It was a highlight of a day for the Waukee High School wrestling team as they not only took first as a team but in the process, sent ten individual wrestlers onto the state tournament during the district five meet Saturday, Feb. 9.
The event took place in Glenwood and the Warriors put up 253 team points, one of the highest district scores across Class 3A. They bested seven other teams including Dallas Center-Grimes, Indianola, Lewis Central, Glenwood, Council Bluffs, Thomas Jefferson, Council Bluffs-Abraham Lincoln, and Denison-Schleswig.
Twelve top five finishes and six first place finishes highlighted the day for the Warriors. Thurman Christensen, Class 3A’s fourth ranked 113 pound wrestler, started off the first place scoring with 25 team points earned on the day. After earning his fastest pin-fall win of the season (14 seconds), Christensen picked up two straight tech-fall wins to claim the first place crown, giving him four total wins by tech-fall on the season.
Nick Miller at 120 pounds followed up the first place parade with one of his own while earning 24 team points in the process. A quarterfinal bye gave way to a pin-fall win in the second round, which in turn, transformed into the senior’s 17th pin-fall win of the season in the first place match. Both the semi-final and first place matches both ended in pin-fall wins under one minute. A first place finish was also in order fro Class 3A’s third ranked 138 pound wrestler, Cody Anderson. Anderson’s path included a quarter-final pin-fall win over Austin Mattice of Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln. That led to a semi-final pin-fall win (5:22) over Gavin Moran of Dallas Center-Grimes before capturing his 11th decision win of the season by besting Lewis Central’s Tanner Higgins 6-4. All that helped Anderson earn 24 team points to the winning cause.
Mason Seifried made his way from bottom of the rankings to the fourth ranked wrestler in Class 3A and Saturday, he kept up the good work with two pin-fall wins leading up to the first place match. Once there, Seifried picked up his 32nd win of his senior season with a 14-2 major decision victory. It comes as no surprise that Class 3A’s top ranked 170 pound wrestler, Anthony Zach, picked up 24 team points and a repeat ticket back to the state tournament in a top ten match-up with tenth ranked Brennan Meacham. Zach acquired his 38th overall loss of the season by besting Meacham by 3-0 decision. Those two wrestlers have been the highlight of consistency for the Warriors and head coach Chad Vollmecke spoke about the two seniors.
“Mason and Anthony have been very steady for us all season long,” began Vollmecke. “They don’t waiver from their technique and they stay aggressive. Whenever I go into a battle these are the guys I’d love most to have on my team.”
Conner Arndt at 285 pounds rounded out the first place finishes and put forth 26 team points to the cause en route to his 25th victory of the season. Arndt started off with a 27 second pin-fall win over Lewis Central’s Zachary McColligan. Arndt punched his ticket to the first place match after breaking out a pin fall win in 3:22 over Eric Turcios of Denison-Schleswig. It was a clean three match pin-fall sweep for Arndt who took the title and a state tournament ticket with his 19th pin-fall victory of the year over Hunter Haggstrom of Glenwood (1:19).
Other top five finishes included Cael Thorson at 220 pounds who provided 20 team points to the cause with a second place finish, giving him 25 wins and just nine losses on the year. In total, there were four second place finishes for the Warriors and Griffin Gammell at 182 pounds was one of those. Gammell overcame a semi-final loss to fifth ranked Brett Mower of Glenwood to win two consecutive matches by decision for the second place finish. Gammell’s 10-4 decision win in the second place match gave him seven total wins by decision on the year.
Jermaine Sammler at 145 pounds made it all the way to the first place match where he ran into the tenth ranked 145 pound wrestler in Nick Bonaanno of Indianola and unfortunately succumb to his 22nd loss of the season. Sammler quickly overcame his fall by defeating Lewis Central’s Nick Wolf for the second place title. Carter Smith at 126 pounds was the last of the second place finishers and he did so by producing 16.5 team points. Smith lost just one match the entire meet and that was to Dallas Center-Grimes’ Trevon Wells by a slim 5-3 decision. Smith then turned the tables and won his next two matches by decision, giving him 17 total victories on the season.
Elijah Hofbauer (106 pounds) and Gabe Gammell (195 pounds) whelped to round out the top five finishes for the Warriors. Ten total individual wrestlers onto the state level is a rather large number for any team but for Waukee, it’s no more than meeting a goal.
“Here at Waukee, our goal is for everyone to make it to state,” began coach Vollemecke. “We put in the extra work and hours and take our lumps at times to help us reach our goal for every wrestler.”
With the Warriors also qualifying for the dual tournament, they will take to Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday, Feb. 13 followed by the traditional tournament Feb. 14-16 in Des Moines.