Six Henry County grapplers make all-GTNS team
History was made this wrestling season.
Several Golden Triangle News Service area wrestling teams reached new heights this winter or accomplished things that hadn’t been done at their respective schools in many, many years.
Washington 113-pounder Fletcher Green was not only the Golden Triangle’s first state champion since 2010, but he was also the first Demon to stand atop the podium in Des Moines since 1997.
It almost didn’t happen. Green suffered his fifth loss of the season in overtime of his semifinal match at the district tournament in West Liberty. But he won his third-place match and his wrestleback match, and then took that momentum to Des Moines with him. Once Green reached Wells Fargo Arena, he dominated, out-scoring his four opponents 32-9 while never getting taken down en route to a Class 2A state championship.
Green finished his junior season with a record of 36-5, and he was also named the captain of the all-GTNS wrestling team. The three-time state qualifier will take a career record of 110-20 into his senior season.
While Green became the sixth state wrestling champion in Washington High School’s history, the Demons’ Southeast Conference rival, Mt. Pleasant, was also having a historical year. In head coach Anthony Blint’s fourth season at the helm of the Panther wrestling squad, he guided Mt. Pleasant to its best-ever dual record at 14-7 as well as a pair of tournament titles. Blint also took five wrestlers to the state tournament this season — Justin Dilks, Tyler Lanphier, Colton Aplara, Jayton Phillips and Josh Larson — which was the most in school history, earning Blint the nod for the all-GTNS Coach of the Year award.
Dilks, Lanphier and two other Panthers were all selected to this year’s all-GTNS team.
Dilks was the Panthers’ only place winner in Des Moines this year, taking eighth at 182 pounds in Class 3A. It was the first time that Dilks, who also went to state as a freshman, got a chance to stand on the podium. A first team all-conference selection and a fierce competitor, Dilks had more takedowns than any other Mt. Pleasant wrestlers this year. The junior finished 27-8 this season with 14 wins by fall and two by technical fall.
Like Dilks, Lanphier makes his first appearance on the all-GTNS team this year after going 23-13 and qualifying for the state tournament. The 120-pounder is hailed by his coach as being one of the hardest working and determined wrestlers on the team, and his efforts paid off for him this season. The junior was also a second team all-conference selection this year.
Mt. Pleasant’s Emmett Wester may have fallen just short of a trip to state this season, but the heavyweight was the biggest contributor to the Panthers’ success this season. He had more wins and scored more team points than any other Mt. Pleasant wrestler, going 31-4 on the year and scoring 242 points. A second team all-conference selection, Wester was also valuable to the Panthers as a senior leader who helped out the younger wrestlers on the team.
In his first season with the Panthers, freshman Colton Mertens finished 21-9 and fell just short of a state tournament bid, taking third at 106 pounds at the district tournament. Despite being a freshman on the varsity team, Mertens was a leader, setting an example for his teammates with his strong work ethic. He won his weight class at the Southern Iowa Classic in Fairfield and was a first team all-conference selection, leaving no doubt that he is well on his way to a successful career for the Panthers.
Senior Seth Davisson made history for Fairfield, tying the school’s single season win total this season. The 170-pounder earned his second straight trip to the state tournament this season. In Des Moines, the Trojan senior split his first two matches, but then buried his next two opponents in the consolation bracket to reach the consolation semifinals. There, Davisson fell to Cash Wilcke of OA-BCIG by a 7-1 decision, but in the fifth-place match he came from behind to pin Grinnell’s Jack Leshen. The win was Davisson’s 39th of the season, tying him for the school record. He also finished third on Fairfield’s career victory list with 114.
