I’m guaranteed to get a medal, I wasn’t satisfied,” Peterschmidt said. “I wanted to keep winning and do better than I did last year. I want to finish it and come back and get third.”
Henderson, who finished eighth last year, will face top-ranked Fletcher Green of Washington in the seventh-place match today.