PCM finishes top five; crowns first ever PCM State Champion

by Kinsey Phipps

Qualifying six for the State tournament and becoming District Champions was something PCM High School wrestling has never accomplished before. At the 2018 Iowa High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Tournament, PCM would accomplish two more mountains never to be climbed by the Mustang wrestling program: have a top five team finish and crown a champion. Along with that were two fourth-place finishes for PCM. Mustang history was made at Wells Fargo Arena from Feb. 15-17.

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Junior Lucas Roland hugs head coach Jeff Nicholson in celebration after qualifying for the State Finals by semifinal domination on Feb. 16 over Mount Vernon’s junior Paul Ryan, 8-5. Roland then went on to become PCM’s first State Champion. /by Kinsey Phipps

 

Thursday

Taking the mat at 9 a.m. sharp on the morning of Feb. 15, freshman Landon Fenton made his State debut wrestling first in the 106-pound weight class. Fenton faced No. 10-ranked junior Mason Hill of Cherokee, Washington. Hill came out strong and in control in the first period, and Fenton fought back to rally the score into the third. In the end, Hill earned a last-second reversal with back points to take a victory over Fenton 7-3.

Next was senior Chase Shirk in the 126-pound weight class. Shirk had a battle ahead of him, facing No. 5-ranked sophomore Kayden Kauzlarich of Centerville. Shirk held his own, but he fell short to Kauzlarich 3-1.

Freshman Colby Tool faced No. 9-ranked sophomore Matthew Doyle of Independence. Tool and Doyle were neck-and-neck the whole way through, but Doyle came out on top first round against Tool, taking the match 4-3. 

The crowd was anticipating the 160-pound match consisting of PCM junior No. 3-ranked Wes Cummings and No. 2-ranked senior Luke Hageman of Dyersville Beckman. Cummings earned the first takedown and for the first two periods, Cummings was in control. By the end of the third period, Cummings was losing steam. In the last seconds of the match, Hageman stuck Cummings on his back and pinned him for the win.

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Junior Wes Cummings celebrates on the mat after pinning his opponent, No.8-ranked senior Cale Reicks of New Hampton-Turkey Valley, in a mere 42 seconds on Feb. 16. Cummings earned a fourth place medal at 160 pounds in 2A. /by Kinsey Phipps

Junior Lucas Roland has proved his dominance in the 170-pound weight class all season. In his first round matchup, No. 1-ranked Roland faced No. 8-ranked senior Zane Williams of Webster City. Roland continued his dominance by defeating Williams by technical fall in 5:56, with a final score of 18-3.

The final round of first round matches for PCM was junior Jarron Trausch in the 182-pound weight class. No. 7-ranked Trausch faced senior Jackson Gingerich from West Liberty. Trausch proved dominant through the entire period, winning by major decision 14-3.

Fenton, Shirk, Tool and Cummings all had to wrestle again later in the consolation round to redeem for their first-round losses.

Fenton was up first against a tough No. 4-ranked freshman Averee Abben of Osage. Fenton achieved what many didn’t believe he could when he stuck Abben late in the first period, earning a pin in 1:46.

Shirk wrestled No. 9-ranked senior Carter Weeks of Vinton Shellsburg. The pair was evenly matched, and the score was a back-and-forth battle until the final few seconds when Weeks earned back points on Shirk. The final score was 6-4 Weeks, ending Shirk’s wrestling career early.

Tool wrestled senior Cade Vicker of Creston/Orient-Macksburg. Tool defeated Vicker by major decision, 12-1.

Last to wrestle on Feb. 15 was Cummings. Cummings wasted no time up against senior Alex Freiburg of Sergeant Bluff, winning by fall in 53 seconds.

Five out of the six qualifiers earned their spot to wrestle on Feb. 16 for a chance to continue fighting for a medal.

 

Friday

Feb. 16 began with the quarterfinal round for PCM’s Roland and Trausch. Roland took on sophomore Jack Neuhaus of West Delaware. Roland prevailed by decision, 8-3. This sealed his fate to be on the podium somewhere.

