Take a look back at some of the top moments and winners in the 2018 state wrestling finals. Register Staff
The Cadet and U23 World Team Trials took place in Akron, Ohio, this past weekend, where a slew of Iowa preps and collegiate wrestlers were in action. Nobody made either of the age-level world teams, but there were still some noteworthy performances from the competition.
Here are some quick takeaways from the action:
Five Iowa preps earn All-American honors in freestyle
The Cadet side of the competition was also propped up as the UWW Cadet national tournament, which included wrestlers born between 2001-03 — or, in other words, high school-aged kids.
A number of Iowa preps made the 600-plus mile trek east to compete in freestyle, but only five left with hardware: Fort Dodge’s Drake Ayala (41-45 kilograms), Mason City’s Cullan Schriever (51kg) and the Southeast Polk trio of Cade DeVos (65kg), Lance Runyon (71kg) and Gabe Christenson (92kg).
The furthest any of them made it on the championship side was the quarterfinals. Ayala ultimately fell to eighth, Schriever to sixth, DeVos to fifth, Runyon to sixth and Christenson to eighth.
Christenson takes third in Greco-Roman
Christenson also competed in the Greco-Roman competition, which was contested on Friday. He finished third at 92 kilograms (roughly 202.5 pounds), going 4-1 and notching wins over Ashton Sharp of Missouri (4-0) and Braxton Amos of West Virginia (12-10).
Those are significant because, well, both of those dudes are nationally ranked — according to Intermat, Sharp ended the year ranked No. 20 at 195 pounds and Amos was No. 5 nationally at 220. Both won Cadet national titles last summer in Fargo, North Dakota.
This comes just a few weeks after Christenson beat West Liberty’s Bryce Esmoil, Intermat’s 14th-ranked 195-pounder and a two-time state champion, at the Iowa freestyle state tournament. Christenson emerged victorious 27-14 — yes, that was the real score.
In short: the month of May was a good one for Gabe Christenson.
Hawkeyes, Cyclones and Grand View’s Evan Hansen notch big freestyle wins
So nobody from any of the Iowa colleges that competed made the U23 World Team, but plenty were in action and notched some significant victories.
- Pat Lugo reached the quarterfinals at 70 kilograms (roughly 154 pounds) but bounced back to take fifth. He beat Princeton’s Matt Kolodzik, a 2018 NCAA All-American, as well as Maryland’s Alfred Bannister and Minnesota’s Steve Bleise, two NCAA qualifiers.
- Kaleb Young finished third at 74 kilograms (163 pounds). He beat former Bettendorf star and current Cornell wrestler Fredy Stroker, Old Dominion's Larry Early, Arizona State’s Josh Shields and North Carolina's Kennedy Monday.
- Cash Wilcke wrestled at 86 kilograms, which is roughly 189 pounds, and took fifth. Along the way, he beat Iowa State’s Sam Colbray.
- Alex Mackall, who transferred to Iowa State from Rutgers midway through the 2017-18 season, placed seventh at 57 kilograms (roughly 125 pounds). In the process, he notched a win over Michigan’s Drew Mattin, a 2018 NCAA qualifier.
- Evan Hansen, a sophomore and two-time NAIA national champion for Grand View, made some noise at 86 kilograms in Akron. He won four-straight matches to reach the quarterfinals, including an 8-5 win over North Carolina’s Chip Ness, a 2018 NCAA Division I All-American at 184 pounds. Hansen then lost twice and was eliminated in the blood round.
Former Iowa prep McCrystal reaches podium
- Former Sergeant Bluff-Luton star Colton McCrystal, who just wrapped up his senior season at Nebraska, made a run to the quarterfinals at 65 kilograms (143 pounds) and ultimately finished third. In the wrestlebacks, he picked off Ohio State’s Luke Pletcher and Oklahoma State’s Kaid Brock, two NCAA All-Americans, en route to the third-place match.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.