DES MOINES - It's been four years, but West Marshall senior Kyle Blocker has finally reached a state championship match.
After earning two spots on the podium in his two seasons at East Marshall/GMG and then missing out on the tournament all together last year, Blocker breezed his way through the quarterfinals and semifinals on Friday during Class 1A action at the Iowa High School State Wrestling Championships at Wells Fargo Arena.
He will take his undefeated record into the 138-pound final tonight against fifth-ranked Jason Crosby of Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
West Marshall senior Kyle Blocker gains control of Belle Plaine’s Lance Hinschberger during their 138-pound semifinal in Class 1A action Friday at the state wrestling tournament in Des Moines.
Blocker, who is ranked No. 1, defeated fourth-ranked Colton Martin of Alburnett, 5-3, in the quarterfinals and then came back to beat unranked Lance Hinschberger of Belle Plaine, 6-3, in the semifinals. Martin entered the quarterfinals with a 47-1 record.
The rest of Blocker's teammates did not fare as well Friday. The Trojans entered the semifinal round in third place and very much in the title chase. But four losses in the next round have pushed the fifth-ranked Trojans into sixth place with 50 points.
Top-ranked ALburnett leads the team standings with 96.5 and is 30 points ahead of second-ranked Emmetsburg. Seventh-ranked Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont (58), Wilton (53) and third-ranked Woodbury Central (50.5) round out the top five.
Both Tanner Arnold (152) and Dale Hilleman (160) reached the semifinals of their weight classes but lost and Devin Chesler and Cole Needham also fell in their final matches of the day.
All five Trojans will have a spot on the podium tonight though. Blocker (53-0) may get to the highest point of the podium, while Arnold (43-4) and Hilleman (43-5) are still alive for third. Chesler (48-6) and Needham (45-8) can now do no better than seventh.
AGWSR sophomore Clay Meinders (37-9) also stayed alive on Friday when he upset second-ranked Adam Hawkins of BGM in the consolation round. He lost his second wrestleback of the day and can now do no better than seventh at 195.
In the quarterfinals, sixth-ranked Arnold bested Nathan Boyer of Wapello, 9-2, to reach the semifinals but then lost a close 4-3 decision to third-ranked Cody Nelson of North Butler. He will face second-ranked Grant Henderson (47-3) of Alburnett today and the winner of that match will wrestle for third later in the day.
Hilleman beat Lynnville-Sully's Caden Doll by injury default to reach the semifinals and then was pinned by second-ranked Dylan Windfield of Alburnett in the semis. Windfield is now 46-1 on the season.
Hilleman will try to wrestle for third today when he takes on 10th ranked Wyatt Lewis of Council Bluffs St. Albert. Lewis is 48-7 on the season.
Needham is the first freshman at West Marshall to find a spot on the podium this millennium. He beat ninth-ranked Riley Klein of Underwood by a 13-5 major decision to clinch a spot on the medal stand. He then lost to third-ranked Aaron Bartenhagen of Durant, 5-4, in the consolation wrestleback.
The best fifth-ranked Needham can do now is seventh and that match takes place today. He will face eighth-ranked Christian Polley of Tri-Center. Polley comes into the match with a record of 43-10.
Chesler took a similar path to his seventh-place match as Needham did. The Trojan junior beat 10th ranked Austin Laabs of Guthrie Center, 8-5, to clinch a spot on the podium and then lost a 10-6 decision to sixth-ranked Bryson Kinyon of East Union.
Chesler will face a familiar foe in the seventh-place match as he will take on eighth-ranked Zach Hoyle of Alburnett. Seventh-ranked Chesler pinned Hoyle (35-10) in the opening round Thursday.
Meinders will be the third area athlete to try for seventh place. He beat Hawkins of BGM, 3-1, to stay alive and earn a place at the medal stand Friday morning and then lost to eighth-ranked Chris Brincks of South Winneshiek by fall in the consolation wrestleback.
The 10th-ranked Meinders faces unranked Taylor Hein of Panorama in today's seventh-place match at 195.
The Class 1A consolation semifinals and finals begin at 10 a.m. today.