Lisbon’s Carter Happel had several reasons to celebrate Friday.
Happel, ranked No. 1 at 132 pounds, celebrated his birthday with a pin of second-ranked Hunter Washburn of Alburnett in a Class 1-A quarterfinal match at Wells Fargo Arena.
Happel is seeking his second championship after winning it all at 120 last year.
Washburn will fall short of earning his third title in as many years after winning at 106 as a freshman and at 113 as a sophomore.
Happel pinned Washburn in 3:58, his third win over Washburn this season.
“I had a lot of confidence going in,” Happel said. “I’ve already beat him twice, so I figured I could do it again.”
Happel then ousted South Hamilton’s JD Rader in the semifinals to advance to tonight’s final. He will face Colby McIntire of Central Lyon.
Washburn fell in a consolation match by major decision to Audobon’s Jake Mulford. Washburn wrestled despite being hobbled by an injured shoulder suffered in the quarterfinal match.
Twins Justin and Josh Portillo hope to live out a boyhood dream tonight.
Each of the Clarion-Goldfield sophomores will look to win state titles in their respective weight classes after they advanced to the finals in Class 1-A. Justin is at 106 pounds, and Josh is at 113.
The lighter of the brothers says it’s something they’ve been striving for.
“We’ve been thinking about it,” Justin said. “We’re both here to win state. That was the goal for both of us to make it this far.”
Justin says having a brother there to motivate you is a tremendous help.
“It just really helps to have a brother that has as much passion for wrestling as you do,” Justin said. “Because you’re always going to have a training partner to help push you. He’s always pushing me and I’m always pushing him. That’s just good have each other there.”
Josh feels he has a slight advantage due to the weight difference.
“I would say I am because I’m 10 pounds heavier than he is,” Josh said when asked who gets the best of whom during practice.
Justin advanced with a 12-2 major decision over Brock Henderson of North Linn in his semifinal match, while Josh got to the finals after posting a 15-0 technical fall over Jared Hensley of Bedford-Lenox.
“I’m just always trying to score points and to stay aggressive, start to finish,” Justin said.
Justin will face Highland of Riverside’s Drew West in the finals. West is ranked No. 1 and undefeated
Josh posted his biggest win of the tournament in the quarterfinals when he ousted Drew’s brother, top-ranked Bryce West of Highland by a 9-6 decision.
“It feels good,” Josh said of beating the previously undefeated West. “He was the No. 1 guy so I knew it was going to be a tough match. I was ranked No. 2, but I knew I wasn’t that far behind him. I knew I could get him if I just kept scoring points.”
Portillo trailed after an early West takedown, but won with the help of three near fall points.
“I’m pretty good on top, so I was going to try to turn him as soon as I got on top of him,” Portillo said.
Alburnett continued to roll toward its second straight team title. The Pirates were sitting atop the team standings with 101 points and three wrestlers in the finals. Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont made a charge in the semifinals and consolations to close a 21-point gap after the quarterfinals to seven points heading into the finals.
Alburnett coach Kane Thompson liked the way his team charged out in front.
“The guys winning are looking fabulous,” Thompson said. “They’re scoring points and they’re not rattled.”
Zach Fowler at 113 pounds, Bryce Paul at 145 and Dylan Windfield at 170 all advanced for Alburnett.
Paul has won all of his matches in Des Moines by fall after failing to qualify for the tournament last year.
“I told him to keep it going,” Thompson said of Paul’s performance. “He’s been in six-minute battles, so that doesn’t worry me if a kid fights back.”