SIBLEY, Iowa -- Woodbury Central coach Jake Thomas knew his team was in for a dogfight at the Class 1A district tournament in Sibley. The Wildcats came in as the sixth-ranked team in Class 1A but were not the top-ranked team coming in.
West Sioux was ranked No. 5.
The Wildcats tried to stay with the Falcons throughout Saturday’s action but the Falcons came out as the top team, winning the district title and qualifying eight for the state tournament.
However, the Wildcats still had a successful day even if that meant not winning the district title. Woodbury Central had three individual district champions - Beau Klingensmith (113), Nate Monahan (138) and Wade Mitchell (145) and Tristen Jessen (126) - and Garrett Arment (152) were runners-up, giving the Wildcats five state qualifiers.
“Districts are always going to be a bittersweet day. Very seldom do you come in here and clean house all of the way through. So there are going to be some highs and lows and that’s the sport of wrestling,” Thomas said. “I was really happy with the three champs that we had. Those guys all looked dominant. That’s what we are looking for out of those guys and Tristen is a tough freshman that got through and Garrett, we liked the way he wrestled in that finals match. We have a week to work on some things now.”
The competition is exactly what Woodbury Central needed, too. The Wildcats have dealt with some injuries and sicknesses and had a couple of weeks off before sectionals. Some of the matches Woodbury Central had for its state qualifiers went the distance and that’s exactly what Thomas wanted to see.
“I think we are still building some gas tanks and that’s what we needed, some long matches to help build that and that’s hard to replicate in the room,” Thomas said. “We had about two weeks off after Ida Grove without competition. We will build on this and hopefully ride this into state and place five guys.”
Klingensmith was one of the few Wildcats who didn’t have a match go the distance. He might have spent the least amount of time on the mat than anyone on Saturday.
The No. 2-ranked 113-pound sophomore put away his first opponent in 36 seconds. His championship match with West Sioux’s Cullen Koedam did last longer by only about 13 seconds. Klingensmith wasn’t even on the mat for a full first period on Saturday.
It showed Klingensmith is having fun on the mat and isn’t letting the pressure get to him as he heads to the state tournament.
“The first couple of weeks after competition after break, I had two losses and I felt like I had a lot of pressure on me. When I lost those two matches, the coaches and I sat down and said that was the best thing for me,” Klingensmith said. “You are going to come back and it’s going to pay off in February. We’ve been working hard in the room and I love seeing the guys win out there. Getting back to state was a big deal for me.”
“This year we are hoping for me to win it. I just have to wrestle my best and get ready for the final.”
Klingensmith finished in third place at 106 pounds as a freshman last season. His goal is to be on the top spot on the podium this season.
“I feel pretty confident. Getting beat by one in the semis last year and getting third, it kind of sparked a fire in me,” Klingensmith said. “I became a better leader and I learned a lot about myself and what my abilities are to bounce back and get third as a freshman. My coaches had faith in me and are always building me back up and have me going my hardest.”
Mitchell’s first-round match against West Sioux’s Andrew Cox went the distance at 145 pounds. He controlled the match, coming away with a 15-5 major decision.
In the title match, Mitchell, who is 38-1 on the season, ended the match earlier, winning by fall over South Central Calhoun’s Blake McAlister in 2:32.
In each match, Mitchell was able to pile up the points with a good number of takedowns.
“That’s pretty much how I wanted it to go. I like to score a lot on my feet so that was fun. The cheerleaders did a great job with the muffins today. I think that was the key,” said Mitchell, who has been dealing with an elbow injury the past few weeks. “The elbow is doing great. Just gotta forget about it when I am wrestling and do what I can do.”
It’s the third time qualifying for a Mitchell, a junior who is ranked No. 2 at 145 pounds. He was the runner-up at 145 last year and he only has one goal currently.
“I would say I am right where I need to be right now and I am excited for what’s to come,” Mitchell said. “(The title) is everything to me.”
Monahan won his first round match by fall in 3:42 and then the No. 6-ranked junior 138-pounder won a tough-fought 10-4 decision over Carson Lynott for the district title.
Jessen edged Akron-Westfield’s Aydin Dicks 3-2 in the first round but lost by tech fall in the title match to sixth-ranked Trey Schuck, of Sibley-Ocheyedan, in the title match at 126. But he still advanced as the runner-up as a freshman.
Arment, a senior ranked No. 5 at 152, won by fall in 33 seconds in the semifinal. He lost in the championship match in the ultimate tiebreaker 6-4 to West Sioux’s Kory Van Oort but he had enough in the tank to win his runner-up match by fall in 43 seconds over Westwood’s Nathan Fylstra.