This is a collection of stories from Saturday's Le Mars Invite
LE MARS, Iowa -- While West Sioux was the team that pulled away for the win at the Le Mars Invite, the host team made some noise as well.
Le Mars was trailing AHSTW, which is ranked No. 9 in Class 1A by The Predicament, for second place going into the championship matches and the placing matches. The Bulldogs were able to push ahead of the Vikings to claim second place as Le Mars finished second at its own tournament with 168.5 points, ahead of AHSTW's 162 points.
"Really we haven't wrestled tournaments well all year. So to come out and perform that well is a good thing for us," Le Mars coach Shane Hessenius said. "We are a more dual-type of team. We have a lot of kids just above-average so to finish that high in a tournament is a really big success for us. I'm really proud of my team and who they are as people, not just wrestlers."
Travis Theisen led the charge for the Bulldogs. Theisen, a senior who only has five losses on the season, received a first-round bye and then won the next two matches by fall.
In the 220-pound title match, Theisen, who is unranked, faced AHSTW's Gavyn Fischer, who is ranked No. 7 in 1A. Theisen controlled a good amount of the match and pulled off the upset with a 7-3 decision, which ended up being key in Le Mars overtaking AHSTW in the final standings.
"He really comes on after Christmas and it's been like that for four years. He's just finding his flow right now. I totally expected him to go out and wrestle really well today," Hessenius said. "The guy he wrestled is solid."
Le Mars had three more wrestlers who reached the finals - Blake Dirksen at 106, Jake Francksen-Small at 152 and Colton Hoag at 170. Francksen-Small, a junior, also picked up his 100th career win at the tournament.
"Blake, I think he won one middle school match for me and that was two years ago. He made a huge jump. The work he put in during the summer and the type of kid he is, for him to make the finals is awesome. He's going to continue to get better because of how hard he works," Hessenius said. "Jake is Mr. Steady. He's an outstanding kid. He's awesome on and off the mat and is a great leader and a great kid and I am proud of him.
"Colton, it was a battle and fight for that title. He's only a sophomore and is going to feed off that. He works hard. "
Jenness continues to dominate
Sheldon/South O'Brien's Luke Jenness came into Saturday's tournament with only one loss on the season. No one came close to handing the senior, who is ranked No. 4 in 2A at 182 pounds, his second loss of the season.
Jenness never got out of the first period. He won his quarterfinal match by fall in 57 seconds and his semifinal didn't last much longer with a pin in 1:17. Jenness then won his title match by fall in 1:14 to improve to 26-1 on the season.
"I haven't done anything. It's all been from God. He's been the one that's blessed me with being able to wrestle and I've just been trying to have fun and wrestle for his glory," Jenness said. "I've been blessed with a great season and I feel I'm learning how to relax more when I am going out there to wrestle. It's just been a long of fun."
Jenness learned to have more fun on the mat because of an unfortunate circumstance. Jenness broke his leg back in April and that put some things in perspective for him.
"The good Lord saw me through rehab and after breaking your leg, you have a new sense of gratitude of being able to wrestle," Jenness said. "I'm not worried about losing. I had to go through a broken leg and I'm just out there to have fun."
Sibley-Ocheyedan's Schuck has matured on the mat
This season is different for Trey Schuck. The last two seasons, Schuck qualified for the state tournament but has yet to win a match at the Wells Fargo Arena. This season he has a different perspective and that's because he's growing up a bit.
Schuck admitted he hasn't wasn't prepared for state the last couple of years. His junior year is different, though.
"I've focused more on getting myself better and helping out the team as much as possible. I feel more focused this year," Schuck said. "It was a little bit of a maturity thing. Looking back, if I lose a match, I am going to look back at it more and learn from it."
Schuck only has two losses on the season and won all three of his matches by fall on Saturday, including in 2:33 in the 126-pound title match. Schuck is now 31-2 on the season.
"I am feeling good. Just score as many points as I can and being dominate in every single match I am in," Schuck said. "I'm ready to go down (to Des Moines) and do some damage. I'm scoring bonus points all of the time and that's what I am looking for. I want it all (at state). That's the main goal."
Sorenson, McElmeel win titles for North
North finished in sixth place at the Invite with 122 points and had three wrestlers go for a title.
Ethan Sorenson's run to the title match was probably the most unexpected but it's been a run that coach John Torno has been waiting for. Sorenson, seeded fourth, knocked off West Sioux's Carson Lynott and then beat Sibley-Ocheyedan's Garrett Sarringar, the No. 2 seed, by a 19-6 major decision in the title match.
Sorenson was coming off a few wins the night before in a few duals North wrestled so the title win capped a good two days for the senior.
"It's a long time coming. In the past two years, I've gotten second here and I've lost by one point each time. I was pretty confident regardless of my seed," Sorenson said. "(Carson) is a good kid and has a lot of potential. That win feels good. At tournaments I just do what I need to get done. He's definitely a good competitor."
The win in the title match was also Sorenson's 100th of his career.
"It was good. If I hadn't won some duals yesterday, I wouldn't be in this position today," Sorenson said. "It definitely feels great. This was a long time coming. I just want to thank all of my coaches and go Stars."
McElmeel, who is No. 8 in 3A at 160 pounds, had an uncomfortable title match. Bellevue's Hunter Clasen came out strong out of the gate with an aggressive brand of wrestling that McElmeel doesn't like to go again.
McElmeel was down 3-1 at one point and Clasen's aggressiveness was bothering him, but McElmeel found a way to get a takedown to tie it at 3-3. Then late in the final period, McElmeel got a reversal for the 5-3 title win.
"That was big because he was aggressive and it's hard to get my stuff going. I had to catch him doing his things when he messed up," McElmeel said. "I don't like wrestling people like that because it's not my style. He had me backed up a little bit. I just decided time was about out so I decided now or never. It was a decent win because I just don't like that style."
Nick Walters, ranked No. 9 in 3A, faced West Sioux's Adam Allard in the 120-pound title match. Allard is the No. 1-ranked wrestler at 120 in 1A and is a two-time state champion. Allard controlled the match but Walter didn't let it get out of hand in the 4-0 loss to Allard.
"Anytime you are wrestling high-caliber competition, we took our changes and tried with the tools we had. Nothing lost in that kind of match," North coach John Torno said. "This is a good stepping stone for the team. Right now we are starting to polish the tools and put everything in place and hope the kids keep wrestling well."