At the conclusion of the district wrestling tournaments last season the DC-G wrestling team was sending three wrestlers to the state tournament. This season four wrestlers will represent the Mustangs at the state tournament in Des Moines, including two that were there last year.
Dakota Clausen (182) and Cole Baker (220) have both qualified for the state tournament for the first time while Trevor Murano (120) and Blake Wolinski (170) qualified last season.
DC-G coach Clint Knoll said that there were no surprises with those four wrestlers qualifying for the state tournament.
"We felt good about those four chances going in," Knoll said. "These four wrestlers have been the backbone of our team this year. We have had other kids step up from time to time but these guys have been unbelievably consistent for us."
Knoll has made a point of making Murano, Wolinski, Clausen and Baker the wrestlers for underclassmen to look up to this season.
"I have been telling our underclassmen to look at what they have done and try to become the leaders on the mat like them," Knoll said. "I am very excited to see what they can do at state because they have wrestled at such a high level all year."
At the district tournament in Johnston on Feb. 15 the Mustangs had 14 wrestlers battling for a spot at the state tournament.
Murano won his first round matchup with Ankeny Centennial’s Connor Canova by fall at 1:46. He went on to beat Des Moines, North-Hoover’s Josh Rattray by technical fall 15-0 in the semifinals before losing to Southeast Polk’s Nolan Hellickson by decision 1-0. Murano placed second by rule since he beat Rattray in the semifinals.
Wolinski placed first in the 170-pound bracket. After a first-round bye, Wolinski beat Urbandale’s Cody Pearson by fall at 0:51. In the finals Wolinksi won by fall again this time over Southeast Polk’s Mason Kerr at 1:43 to take first place and advance to the state tournament.
Clausen also had a first place finish in the 182-pound bracket. After a first-round bye he defeated Ankeny’s Ross Simms by technical fall 16-0 in the semifinals. In the finals he won by fall over Southeast Polk’s Kameron Padavich at 1:30.
Baker faced Ankeny’s Dylan Stolp, who entered the district tournament with just a 1-9 record. Baker beat Stolp by fall at 1:56.
In the semifinals Baker beat Des Moines, North-Hoover’s Matt Foley by technical fall 18-2 before losing in the finals to Southeast Polk’s Ethan Andersen by decision 13-6. Baker was still able to qualify for the state tournament though as he beat Ankeny Centennial’s Christian Heimer by fall at 1:45 to finish in second.
Knoll thinks that his wrestlers are mentally ready for the state tournament since Murano and Wolinski have been there before and Clausen and Baker have wrestled at high levels before.
"I think having two wrestlers who have been there before is an advantage as well and the other two have competed there at the AAU level and have played other sports in high leverage situations," Knoll said. "Mentally, we are really solid with these four and that will help them be successful this week."