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DES MOINES -- Le Mars 220-pounder Travis Theisen didn’t even know he was going against a top-three wrestler in his quarterfinal match.

All he was focused on was getting back to the way he wrestles, which he didn’t feel he did during the first day of the state tournament even though he did advance to the quarterfinals.

Theisen was aggressive from the start and it paid off as the senior advanced to the Class 3A 220-pound semifinals with a 3-2 decision.

It’s the first time Theisen has qualified for the semifinals at the state tournament.

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2019 State Wrestling Friday
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2019 State Wrestling Friday

“It’s pretty exciting for me. This is probably the best thing I’ve ever accomplished in my life,” Theisen said. “I feel pretty happy about myself.”

North sophomore Nick Walters and Storm Lake senior Aaron Ungs both lost in the quarterfinals but both still became guaranteed placewinners for the first time with wins in the consolation round.

Theisen proved to be the aggressor right away against Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Cam Jones. He was able to get a takedown early to go up 2-0.

Even though Jones got an escape, Theisen stayed in his offense. He didn’t have another takedown but his aggressiveness limited Jones’ offense.

“I felt like I was more physical with my hands and that’s why I got the shot right away,” Theisen said. “I turned out on top so I am pretty happy with myself to make it to the semis.”

Jones got an escape right away in the second period to tie the match at 2-2. Theisen started in the down position to start the third and got an escape to go back up 3-2.

The Le Mars senior was hit with a stall warning with 12 seconds left but he held on to win 3-2.

“I felt like I was more offensive in this match than I was in my last match,” Theisen said. “I felt a lot better about the outcome.”

Theisen came into the match unranked but with 41 wins. Jones was 29-4 and ranked No. 3 at 220 by IAwrestle and No. 2 by The Predicament.

Theisen didn’t know Jones’ record or ranking until after the match.

“I don’t really look at the rankings. It gets my nerves racked up,” Theisen said. “I just look at brackets and it really, really helps me in the long run.”

Theisen lost his semifinal to top-ranked Cameron Baker of Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson by a 3-1 decision. He wrestles in the consolation semifinals on Saturday.

Walters had a tough quarterfinal match with top-ranked Cullan Schriever of Mason City. Schriever controlled the 120-pound quarterfinal for a 6-2 decision.

Walters was more aggressive in the consolation round, getting a takedown 15 seconds into the match.

“My coaches told me to wrestle my match because I didn’t get on my stuff right away in the last match,” Walters said. “They told me to go after him right away. I did and it worked.”

But after a 4-2 lead, Walters trailed 5-4 going into the final period.

“I was a little tired, not going to lie, but I went bottom again because I knew if I could keep trying to get up, I would, and that would at least get me a tie so I could get a takedown,” Walters said. “But he made a mistake and I took advantage of it.”

Walters scored a reversal and later turned it into backpoints for the 9-6 victory to guarantee a spot on the podium.

“This is what I was going for. I wanted to get on the podium and now I am,” Walters said. “I am going to keep climbing until I can’t climb no more.”

North coach John Torno said getting Walters on the podium has been the goal all season, especially after just missing out on the medal stand as a freshman.

“We told him that he had to be on this kid and dictate the tempo and he went out and wrestled that way,” Torno said. “Good things happen when you get to be in charge. It’s exciting, especially as a sophomore. You get those younger kids placewinning, it’s easier to get them back every time. He’s good enough to be on the podium. He’s good enough to wrestle with anyone in the state, he just has to get it in his head that he can do it.”

Walters lost to Bettendorf’s Aiden Evans in his next match, putting Walters in the seventh-place match on Saturday.

Ungs was pinned in 32 seconds by third-ranked Ashton Stoner-DeGroot of Cedar Rapids Prairie in the quarterfinals and had another ranked opponent in his consolation match No. 7 Dalton Sell of Muscatine.

Ungs was the aggressor for most of the match and it paid off as Ungs benefitted from a stall call and won 9-8 for the upset and to become a placewinner for the first time.

It gives Ungs “god” status at Storm Lake now.

“This is part of the big dream I’ve always had. When you are younger, you always see the state placewinners on the wall and you see them almost as gods,” Ungs said. “When it comes down to it, it’s just people that work hard and keep at it. Just have fun with the sport. I am about done with it and one of the things I’ve loved the most is just wrestling.”

Ungs planned on being the aggressor going into his match with Sell and it paid off with a couple of reversals and a takedown. Sell only had one takedown in the match.

“He’s stronger than me, about the same speed and more experience. But he doesn’t have the gas tank to go into the third,” Ungs said. “So the main goal was to get him on empty and roll him over.”

Ungs lost to Glenwood’s Noah Carter, 15-9, and will wrestle for seventh place on Saturday.

Le Mars junior Jake Francksen-Small lost both of his matches at 152 pounds and finished the season with a 36-13 record.

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