DES MOINES, Iowa — Creston/Orient-Macksburg had been to plenty of state dual meets. Audubon was making its debut at the event.
The Wednesday results weren't what either western Iowa team had envisioned.
Fifth-seeded Creston dropped its Iowa Class 2-A opener to fourth-seeded Charles City 35-32 before eventually placing sixth. In Class 1-A, seventh-seeded Audubon fell to second-seeded Woodbury Central 45-19 in its first-ever state dual and went on to finish eighth overall at Wells Fargo Arena.
Creston coach Darrell Frain said it was a bad time for an uninspired performance. The Panthers (16-3) bounced back to beat Ballard 44-28 before dropping their last contest 36-33 to Union, mixing in some reserve wrestlers along the way.
“I don't think we matched up with the intensity level of all the other teams early on,” Frain said. “We just didn't finish, and that's what we're usually pretty good at is finishing as the day goes. We didn't do a very good job today.”
The Panthers couldn't hold on in their first dual against Charles City despite jumping out to a 24-3 lead. The Comets reeled off five straight bonus-point wins — including three pins — to take a 29-24 advantage.
Next up was Creston's ultimate stopper: three-time state champion Jake Marlin (138). But the top-rated grappler and one of the state's all-time pins leaders couldn't stick No. 5 Adam Staudt, settling for a 13-3 major decision to bring the Panthers to within one.
With one match to go, Charles City's No. 5 Alex Mitchell pinned unrated Jacob Johnston to put the dual out of reach. Each school won seven matches.
The contest's other ranked matchup saw No. 1 Keaton Hulett (195) of Creston grind out a 2-0 decision against No. 3 Luke Johnson. They could meet again in the 2-A individual tournament semifinals Friday. Hulett also beat fellow state qualifier and No. 6 Alex Macki of Ballard 3-0 later in the day.
Among Creston's five state qualifiers, Marlin and Hulett each emerged unbeaten. No. 5 Trevor Frain (160), Wyatt Thompson (120) and Nathan Robinson (285) lost at least once to non-qualifiers.
“It's always a goal to be here — we just like to wrestle better when we're here,” Darrell Frain said. “That's a little frustrating, but I'm excited for all the kids that got a chance to wrestle.”
Audubon (25-5) quickly fell behind 29-7 against Woodbury Central in its opening dual and never threatened. The highlight for the Wheelers came at 120 pounds, as sophomore Brad Kerkhoff, ranked No. 9, edged No. 4 Gable Verschoor 4-2 in extra time to beat him for the second time in five days.
In the only ranked matchup of the dual, both state qualifiers nearly earned winning takedowns to end periods. In the fifth, Kerkhoff started down but converted a reversal. He went on to ride out Verschoor during his 30-second opportunity.
Woodbury Central won nine matches overall, including eight in bonus-point fashion.
“You come in here, and for some of the kids it's the first time they've been down on the floor,” Audubon coach Blane Kerkhoff said. “It's a whole new experience and hopefully we'll garner some good experience from that.”
Audubon's three individual state qualifiers — Brad Kerkhoff, No. 9 Chase Peterson (138 pounds) and No. 6 Jesse Svoboda (182) — each finished without losses. Petersen sat out the last two duals, while the other two went 3-0.
The Western Iowa Conference dual champions lost to Emmetsburg 43-36 and West Marshall 47-36. With the future in mind, Blane Kerkhoff put in multiple backup wrestlers in the consolation rounds for a little state experience.
The Wheelers, losing just three seniors from their starting lineup, plan on trying again next year.
Said coach Kerkhoff: “After they get all said and done, I think they're pretty happy with being down here and just having the opportunity.”
Charles City 35, Creston/Orient-Macksburg 32
Championship matches: 160: Trevor Frain, Creston, pinned Cole Hoeft, 1:12. 170: Zach Milks, CC, dec. Adam Baker 5-1. 182: Seth Maitlen, Creston, dec. Taylor Cole 5-2. 195: Keaton Hulett, Creston, dec. Luke Johnson 2-0. 220: Cole Tanner, Creston, pinned Devon Winterink, 4:58. 285: Nathan Robinson, Creston, pinned Dalton Hamm, 1:23. 106: Maxwell Forsyth, CC, pinned Stone Hammons, 1:50. 113: Johnny Etherington, CC, major dec. Kruz Adamson 15-6. 120: Jake Niichel, CC, pinned Wyatt Thompson, 5:25. 126: Austin Hoeft, CC, pinned Gage Cheers, 3:02. 132: Wyatt Forsyth, CC, major dec. Joey Huntington, 13-5. 138: Jake Marlin, Creston, major dec. Adam Staudt 13-3. 145: Alex Mitchell, CC, pinned Jacob Johnston, 0:57. 152: Gavin Leith, Creston, major dec. Brandon Childs 14-1.
