It was a match you just couldn’t dream up any better as top-seeded Kaden Sutton of ADM captured a thrilling triple-overtime victory over Van Meter/Earlham’s Derrin Sesker in the Class 2A 285-pound semifinal bout Friday, Feb. 21.
It was as exciting as a defensive heavy-weight battle could be and gave fans, coaches, and fellow wrestlers one amazing show.
“It was very exciting which is what it should’ve been between two great wrestlers like Sutton and Sesker,” said ADM head coach Christopher Hatchitt after the match. “We would have liked to have taken the win sooner but in the end, Kaden pulled it out.”
Neither Sesker nor Sutton could find much offense throughout the contest especially through the first period as both wrestlers went scoreless through the opening stanza. It was Sesker’s defense that held the advantage early and transitioned well into the match’s first point off of an escape midway through the second period.
“Got to give credit to Sesker as he played the match well and it favored Sesker early but we knew Sutton was close and just needed to turn it up the rest of the way,” said Hatchitt.
That’s exactly what Sutton did as he too picked up a point by escape with 1:36 left to go in the third and final period of regulation. Then the defense set back in full force with neither wrestler able to find the scoreboard not just through one overtime frame, but almost two full overtime frames. In that second overtime period, Sesker once again jumped out with an escape point for a slight and fleeting lead. Once again the defense of Sesker caused frustration for Sutton but that was somewhat expected from a rematch of an earlier battle in Adel.
“It was hard tonight,” said Sutton. “He was defending all my stuff and all my offense.”
The match still rolled on to a third overtime frame and once there, the match turned in favor of the speedier Sutton. That’s where a scramble setting took place and with his speed and quickness, Sutton broke out an escape point and two points via takedown to open up a 4-1 lead with just 16 seconds left in the decisive triple-overtime frame. Sesker did manage one more point late to keep Sutton’s lead razor-thin, but in the end, time ran out and Sutton moved one step closer to a state title.
Throughout all of his 38 prior wins heading into the match, Sutton showed both a sense of calm and happiness but there was a bit of frustration following the semifinal victory for the perfection pursuing senior.
“It wasn’t how I wanted to wrestle at all but I won and that’s all that matters, I’m in the finals,” said Sutton.
One thing that has put Sutton in such rarified air all season long has been his aggressive style and more, something that Sutton himself credited with coming out on top of the defensive thriller.
“It was just pushing the pace,” began Sutton. “I know my gas tank is better than all these guys.”
In the end, it was a battle that left everybody with respect not just for Sutton, but for Sesker as well. And not just from wrestlers to wrestlers, but from opposing coaches to wrestlers including Van Meter/Earlham head coach Chas Funaro.
“You can’t ask for anything more from a match,” said Funaro. “Derrin did all he could and it was such a close match. In the end, he out scrambled Derrin and hats off to Sutton, he did a good job. I hope he wins the state title.”
With his 39th win officially in the bag, Sutton will now seek his first state title against second-seeded Taven Rich of Maquoketa Saturday, Feb. 22. All finals matches will begin with the 106-pound weight classes at 6 p.m.