Bobcats’ Hageman hanging around
DES MOINES — Reese Hageman finally secured a special kind of victory that eluded him a year ago.
The Marshalltown senior lost in his first-round match Thursday to No. 5 Colin Conway, but came back with a more aggressive attitude and took a 5-2 decision from Caleb Kingery to advance to the second day of the Iowa High School State Wrestling Championships.
The 152-pounder earned a late first-period takedown of Kingery, a sophomore out of Lewis Central, and continued to build off his lead throughout the bout.
“It felt good to actually get a takedown,” Hageman said. “Then you have a lead and you build on it. It’s just a boost of confidence. You know you can take him down and keep going. [Hageman wanted to be] more aggressive, stay on him, push him and use my conditioning against him and try to break him down to score points off that.”
Hageman got away from Kingery right off the bat in the second period and snagged another takedown midway through the same stanza. Kingery got away a couple of times in the second and third frames, but it wasn’t enough to come back against the MHS grappler.
Head coach Mike Mann said he was content with how Hageman went about his first match with the fifth-ranked Conway from Marion.
“I thought he wrestled really well. He avoided getting taken down in a couple opportunities in the first period. He kept it close,” Mann said. “When you get down here, and you have a chance to score on a guy, you have to finish right away. A good guy will stop you from finishing though. He wrestled a good match, I didn’t have any problem with that.”
Hageman and Conway went shot for shot, unable to get anything definitive in the first period, leaving the bout as a stalemate through the first frame.
But just after the second period began, Conway snagged an escape point, going up 1-0. Conway then grabbed a takedown shortly after and another with 22 seconds left in the third period to take the 5-0 decision.
“He was just more aggressive than me,” Hageman said. “He went mostly to the opposite side. I’m kind of a shoot-one-way kind of [wrestler]. And it seemed like he always wanted to go the other way. It felt odd for me and I didn’t quite adjust the way I should have, and he just kept going until the end. He just got to me.”
Between the first and second round, Mann and Hageman talked about being more aggressive, taking quicker shots and earning the victory his way.
Hageman will be heading into the second day of the state tournament for the first time in his career. The senior bowed out in the first day last year after two consecutive losses, but was the only non-senior wrestler in a group that sent four to the state tournament.
Making it to the next day is a crowning achievement, but Mann and Hageman both have other plans for how they expect the rest of the weekend to go.
“It feels good, feels great. After 0-2 last year, it just feels good to win,” Hageman said. “Who doesn’t like to win? I hope the kids coming in next year get to see it and build off it, work over the summer and get better.”
Mann said it didn’t matter that the Bobcats sent just one wrestler to the state tournament this year. Having Hageman at Wells Fargo Arena sends a message about the program’s direction.
“It’s awesome. It’s a good point for your program to have your kids come down here and be successful,” Mann said. “We just have to win the next couple matches and work on becoming a state placewinner.”
Hageman’s draw will either be against No. 1 Nelson Brands from Iowa City, or a familiar foe in No. 10 Shawn Brown of Des Moines Lincoln.
Hageman fell to Brown earlier this season at the CIML Invitational, a 3-2 decision that was decided in the waning seconds of the third period.
The MHS senior said he likes his odds against Brown, if that’s who he gets on the backside of the consolation bracket, because Brown is more defensive wrestler. Hageman said he just made an error late, and Brown made him pay.
Day two begins with the fourth session of the tournament, beginning at 9 a.m. with Class 3A and Class 1A quarterfinals. The 3A and 1A second-round consolations (where Hageman is positioned) will wrestle immediately after the quarterfinal bouts. The consolation matches will begin on the first open mats after the 1A quarterfinal round concludes.