Trausch went up against No. 5-ranked Thomas Bentley of Red Oak. Trausch and Bentley went head-to-head a week prior at the Regional Duals held at PCM where Trausch prevailed by decision. In the quarters, Bentley avenged his loss by sticking Trausch to win by fall in the first period. Trausch would wrestle in the next consolation round to fight for a medal.

First up in the consolations was Fenton. Fenton took on the strong No. 5-ranked junior Jacob Mielke of Pocahontas Area. Mielk prevailed by decision 7-0 ending Fenton’s freshman wrestling season.

Next was Tool up against sophomore Adam Hansen of Center Point-Urbana. In dominate fashion, Tool outwrestled his opponent by decision 7-0, sealing a spot on the podium. 

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Freshman Colby Tool displays his strength on Feb. 16 after his dominating victory in the consolation round over sophomore Adam Hansen of Center-Point Urbana. Tool went on to place fourth in 2A at 138./by Kinsey Phipps

Cummings wrestled No. 8-ranked senior Cale Reicks of New Hampton-Turkey Valley. Cummings wasted no time, pinning Reicks in 42 seconds and securing a spot on the podium, as well.

Trausch wrestled in the consolation round next against No. 3-ranked senior Ben Lee of Ballard. The match ended with Lee sticking Trausch in 3:04, ending Trausch’s season off the podium and hungry for next year.

The third round of consolation matches began with Tool, wrestling sophomore Cam Rice of Columbus Community. Tool earned his first fall of the tournament, pinning Rice in 4:42.

Cummings wrestled next in third-round consolations against No. 7-ranked junior Cotler Bye of Cresco. Cummings earned his third fall of the State tournament over Bye in 3:34.

Finishing off the day was the 2A semifinal round. Roland had been waiting for this since the tournament began; Roland had been waiting for a chance to qualify for the State Finals all season. Roland wrestled Mount Vernon’s junior Paul Ryan. Ryan was unranked, but he put up a difficult fight. In the end, Roland pulled out the win by decision 8-5. He finished the match with a yell, a display of his strength and a point to his mother in the stands.

 

Saturday

The morning of Feb. 17 meant placing day for PCM’s Tool and Cummings. First was the semifinal consolations, where wrestlers would find out what place they would be wrestling for that afternoon.

Tool was up first in a rematch against Doyle. Tool avenged his first round loss with dominating strength. The match was without a takedown, and the only point scored was an escape from Tool. This sealed his fate to wrestle for third place later that day, and the worst Tool could do was fourth on the podium.

Cummings wrestled No. 6-ranked sophomore Zach Williams of Osage in the semifinal consolation round. In typical Cummings fashion, he wasted no time and earned another pin in 2:42 making it look easy. Cummings, like Tool, would wrestle for third and could do no worse than fourth place on the podium.

In the third place matchup for Tool, he took on No. 4-ranked senior Tanner Probasco of South Tama. Probasco proved his skill, winning by major decision 9-1 over Tool. This left an unranked Tool in fourth place in 2A at 138 pounds with three seasons left in his high school career.

Cummings faced No. 4-ranked senior Tate Battani of Ballard in the third place matchup. Battani prevailed over Cummings by decision 11-5, sealing a fourth-place finish for Cummings.

 

State Finals

At 6 p.m. on Feb. 17, three Mustang wrestlers walked in the Grand March before the State Finals. Tool, Cummings and Roland all walked with their fellow placewinners, Roland awaiting to wrestle in the match of his life. Roland went up against No. 2-ranked senior Kolton Bartow of Dubuque Wahlert, an opponent Roland lost to twice last year.

There was so much more on the line for Roland than being at the top of the podium; this match could avenge losses, give PCM wrestling their very first champion, and a win for Roland would be a win for his mother, Jeri, who is currently battling breast cancer.

Losing wasn’t an option for Roland, and he made that clear when he dominated the entire match. Roland only allowed Bartow to score one point for Roland’s five. The final score was 5-1, Roland, with a standing ovation as he ran straight to his family for hugs. There weren’t many dry eyes in Wells Fargo Arena after the 170-pound championship. In 2018, Prairie City-Monroe wrestling saw their first wrestler at the top of the podium. There is much more to come for this PCM junior.