It was day two of the Iowa high school state wrestling tournament at Wells Fargo Arena and a chance for wrestlers to make a further push towards the medal stand.
Overall it was a strong yet tough slate for the six Waukee High School wrestlers who graced the state mee stage for day two. Of the six (Elijah Hofbauer (106-pounds), Connor Kelley (126-pounds), Thurman Christensen (120-pounds), Cody Anderson (152-pounds), Griffin Gammell (182-pounds), and Tanner Spyksma (170-pounds)) all but one began the day with a victory and a continuation of a medal run.
Elijah Hofbauer (106-pounds)
Waukee’s 106-pound star wrestled his way back nicely across day one to guarantee his presence in day two of the tournament. Unfortunately, the junior couldn’t keep the streak going as his bout with eighth-seeded Khyler Carstarphen ended in a 12-0 decision. Hofbauer quickly found himself down 7-0 following period one and despite a valiant effort, ended up suffering his 20th loss of the season and the end to his state tournament run. Hofbauer now caps off his junior campaign with a record of 25-20.
Thurman Christensen (120-pounds)
Waukee’s 120-pound star Thurman Christensen began day two just like he ended day one, with a victory. Class 3A’s third-ranked 120-pound wrestler began his day two-run against Peyton Westlin of North Scott-Eldridge presenting a third vs. sixth seed battle. Christensen jumped out of the gates early with his speed and ended the first period with a comfortable 5-0 lead following a takedown and a nearfall. Three nearfall points gave the junior an 8-2 lead heading into the final period. Christensen padded things up by executing a strong takedown and a late period escape to keep the lead large for the win.
That set up Christensen with a top-three battle against second-ranked and second-seeded Austin Kegley of Cedar Rapids Prairie. It was a tough battle for Christensen who fell early 10-1 following the first period. Despite a tough battle throughout, Christensen ended up suffering his first loss of the tournament and just fourth overall but it did knock the junior out of first place contention. Christensen will battle back for a shot at a third-place finish Saturday morning against Ankeny’s Cael Cox.
Connor Kelley (126-pounds)
The match-up that started the day off for Connor Kelley was another top-ten showdown as he threw down with Linn-Mar junior and fourth-ranked Bryce Prarke. It was an exciting battle but in the end, Kelley suffered a pinfall defeat for his first state tournament loss. Kelley still had the chance to battle back for the medal stand and had a strong match going against North Scott-Eldridge’s Cael Bredar. Thanks to a takedown within the first two minutes of action, Kelley held an early advantage that grew with a one-point escape in the second period. The only point Kelley allowed in the match came by an escape but in the end, the junior picked up a 3-1 win to advance on. Unfortunately in the next match against Johnston’s Thomas Edwards, a defensive battle that bled through two periods turned against Kelley late. Edwards picked up five late points via a takedown and a nearfall (three points) which came with just seconds left on the clock, officially dropping Kelley but he kept his medal Hope’s alive and will battle for a seventh place finish.
Cody Anderson (152-pounds)
The Class 3A second-ranked 152-pound wrestler known as Cody Anderson also began day two in dramatic fashion with a narrow 4-3 decision over Linn-Mar’s Abass Kemokai. Not many points were awarded across the first two periods but Anderson did find himself down 3-1 entering the final frame. The senior stood strong and brought down the hammer in the third period with a takedown and an escape to squeeze by and advance without a blemish to the semi-final round.
Once there, Anderson was presented with a battle against fifth-ranked Evan Yant of Waverly-Shell Rock. The match held everything a wrestling fan would want as both wrestlers picked up two points across the second and third periods for a dead-even tie at 4-4 at the conclusion of the third period. That gave fans an overtime frame to watch but unfortunately for Anderson, his title hopes were dashed as an early takedown gave the senior his first loss of the tournament 6-4. Anderson will now battle for a chance at third-place Saturday, beginning with a battle against Kody Cook of Fort Dodge.
Tanner Spyksma (170-pounds)
Despite evening up his tournament record to wrap up day one, sophomore Tanner Spyksma couldn’t replicate his winning ways in day two. His round-two match-up came against Class 3A’s seventh-ranked Zach Campbell of North Scott. Things were tough from the get-go with a 7-1 deficit for Spyksma following the first period of action. He picked up three points on the match but it wasn’t enough to overcome, falling 11-3 and officially concluding his time in the state tournament. Spyksama will end his 2019-20 season with a mark of 24-21.
Griffin Gammell (182-pounds)
Another round in and harder competition is what Waukee’s Griffin Gammell and 182-pound top seed saw as he battled in the semi-final match against fifth-seeded Taner Harvey of Boone. The match was strong but in the end, Gammell fell by a late 5-2 decision. Gammell had to battle back down 3-0 following the second period of action. Gammell drew two more points to bring the score close but two points for Harvey kept the match just out of Gammell’s reach in the loss. That marks the only loss of the tournament for Gammell who still has his eyes set on a high-place medal. He will now be in the hunt for a third-place finish but first, he must battle against Southeast Polk’s Justin Brindley (sixth seed) for the right to move on to the third-place match Saturday.