DES MOINES | John Henrich will battle for every point.
The evidence was all over his face. It took that kind of determination as he took out Iowa Valley's No. 1 Jacob Krakow 4-3 in the championship match at 160 pounds at the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday.
"I was in good position so I didn't need to take bad shots, I was only going to take the shots that were there," said Henrich, who was left with blood trickling from a pair of spots on his face after a week of battles to claim his crown. "The third period, I don't know, I had to gut it out I guess.
"It is 10, 11 years in the making and all of the dues finally paid off. I have been hoping to be a state champ for three years and I finally got it done."
Henrich, a sophomore, struck first against Krakow getting a first-period takedown before his opponent got the reverse to tie the score. The Westerner would get the escape to take a 3-2 lead into the second period where all he gave up was an escape to tie things up.
Henrich would win as he got out from bottom with ease in just 13 seconds to begin the third period.
"The finals was a weight lifted off my shoulders because it is go time now," said Henrich, who transferred to Akron from Rapid City, South Dakota to begin his sophomore year. "One match to go give it your all."
Henrich, 43-0, was so dominant that 34 of his 43 wins this season were by bonus points. He is Akron-Westfield's first finalist since Joe Sievert won the 160-pound title in 2009.
"This is huge for our program," Akron-Westfield Coach Dustin Meinen said. "Hopefully kids are going to see this kid in school every day and say 'Maybe I can do this too.' It is just good things for our program."
The result was not as satisfying for Sibley-Ocheyedan's second-ranked Dylan Schuck as he fell to Dike-New Hartford's top-seeded Trent Johnson 6-2 at 145 pounds.
Johnson was able to win the key positions where both wrestlers were going for takedowns or throw attempts. The Wolverine led 2-1 after the first period and added on a reverse and another takedown in the second.
"You just have to wrestle with no regrets and I felt like I gave it my all," Schuck said. "Just a couple of those roll throughs I have to keep my hips up and in good position."
Generals Coach Ben Strandberg said the loss was disappointing for his senior, but it is hardly the end of the road for the Augustana University recruit.
"He has put in a lot of time and hard work to get where he is and he is not done," Strandberg said. "He has a great career ahead of him at Augustana and I think we will see big things there. Sometimes this is one of those things that motivate you to make you a better wrestler."
Schuck may not have gotten the individual title he wanted but he did play a key part in helping Sibley-Ocheyedan into third place in the Class 1A team standings. The Generals finished just one point behind Don Bosco for second place, 76-75.
"The Dons are a great team and we are right there," Strandberg said. "We held the second place spot all the way until that last round and it really came down to a couple wrestlers, but we left a couple points in a lot of different matches.
"A third-place trophy for our program in the individual is huge, especially in Northwest Iowa. It is not every year we bring home something like that."
Sibley-Ocheyedan's previous best finish as a team at state was last year's 11th.
The last Siouxland teams to secure a top-three finish at state and bring home a trophy were Akron-Westfield and Central Lyon when they tied for third place in 2007.
Schuck's record-setting career leaves his name all over the Sibley-Ocheyedan record book, and his 154 pins rank him second in the state all-time behind Union's Max Thomsen's 157.
"I have accomplished a lot, just a lot of great things, just this one last thing I wish I would have got that state title," said Schuck, who concluded his career with 200 victories.