Creston’s Spencer Wray (left) wrestles with Saydel’s Austin Moen in their class 2A, 138 pound match Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, during the State Wrestling Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
DES MOINES, Ia. — Even a singlet hold didn’t stop Logan Linderbaum.
The Solon senior won his Class 2A first-round match at 285 pounds by decision, 2-1, over North Fayette Valley’s Ethan Lepe, in part, thanks to a technical violation by Lepe, who was holding onto his own singlet. The violation awarded Linderbaum a point and ultimately the match at the state wrestling tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
When offense is at a premium at the heavier weights, even a simple singlet tug could make the difference. Even more so when this is Linderbaum’s last chance at the big stage.
“It’s a game of inches,” Linderbaum said. “Every point is worth something.
“Philosophy doesn’t change much from what I’ve been doing this whole season, especially being a senior. This is the last tournament of the year. How do you want it to end? That plays a big part in it, too.”
Solon had mixed results in the first round Thursday, but ultimately coach TJ Bevans was pleased when the day’s action concluded. Linderbaum, Cole Fritz (138), and Kade Steuhm (145) all won their first-round matches. Louis Gnida (126) and Graeson Dall (152) lost in the first round but won consolation matches, while Trevor Nelson (160) was eliminated with two losses.
Fritz won by sudden victory and Steuhm won by a 9-2 decision.
“We focus a lot on conditioning during practice,” Linderbaum said. “Our conditioning won us two or three matches today. Every day we work on it either before or after practice. Sometimes it’s having fun playing a game of dodgeball or something like that.”
Similar to West High, Solon advanced multiple wrestlers to state, having one of the more well-rounded teams in recent memory.
Linderbaum is the likely headliner, now with a 44-2 record this season, but others followed.
“Coach Bevans has really done a good job of building that mindset for us of working hard every day and continuing to build off it,” Linderbaum said. “Our wrestling program was down for a couple years, and then last year, bringing four guys back to state. Hopefully it can be an annual thing for us.”
Bevans was equally complimentary of his heavyweight grappler.
“That was a Logan Linderbaum match,” Bevans said. “He wins a lot of matches 2-1, we sometimes sit on leads. We know we’re very hard to take down. We need more offense, though, if he wants to win this tournament. He needs to produce a little more offense and he will. He tends to wrestle to his opponent. If his opponent shoots a lot, he’ll shoot a lot. If the opponent doesn’t shoot, he won’t shoot.
“Hopefully tomorrow we see a lot more offense out of him. We have a lot of faith in Logan.”
Mid-Prairie’s Duncan McCain posted a win in the first round at 113, but teammates Cameron Tolander (182) and Levi Duwa (195) fell in each of their opening bouts. A pair from West Liberty, Joe Kelly (138) and Bryce Esmoil (195), both lost in the first round.
Connor Murphy of Clear Creek Amana lost his opening match at 120, but stormed back with a pin in only 13 seconds of the consolation round to earn a berth in Friday’s action.
Reach Matt Cozzi at email@example.com or 319-887-5409, and follow him on Twitter at @matt_cozzi.