Emmetsburg, Graettinger-Terril Sending 5 to ‘The Well’

Following the District Wrestling Meets over the weekend, Palo Alto Community will be represented by five wrestlers.

Over the weekend, members of the wrestling teams all over Palo Alto County took their final shot at their spots among those making the trip to Wells Fargo in Des Moines. Along with any other competition there were sweet tastes of victory, but what also befell these athletes was the bitter and sour tastes of defeat ending their seasons and even some careers.

For coaches, there are no prouder moments than to see a team member’s hand held high in victory. In the same breath, there is also no other gut wrenching feeling than seeing an athlete stand in the middle of the mat feeling firsthand that they have come up just shy of their goal.

February in Iowa holds both of these feelings. The bitter cold does nothing to warm the spirits of Iowa wrestlers who fell short. But for the five victors spanning from Graettinger-Terrill and Emmetsburg High Schools, their realization of making the trip makes these balmy temperatures seem like summer.

On February 15th, Coach Tyler Bjustrom and his E-Hawk wrestlers headed to Algona to the Class 2A District 1 meet. The top two wrestlers in this meet would have gotten their ticket punched to the State Tournament that will be kicking off on Thursday, February 20th at Wells Fargo Arena. Twelve teams showed up to take their spots, but three E-Hawks were crowned on the day with many hard fought match ups.

At 152 pounds, Bret Hoyman claimed the only 1st place finish for the E-Hawk team after defeating Luke McKenna of Algona by a decision score of 10-3 in the semifinal round. Then Hoyman was able to put together a close 6-4 decision of Forest City’s Kristian Gunderson sealing his spot on top of the podium and punching his ticket. On the year, Hoyman has an overall record of 54-10 with 31 pins, two techs and eight major decisions. This is Bret’s senior year.

Sole Champion for the E-Hawk squad. Photo Credit: Russ Naeve

Senior Mason Griffin wrestled hard against Osage’s Spencer Mooberry in the 1st Place match, but was unable to overcome the junior and dropped the top spot by a decision score of 6-2. Heading now into the 2nd place match-up, the Garner-Hayfield/Ventura senior, Adam Heflin, was defeated by way of No Contest. Heflin is 38-20 on the season. Griffin will be taking his final shot at State Champion having fallen last season to an 8th place finish. Griffin will be heading into the tournament with an overall record of 20-2.

Senior Mason Griffin will be hoping to stand a bit higher at the end of this years State Wrestling Championship. Photo Credit: Russ Naeve

The final state qualifier for the E-Hawks is a special one. Sophomore Matt Wirtz who is wrestling well at the 182-pound mark will be seeing his first time on the big stage following his 2nd place finish over Humboldt’s Logan Nilles after winning a decisive victory by decision of 8-3. Wirtz fell to Forest City’s Reese Moore by way of a 10-5 decision in the 1st place match.

Sophomore Matthew Wirtz stands at the 2nd place spot on the podium. A lot of great things expected at such a young age. Photo Credit: Russ Naeve

On to the other two state qualifiers out of Graettinger/Terrill that deserve just as much attention. Seniors Treyton Cacek, an absolute monster on the mats, and Spencer Roth. Both Titan wrestlers have been destroying competition all year long. Combined together, Roth and Cacek have lost just 4 times all season; three defeats to Roth and just one to Cacek. With both of their overall records set at 46 for Cacek and 44 for Roth, all eyes are set to watch the fireworks this weekend as these two are rare to disappoint.

In the semifinal round of the 160-pound class, Spencer earned a major decision, yes a major decision at the District meet, after defeating Pocahontas Area’s Thomas Melohn 8-0. In the 1st place match, Roth was able to solidify a performance without a single point being scored on him during the meet defeating Dahson DeJong of Sibley-Ocheyedan 6-0.

Onto the 182-pound bouts with Treyton. Cacek is special. He had given up his only loss of the season occurred duing the Herb Irgens Invite later last month when Don Bosco’s Thomas Even won by decision 5-2. Cacek has been on a tear since then though and was able to win by way of three pins and one 8-2 decision during the Sectional and, most recently, Districts. Cacek took charge during Districts at Sioux Central pinning Keaton Bindel of Pocahontas Area in the semifinal round and also Carson Lynott of West Sioux, Harwarden.

The stage has been set and the brackets are in stone. What will come from this year is sure to be shrouded in story. The next generations will remember the greats and the current champions will be watching on to see who will become the greatest at their weights in this year’s State Wrestling Tournament.