Creston 44, Ballard 28
170: Jake Forre, Ballard, pinned Adam Baker, 2:40. 182: Seth Maitlen, Creston, pinned Tyler Kyhl, 3:48. 195: Keaton Hulett, Creston, dec. Alex Macki 3-0. 220: Cole Tanner, Creston, pinned Alex Silberstein, 3:57. 285: Charles Angell, Ballard, pinned Nathan Robinson, 1:08. 106: Quentin Luke, Ballard, major dec. Stone Hammons 14-4. 113: Kruz Adamson, Creston, pinned Louie Howlett, 2:53. 120: Ethan Estabrooks, Ballard, dec. Wyatt Thompson 4-2 (OT). 126: Nathan Macki, Ballard, dec. Gage Cheers 7-6. 132: Mitchell Broer, Ballard, pinned Joey Huntington, 0:51. 138: Jake Marlin, Creston, tech. fall Dillon Hansen 26-11. 145: Jacob Johnston, Creston, pinned Mark Goldberg, 1:53. 152: Gavin Leith, Creston, pinned Will May, 3:53. 160: Trevor Frain, Creston, pinned Ryan Sills, 1:27.
Union 36, Creston 33
182: Seth Maitlen, Creston, dec. Tanner Shirk 6-5. 195: Keaton Hulett, Creston, pinned Tanner Hilton, 1:25. 220: Cole Tanner, Creston, pinned Jace Hadachek, 3:37. 285: Josh Clark, Union, pinned Jake Gutschenritter, 2:52. 106: Jon Hellman, Union, pinned Stone Hammons, 3:41. 113: Kruz Adamson, Creston, pinned Ryder Albertsen, 4:42. 120: Wyatt Thompson, Creston, dec. Ted Tecklenburg 9-3. 126: Max Thomsen, Union, pinned Bryce Briley, 1:14. 132: Trevor McLaughlin, Union, major dec. Joey Huntington 13-0. 138: Jake Marlin, Creston, pinned Will Reiter, 1:17. 145: Jacob Holschlag, Union, pinned Jacob Johnston, 1:04. 152: Logan Thomsen, Union, pinned Gavin Leith, 3:29. 160: Cole Reiter, Union, dec. Trevor Frain 9-8. 170: Adam Baker, Creston, dec. Christian Gray 9-3.
Woodbury Central 45, Audubon 19
160: Lucas Smith-Petersen, Audubon, major dec. Reed Mitchell 13-1. 170: Schuyler Rilling, WC, major dec. Jordan Hansen 11-1. 182: Jesse Svoboda, Audubon, dec. Zach Klingensmith 8-2. 195: Andrew Petersen, WC, pinned Wyatt Christensen, 2:56. 220: Levi Paulsen, WC, dec. Matt Fett 6-0. 285: Landan Paulsen, WC, pinned Jonah Kitt, 0:17. 106: Dylan Muckey, WC, major dec. Collin Subbert 9-0. 113: Shane Funk, WC, pinned Kyle Juelsgaard, 0:57. 120: Brad Kerkhoff, Audubon, dec. Gable Verschoor 4-2 (OT). 126: Kobey Gray, WC, pinned Heath Irlmeier, 3:37. 132: Lane Nichols, WC, major dec. Andrew Malloy 18-7. 138: Chase Petersen, Audubon, dec. Luke Klingensmith 4-0. 145: Jake Mize, WC, pinned Trevor Smith, 2:33. 152: Kolton Jensen, Audubon, pinned Logan Beller, 0:34.
Emmetsburg 43, Audubon 36
170: Nick Schany, E, pinned Jordan Hansen, 3:56. 182: Jesse Svoboda, Audubon, won by forfeit. 195: Austin McCartan, E, pinned Wyatt Christensen. 220: Tayler Wegner, E, pinned Koby Hunnicutt, 0:22. 285: Matt Fett, Audubon, pinned Pat Brenna, 1:55. 106: Dillon Van Oosbree, E, major dec. Collin Subbert, 13-2. 113: Brett Steinkamp, E, pinned Beau Nickum, 0:52. 120: Brad Kerkhoff, Audubon, pinned Jake Miller, 1:56. 126: Nicholas Merwald, E, pinned Heath Irlmeier, 3:55. 132: Tyler Leuer, E, pinned Andrew Malloy, 3:06. 138: Chris VanHuevelen, E, dec. Ryver Knueven 5-0. 145: Trevor Smith, Audubon, pinned Caige Elbert, 1:21. 152: Kolton Jense, Audubon, pinned Joe Schmidt, 0:58. 160: Lucas Smith-Petersen, Audubon, pinned Brady Bailey, 5:07.
West Marshall 47, Audubon 36
182: Jesse Svoboda, Audubon, pinned Christopher Sjoblom, 0:54. 195: Brandon Overman, WM, pinned Wyatt Christensen, 1:18. 220: Matt Fett, Audubon, pinned Tyler Casady, 3:16. 285: James Long, WM, pinned Koby Hunnicutt, 0:45. 106: Collin Subbert, Audubon, pinned Blade Sauer, 1:10. 113: Cole Needham, WM, pinned Kyle Juelsgaard, 1:24. 120: Brad Kerkhoff, Audubon, pinned Nick Price, 1:35. 126: Heath Irlmeier, Audubon, pinned Jake Goecke, 0:28. 132: Chad Berrey, WM, tech. fall Matthew Smith-Petersen, 16-1. 138: Lane Kline, WM, pinned Ryver, Knueven, 2:41. 145: Jared Johnson, WM, pinned Trevor Smith, 5:56. 152: Kolton Jensen, Audubon, pinned Kolby Steiert, 1:08. 160: Dale Hilleman, WM, pinned Drew Christensen, 2:28. 170: Devin Chesler, WM, pinned Jordan Hansen, 1:31.