With the state wrestling tournament set to begin on Thursday, three Waukee wrestlers will be participating in the big tournament for the first time. Jakob Allison (106), Zach Barnes (113) and Nathan Jacobsen (195) qualified for the state tournament through the district tournament in West Des Moines on Feb. 15.
Waukee coach Chad Vollmecke said that they were hoping to qualify five or six wrestlers but that he was expecting Allison, Barnes and Jacobsen to qualify.
After a first-round bye, Allison beat Indianola’s Connor Sexton by fall at 0:53 and then won by fall again in the finals against Dowling Catholic’s Jake Watters at 3:31 to capture first place in the 106-pound bracket and secure a spot in the state tournament.
Vollmecke said that Allison, ranked No. 3 at 106 pounds by The Predicament, has been wrestling well and that if he continues that way, he could find himself in the 106-pound finals on Saturday night.
"We have not seen either No. 1 Brenden Baker (Cedar Rapids Jefferson) or No. 2 Jack Wagner (Bettendorf) this season, and they are both on the top side," Vollmecke said. "If we do our job, we will see one of them in the finals."
Barnes got first place in the 120-pound bracket. In the first round he beat Des Moines Roosevelt’s Lexx Klinge by fall at 2:39 before beating West Des Moines, Valley’s Tristan Cobb by decision 6-3 in the semifinals. He captured first place with a win by fall at 3:39 over Indianola’s Tanner Wharton in the finals.
Barnes, ranked No. 7 at 113 pounds by The Predicament, will face Newton’s Hunter Versteegh in the first round of the state tournament. Barnes beat Versteegh by fall back on Jan. 4.
If Barnes can beat Versteegh on Saturday it would mean a potential matchup with No. 5 Nolan Hromidko of Cedar Rapids Kennedy in the quarterfinals.
"Zach hasn’t seen him yet, but we are preparing for him from what we have scouted," Vollmecke said. "Zach is a warrior, and he’s been seeking out the toughest competition all year."
Jacobsen was the No. 1 seed in the 195-pound bracket but "zigged when he should have zagged" in the district finals according to Vollmecke and took second, still good enough to qualify for state.
He beat Des Moines, Lincoln’s Justin Worthington in the first round by fall at 0:21 before winning in the semifinals by fall at 4:26 over Norwalk’s Kevin Onstot. Jacobsen lost in the finals to Dowling Catholic’s Joe Brett by fall at 4:30. He got second place because of his win over Onstot in the semifinals.
His first-round match at state will be against Riley Prescott of Fort Dodge, who Jacobsen lost to back on Dec. 12 by fall.
"We know what we can do better this time around to give Nathan an opportunity to be successful at Wells Fargo," Vollmecke said. "He’s very explosive, and he’s got some big moves that help him on a regular basis. 195 is a very tough class this year, and this experience will be a great one for him. It should catapult him into an awesome senior season for next year."
Allison, Barnes and Jacobsen will compete at the state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines beginning on Thursday with 3A first rounds and first round consolations set to begin at 2 p.m. and running through Saturday with the finals beginning at 6 p.m.