DES MOINES - They say the toughest wrestlers at the Iowa High School State Wrestling Championships are the ones that lose their first match and come all the way back to take third place.
If that is the case, toughness may run deep in Marshall County.
Both South Tama County senior Erik Lux and East Marshall/GMG senior Jay Reisetter suffered defeats in their first matches Wednesday. But neither has lost since and with one more win Saturday morning, both can battle for third place in their Class 2A weight classes.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
South Tama County’s Erik Lux, left, tries to gain the upper hand against Aaron Crossett of Knoxville during their third round consolation match Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Lux, the defending 160-pound state champion, will place between third and sixth at 170.
"There is some anger in there and it is certainly not what I wanted, but I have to stay mentally focused because I really want to take third," said Lux, who won the 160-pound title last year as a junior. "I am working hard to get back to that match."
East Marshall/GMG coach Troy Underhill said working hard is exactly what it takes to get third after losing the first match of the tournament. But he knew his senior grappler could handle the pressure.
"Jay is solid and Jay is steady," Underhill said. "The guy that beat Jay in the first round is in the finals and that is what we expected. We lost that one 3-2 so we knew Jay was capable of coming back. It is hard though. You have to face all the toughest matchups to get there."
Lux beat unranked Josh Bauer of Hampton-Dumont, 11-4, in his first match Friday and then continued to move up the podium with a 10-5 decision over third-ranked Aaron Crossett of Knoxville late Friday night.
"He is doing what he has to do," STC coach Nate Van Dyk said. "He's not happy to be where he is but he is not going to give up. He wants to get that third place finish now."
That sets up Lux for a rematch with the wrestler who gave him his first loss of the season in the opening round as the STC senior will face eighth-ranked Jack Leshen of Grinnell today with the winner to go for third.
"I just need to keep pushing the pace," Lux said.
Reisetter earned a pin Thursday to stay alive in the tournament and then scored another win by fall in his first match Friday against No. 6 Dallas Rozeboom of Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley.
In his final match of the night, he handed ninth-ranked Phirom Peterschmidt a 7-3 loss to keep his hopes of third place alive.
"It is hard to come back, but you just have to take it one match at a time," Reisetter said. "Don't think about the next one. Take care of the one you are on. Last year, I let the crowd get to me. This year, I am blocking things out and just focusing on what I have to do."
Reisetter will face unranked Nikko Wheeler of Humboldt in Saturday's opener. Wheeler is 40-10 this year.
"If Jay has a weak spot, I haven't seen it," Underhill said.
East Marshall/GMG junior Zach Underhill had one of the worst draws in the entire tournament when he had to face top-ranked Leighton Gaul of New Hampton. He came back to win his wrestleback Thursday but suffered another loss by pin Friday afternoon, this time losing to third-ranked Charlie Jones of Waterloo Columbus.
"His goal was to get here, but maybe the nerves got to him a little bit," Coach Underhill said. "I believe he is better than what he showed. But the first thing he told me when he came off the mat today was that he was already ready for next year."
Levi Kaufman and Kolton Smith also competed for South Tama County on Friday.
Smith won his first match Thursday but suffered two losses Friday and was eliminated. Kaufman went 1-1 on day one and then dropped a 12-2 major decision in his only match of the day. Smith was pinned in his quarterfinal and lost 2-0 in his elimination match.
"Both matches could have gone either way," Van Dyk said. "I feel bad for Levi because he is a senior. He wanted to be on the podium. Kolton has come a long way since when he first started. He can get better though and with one more year, I expect him to get back here next year. This was a good learning experience."
The Class 2A consolation semifinals and finals will start at 10 a.m. today. The finals in all classes will begin after the grand march at 6 p.m. Top-ranked West Delaware is leading the team race with 121 points, while third-ranked Mediapolis is in second with 86. Second-ranked Davenport Assumption (73), sixth-ranked Union Community (57.5) and Creston/Orient-Macksburg (53) round out the top five. Reisetter went 0-2 at state last year. Underhill, Smith and Kaufman were all making their first trips to state.