With just days away from the 2019-20 state wrestling tournament, the paths of all wrestlers who will grace the Wells Fargo Arena is set.
Amid the Class 2A 285-pound bracket lies the top-seeded Kaden Sutton of ADM, highlighting the bracket. The top-ranked senior enters his second straight state tournament in as many seasons on the heels of a 36-1 record. His first battle of the tournament will kick-off against Chase Crooks of Charles City who walks onto the scene with a 26-12 record of his own. Also on the Class 2A 285-pound scene is Van Meter/Earlham who also resides as one of just three wrestlers in his weight class to enter the state tournament with two losses or less. He will battle Washington’s, Brayden Hartman.
Across the Class 2A 170-pound bracket, Van Meter/Earlham’s Caleb Swalla seeks for a title. Last year, he was one of two Bulldogs to capture a win in the opening round. This year, the Class 2A third-ranked 170-pound wrestler will begin his state tournament journey up against Harlan’s Carter Bendorf. In his third straight trip to the state tournament, Swalla will be seeking to remain undefeated as he will enter Wells Fargo Arena with a perfect 36-0 record.
Senior Bryce Cole for Van Meter/Earlham earned his second straight trip to the “Well” and will be seeking to improve upon his 31-12 record. He will be battling it out to start the 152-pound bracket against Will Esmoli, the second-ranked 152-pound wrestler out of West Liberty. Cole will be one of two West Central Activities Conference wrestlers in the Class 2A 152-pound bracket.
Senior Tyler Haynes will be Van Meter/Earlham’s representation in the state 145-pound weight class. After compiling at 36-10 record across the regular season, Haynes will be matched up against Jake Nieman of OABCIG.
Junior Riley Harger, also of Van Meter/Earlham will battle Red Oak’s, Johnathon Erp. Harger’s state tournament initiation has come after a 31 win season.
Waukee’s own Griffin Gammell will grace the state tournament as one of the top seeds in the 182-pound bracket in Class 3A. Gammell seemingly breezed through the regular season and will officially enter the state tournament with a mark of 38-1. To start his second trip to the big dance, Gammell will battle it out with Clinton’s Trevor Bitner.
Within the 170-pound bracket, Waukee’s Tanner Spyksma and Dallas Center-Grimes’ Zach Needham will take their aim at a state title. For Zach Needham, after being absent from the state tournament last season, the sixth-ranked 170-pound wrestler comes back to the hallowed mats looking for a title. The senior will start his state journey up against Alex Koch of Cedar Rapids Kennedy. Needham enters Wells Fargo Arena as one of just four wrestlers in the bracket with four losses or less.
Tanner Spyksma will enter into his first state tournament appearance with a 23-19 record. The sophomore has had quite the notable season and will seek to continue his campaign starting with his first-round opponent of Bradley Hill of Bettendorf.
After falling short last season, Jermaine Sammler will enter the 2019-20 state tournament with an 18-16 record. His first-round opponent will be quite the battle up against Caleb Helgeson who not only enters as the top-ranked Class 3A 160-pound wrestler, but he enters with an unblemished mark of 31-0.
Dallas Center-Grimes will be well represented as well with three-time state tournament participant Luke Fistler. Despite several injuries suffered throughout the season, Fistler never faltered from the rankings and once again punched his ticket to the state tournament. His start to the tournament will happen against Southeast Polk’s Andrew Reed.
The Class 3A 152-pound state tournament scene will be graced by area stars in DC-G’s Brayden Broderick and Waukee’s Cody Anderson. For Anderson, Class 3A’s second-ranked 152-pound wrestler, he comes into the state tournament for one final time and does so with a 40-3 record. The senior will be battling it out with 23-1 Reece Caven of Iowa City High. For Broderick, his tournament path begins with a showdown against conference foe Brennan Meacham of Indianola. It will be a chance for Broderick to redeem his loss to the ninth-ranked wrestler from their bout in the Little Hawkeye Conference tournament.
Within the Class 3A 132-pound ranks at the state tournament, Trevon Wells will be another strong representative for Dallas Center-Grimes. The seventh-ranked 132-pound grappler will once again be making a state tournament trip (second straight in two seasons). For this go-round, Wells will take on his opening opponent in Marshalltown’s Zach Bitker with a 23-4 record.
Waukee junior Connor Kelley will represent the Warriors in the 126-pound weight class. Kelley enters the tournament with a record of 25-13 and will be battling a fellow junior in Southeast Polk’s Ayden Kingery, Class 3A’s sixth-ranked 126-pound wrestler.
After capturing his 100th career win in the district round, Thurman Christensen is back to the state tournament ready to go. The 39-3 junior will be taking on Urbandale’s Kaleb German.
Within the 106-pound bracket, Waukee’s Elijah Hofbauer and DC-G’s Jacob Fistler will be vying for a state title. In his first-ever stint on the varsity scene, Fistler enters the state tournament with a 27-2 record. He will battle up against conference foe Trent Harper of Norwalk. For Hofbauer, his 24-18 campaign has led him to this moment of battling Southeast Polk’s Nathanael Jesuroga for the right to move on.