Zach Price of Johnston reacts after beating Spencer Hutchinson at the Class 3-A district 7 wrestling tournament on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015, at Waukee High School in Waukee, Iowa.
Max Thomsen positioned himself Saturday to spend the next week rewriting a section of Iowa’s high school wrestling record book. The Southeast Polk Rams and Alburnett Pirates positioned themselves to grab the title trophies that slipped through their fingers last year.
Thomsen, a three-time state champion from Union of LaPorte City, extended his winning streak to 191 on Saturday by pinning Charles City’s Jake Niichel in the Class 2-A 145-pound district-title bout in Parkersburg. The Northern Iowa recruit can tie the state mark set by Centerville’s T.J. Sebolt with a win in his next bout, which could come in Wednesday’s state duals.
“I’d be honored to get it and it would be a pretty big deal, but that’s not my main focus,” said Thomsen, who ran his career record to 197-1. “My main focus is getting a state title. That’s what I’m going for.”
Thomsen and the Knights are eyeing a pair of team titles as well. The top-ranked squad in 2-A ran away with a district championship and advanced eight wrestlers to the state traditional meet, which begins Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena.
Two other No. 1 teams took a step Saturday to capture the prize that eluded them a year ago. Southeast Polk and Alburnett had championship hopes slip away during last year’s final round.
The Rams, ranked first in 3-A and eighth nationally, annihilated the field at Ankeny Centennial, qualifying a state-best 13 wrestlers, two more than second-ranked Bettendorf. Southeast Polk coach Jason Christenson barely left his corner chair during the championship round when the Rams reeled off 12 consecutive wins.
Southeast Polk went 38-2 on the day with 22 pins, five technical falls, three major decisions and a victory by injury default.
“When somebody says that you only lost two matches on the day, you scratch your head a little bit and say, ‘Wow,'” Christenson said. “We looked good today. It’s a step in the right direction to where we’re heading.”
All 10 of Alburnett’s district qualifiers advanced to the state meet — including two-time state champion Hunter Washburn — giving the Pirates a numbers edge over Southeast Warren (eight qualifiers), Don Bosco of Gilbertville (seven), Sibley-Ocheyedan (seven) and West Marshall (seven).
Washburn is one of 24 past state champions who advanced Saturday with district titles. That group also included Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont’s Jeren Glosser, who pinned his way through his district bracket in 53 seconds and Lisbon’s Carter Happel, who is aiming for his third title in three years. Glosser and Happel will be vying for the same prize: the 1-A title at 138 pounds.