A star is born
EM/GMG’s Dominik Ridout rises to 3rd in state debut
DES MOINES — East Marshall/GMG sophomore Dominik Ridout won’t be able to shake the feeling for a long time, but he’s excited about the opportunity to put that new chip on his shoulder to good use over the next two seasons.
The Mustangs’ 120-pounder worked his way back from a semifinal defeat to the eventual champion to win twice on Saturday at the Iowa High School State Wrestling Championships at Wells Fargo Arena, recovering to claim third place in his first trip to state.
“It feels good knowing that I lost to a good kid and he ended up winning the title,” Ridout said after Saturday’s awards ceremony. “It’s actually nice, it feels good but yeah, I fell short.”
Ridout rounded out his first state meet appearance with a 38-1 record, going 4-1 at the Well with Friday’s third-period loss by fall to eventual champion Colby Lilegard from Bondurant-Farrar serving as the only setback on his season.
In Saturday morning’s consolation semifinals, Ridout rattled off a 9-0 major decision over Forest City junior Brock Moore (41-15) before running into an all-too-familiar foe in the match for third place. Union Community’s fourth-ranked junior Kolten Crawford closed the gap but couldn’t get off the mat as Ridout rode him out the entire third period while protecting a 2-0 lead for the victory by the same score.
The top-ranked Ridout improved to 3-0 against Crawford (35-10) this season and locked up third place to become the Mustangs’ first state meet medalist since Nick Meling was sixth at 120 pounds in 2017. Ridout is the highest-finishing Mustang since Ryan Valline won a title in 2011, and the first sophomore medalwinner since Kyle Blocker took third that same winter.
None of that mattered much on Saturday night when, while standing on the podium, Ridout said he couldn’t get past his only loss of the season.
“I’m not going to get that out of my head, yeah, but I was thinking about it too,” he said, “like, ‘I should have done this.’ I kept playing all the outcomes in my head but now I’ve got to get over it.
“I’m going to have it as a chip on my shoulder, so hopefully next year I have something to work even harder for.”
Ridout was the highest placewinner of the area’s seven 2A qualifiers, and one of three sophomores to reach the medal stand on Saturday night.
South Tama County sophomore Logan Arp, ranked eighth at 126 pounds, placed fifth with a 4-2 week in his state meet debut, while fellow first-time qualifier Payton Vest, a junior, pinned his way through the back side of the 182-pound bracket after a first-round defeat and eventually took fourth.
“I’m very proud of these guys,” STC head coach Nate Van Dyke said. “They took a big step for themselves and for our team.”
Arp (34-11) suffered a surprising first-round defeat on Thursday but bounced back to march through the consolation rounds, securing fifth place on Saturday with a consolation semifinal loss followed by a win in the match for third.
Arp dropped a 6-2 decision to Osage’s Joe Sullivan (52-5) but had enough left in the tank to take down Vinton-Shellsburg’s Brady Ortner (44-9) in a 10-6 decision.
“It feels nice to be on the podium and being close to the top, as close as you can get,” said Arp. “Fifth as a sophomore is pretty good but I feel like I could have done better. Hopefully I can do it again two more years and get higher and higher.”
All six of Vest’s state tournament showdowns ended in a fall, four of them favoring the Trojan junior who closed is campaign with a 28-15 record and a fourth-place medal.
Vest was pinned in 48 seconds by Forest City’s Reese Moore (47-4) in the third-place bout, but that was after starting Saturday’s consolation rounds with a semifinal pin of Charles City’s Caden Collins (33-8) in a time of 1:35.
“I had a lot of fun this week, this weekend, this whole season,” Vest said.
After getting pinned by eventual 2A champion Sage Walker of Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont in the first round, Vest mowed down the competition in the consolation rounds. None of his matches even made it to the third period.
“I wrestled the first-seeded kid (Walker) and I’m not ranked all season but I’m trying to but I’m still doing stuff, I’m still beating people I shouldn’t beat and shocking a lot of people,” Vest added. “Maybe I should be. I should have beat a lot more people but that’s just how it went and I’m glad i performed the way I did up here.”
He earned bragging rights in his family, too, as older brother Colton, a three-time state medalist, never finished as high as fourth. Colton came in eighth, fifth and eighth from 2016-2018, but never fourth.
“That’s something I can rub in his face I guess,” Payton smiled.
Van Dyke liked the fact that neither wrestler had reached the end of their careers yet, and that both would be back in the room next winter.
“Payton wrestled outstanding, he came back with four-straight pins on the back side and got himself into that third-place match,” Van Dyke said. “We saw a wrestler that we hadn’t seen before. He never wrestled the caliber he’s wrestling right now. I think he just got on a roll, started believing in himself and got excited about it.
“Logan got fifth and he had to beat some good kids to do it. The first round didn’t go like we thought it was going to and then he has to come back and win three-straight to get back into that match and he doesn’t settle for seventh place, he wins two more matches. Awesome.”
South Hardin-BCLUW sophomore Carter Kolthoff, ranked seventh, rose to fifth place with a 4-2 showing in his maiden state meet voyage.
He’s just the third medalist in the 10 years since South Hardin and BCLUW became the Storm wrestling program. Tyler Lutes was a state runner-up in 2014, and Carter’s brother Taylor placed seventh two years ago.
“It’s good, but I know I could have done better,” Kolthoff said. “It’s obviously a learning experience.”
Kolthoff took to the mat for Saturday’s consolation semifinals with a showdown against sixth-ranked Derrick Bass of Davenport Assumption and couldn’t catch up from an early deficit and fell 14-9.
In the match for fifth, Kolthoff was in complete control of fifth-ranked Lane Scorpil of Columbus Community and carried a 14-1 lead into the third period before pinning him in 5:02 to claim fifth place.
“The last match he just came out there and really put everything together,” SH-BCLUW co-coach Stacy Simpson said. “He was very clean, very solid, dominated what was going on.
“It’s very good to be able to end the season this way with a dominant win, especially down here at state.”