The Columbus wrestling team has been grinding through the season since November. The final weekend of the season would be capped off on the best stage Iowa High School wrestling has to offer, in Des Moines on the floor of Wells Fargo Arena. Three Sailors made the trip looking to find themselves on the podium on Saturday night. All three Sailors would accomplish that goal and become state place winners. Gavin Reed was the 7th place finisher at 120 pounds and Carson Hartz was the 6th place finisher at 182 pounds.
After winning championship belts in two separate weight classes, UFC fighter Conor McGregor crowned himself as the champ champ. Max Magayna was also looking to become a champ champ as he was entering the tournament as the #1 seed at 160 pounds and defending his state title from his undefeated freshman campaign. Following the conclusion of the finals matchup, Magayna celebrated his 3-0 decision with McGregor's famous “billionare strut” celebration and became the Sailors own champ champ as the 1A 160 pound State Champion.
Max Magayna would have a rematch from earlier in the year in his quarter finals matchup with Kane Zuehl from West Hancock, this matchup went much the same way as the first match did, with Max earning a fall in the second period.
In the semifinals, Max would meet up with Gavin Maguire from Logan Magnolia. Gavin was the teammate of Max’s opponent from the state finals last year. Max was able to get to his offense early, scoring takedowns at will in this match, but credit Maguire who came into the match with a good game plan to neutralize max’s leg ride. Max was unable to turn Maguire in this match, but was efficient enough with his offense that it didn’t matter in the end. Max secured a takedown in each of the three periods, and threw in a pair of escapes to blank his opponent on the way to an 8-0 major decision.
Max would once again return to the state finals and once again would face a familiar opponent. The Sailor wrestling team has a schedule that allows them to be battle tested each year. In some regards that is both a blessing and a curse. It pays dividends at the end of the year when tough matchups come up, the Sailor wrestlers are used to facing that level of competition because they have been wrestling with opponents of that caliber all year. On the other hand it is sometimes a curse, in years past they have had to face some of the top talent in the state multiple weeks in a row with post season implications on the line. That came up once again this year as Max would find himself facing Lawson Losee from Riceville with a state championship on the line. This would be the 4th time these two opponents have matched up this season, and the third week in a row. Max has never lost to Losee in any of the career meeting up to this point, but it becomes increasingly difficult to beat an opponent multiple weeks in a row, especially seeing the same opponent at Sectionals, Districts, and State.
The first period came to a close with no scoring between the two opponents. Losee came in to the match with a game plan to prevent Max from getting to his favorite leg attacks, and he was able to execute that game plan in the first period defending multiple shot attempts, and getting to Max’s legs on a couple of occasions but was unable to finish. Max chose to start the second period on bottom, which proved to be a wise decision as he was able to get an escape 6 seconds into the period. Max was finally able to break through with a takedown with 30 seconds to go in the second period. That takedown was massive in the match as he was able to ride out the rest of the period taking a 3-0 advantage into the third period. Losee chose to go down in the final period which was somewhat surprising as he has not had success escaping from bottom in any of the previous matchups, but with the 3-0 deficit it may have forced his hand as getting that escape was going to be important if he was going to find a path to victory. Just as Max has done for two years now, he was able to prove that he is tough on top. He was able to ride Losee out for the entire period, not allowing a single point in the finals matchup and earning a state title with a 3-0 decision.
Gavin Reed needed to wait a few hours on Friday to find out who his blood round opponent would be. It turns out it would be someone he is very familiar with. Former Sailor Mat Club wrestler and current Don Bosco Don, Andrew Kimball. This was a rematch from earlier in the season, as well as last year’s state tournament. When these two wrestlers meet, it is typically a very close back and forth matchup, and the stakes in this match couldn’t be higher. The winner of this match would become a place winner, and the loser would be eliminated from the tournament. The first period ended scoreless, and Gavin would start on bottom to begin the second period. He was able to get a quick reversal and then went to work on top. Gavin eventually turned Kimball and nearly won the match via fall, an impressive bridge from Kimball kept him off his back and eventually he found his way to his belly. The second period ended with Gavin holding a 5-0 lead. The third period would start neutral and Gavin was able to secure a takedown to go up 7-0. It seems like things are always destined to get interesting when these two meet up, with a commanding 7-0 lead, Gavin was reversed to his back to bring the score to 7-5. Gavin fought his way off his back and was able to hold on for the 7-5 victory to secure his place on the podium.
Gavin’s next matchup was once again an old nemesis in Dawson Schmit from Wapsi Valley. These two wrestlers have met numerous times over the years. The previous meeting was an extremely tight matchup, with Schmit taking the lead very late in the match to get the victory. Gavin would hope to keep this match close and try to change the outcome in his favor. Unfortunately this match would not go his way. While battling a position Gavin was taken to his back and pinned, he would fall into the 7th place match with that loss.
Gavin would matchup with Jordan Dusenberry from Wilton in the 7th place match. After securing a takedown in the first, Gavin would take a 2-0 lead into the second period. Starting in the bottom position Gavin would earn a takedown to take the action back to his feet. He was able to lock up a takedown as the second period came to a close to take a 5-0 lead into the third period. Tacking on one more takedown in the third period was plenty of cushion to see the match out for a 7-1 decision and earning himself 7th place at 120 pounds.
Carson Hartz would have a quarter finals match up with Carson Lynott of West Sioux. Lynott was holding the #3 ranking coming into the tournament, he was unable to wrestle for a majority of the year, recovering from an injury. He would enter the state tournament undefeated. Carson surrendered an early takedown, and has he was trying to roll through a position, his arm was caught and he was taken to his back to put himself in a 5-0 hole after the first period. Lynott chose bottom to start the second and was able to get a reversal. A third period takedown was not enough to mount a comeback for Carson as he falls to the consolation side of the bracket a 9-3 loss.
Carson would meet up with Greg Clausen of Missouri Valley in the blood round. Carson would use a strong showing in the second period to expand his first period lead. At the beginning if the second period Carson would start in the bottom position, he would quickly earn an escape and then immediately fired off a shot to get a takedown. Scoring 3 points in 3 seconds of match time. That would be more than enough of a lead as he controlled this match wire to wire to lock up his place on the podium with a 10-1 major decision.
Advancing on the consolation side of the bracket, Carson would match up with Brent Greenfield of South Hamilton. Carson would find himself in a hole in the third period, trailing 2-0 after the first he was then ridden out for an entire period after choosing to go down in the second period. His opponent would choose down to start the third period. Carson immediately released him back to his feet where he went to work trailing 3-0. Carson would get two takedowns to tie the match up at 4 points each. A Greenfield escape with 30 seconds left in the match meant that Carson was down by a point with short time remaining. With the entire Columbus coaching staff along the wall in the corner of the arena shouting encouragement Carson kicked the offense into hyper drive, eventually scoring the takedown and turning his opponent to his back with 8 seconds remaining in the match. It was a gutsy performance, but would ultimately be Carson’s last victory of the tournament. He would go on to drop his next two matches and finish the season in 6th place at 182 pounds.