Davisson, a three-time first team all-conference selection and two-time all-GTNS choice, was one of three Trojans selected to this year’s all-GTNS team. Joining Davisson in Des Moines was senior teammate Jake Mineart, who makes his first appearance on the all-GTNS squad. The 220-pounder picked up both sectional and district titles on his way to earning his second straight bid to the state tourney, where he made it to the second day. Wrestling through a tough draw, Mineart won his first-round match via an 11-3 major decision over Greene County’s Aaron Beaman. He fell to eventual state runner-up Tyler Dolieslager 7-2 in the quarterfinals, and then saw his 33-10 season come to an end with a 9-3 loss to Mt. Vernon’s Josh Cannon. Voted Fairfield’s Most Improved Wrestler, Mineart won two regular season tournaments, with his biggest victory coming at the Southern Iowa Classic in Fairfield.
While the third Fairfield senior on this list, 138-pounder Ammon Shaner, didn’t make it to the state tournament, it wasn’t for lack of effort or dedication according to Trojan head coach Steve Miller. Shaner received the Darwin K. Potter Dedication and Determination Award at the team’s season-ending banquet. The senior “left it all on the mat” at the district meet, but he couldn’t get through a tough field and was denied a second consecutive state appearance. Shaner finished runner-up in three tournaments and makes his second straight appearance on the all-GTNS team.
In his third year coaching at Sigourney-Keota, J.J. Cooper took three wrestlers — Josh Yoder, Cole Streigle and Tucker Fowler — to the state tournament this season, the most in his tenure.
Yoder missed last season after transferring from Mid-Prairie to Sigourney and also having knee surgery, but the 145-pounder didn’t miss a beat this season, going 35-6 and qualifying for the state tournament. The senior’s experience was also invaluable for the Savage Cobras this season, according to Cooper.
Like Yoder, Sigourney-Keota’s Jeremiah Green is also a first-time all-GTNS selection. Green fell just short of a state tournament trip, finishing third at 132 pounds at the district tournament, but he finished his junior season with an impressive 32-9 record. Cooper called Green one of the toughest kids in the state, and said that he expects to see Green on the podium at the state wrestling tournament next February.
For Mid-Prairie, brothers Phirom and Nearoth Peterschmidt finished seventh and eighth, respectively, at the state wrestling tournament, and older brother Nearoth was selected to the all-GTNS wrestling team for the first time. The 195-pounder was a runner-up at the Cedar Valley Conference tournament, a sectional champion and a district runner-up. Peterschmidt lost his opening round match at the state tournament, but then won three straight matches before dropping a tough 1-0 decision to Solon’s Lance Evans in the consolation semifinals. He was then pinned by Sioux City Heelan’s Christian Brobst, who also pinned him in the first round of the tournament, in the seventh-place match. Peterschmidt finished his successful senior season with a 41-11 record.
Highland junior Travis Cole is no stranger to the all-GTNS team, as he was selected to the squad for the third time. This season also marked the third time that Cole reached the medal stand at the state tournament. After placing seventh at 103 pounds as a freshman and fifth at 113 pounds last year, he took fifth at 126 pounds this season. Cole was a runner-up at the Southeast Iowa Super Conference tournament and then won sectional and district championships on his journey toward Des Moines. He finished his season with a record of 48-5.
Pekin’s Austyn Vogel recently wrapped up his career with 117 wins, the fourth-most in school history. He also finished his career at the state tournament after missing out on a trip to Des Moines last year. Although he wrestled at 145 pounds for the majority of the year, the Panther picked up sectional and district titles at 152. At state, he pulled out a 13-11 overtime win over Wilton’s Kaleb Schmidt in the opening round before falling in his final two matches on the tournament’s second day. Vogel, who recently took home his team’s Outstanding Wrestling and Bill Rex awards at the season-ending banquet, ended the season with a 31-10 record.
The lone Warrior to qualify for state, WACO’s Cey Saeugling makes his first appearance on the all-GTNS team. The junior 160-pounder was a sectional champion, a district runner-up and a runner-up at the SEISC tournament this season, which he finished with a 34-12 record.
It was a historic season. And with the history that these wrestlers made this season, the bar has been raised for area grapplers next winter.
The Golden Triangle News Service teams are selected by sports editors Travis J. Brown (The Washington Evening Journal), Ashlee De Wit (Mt. Pleasant News) and Michael Leach (The Fairfield Ledger).