Mixed outcomes for Bobcat matmen
DES MOINES — The highs and lows of state wrestling were apparent within minutes of each other on opposite sides of the floor in Saturday’s action at Wells Fargo Arena.
Carson Williams, Marshalltown’s 220-pound senior ranked No. 4 in the state by The Predicament, was on the mat after losing in the fifth-place match to No. 7 Luke Gaffney of Linn-Mar via pin just three minutes into their match.
Williams teared up as he left the mat, his high school athletic career not ending in the way he wanted. The emotion was understandable — it was Williams’ last planned wrestling match of his career as he turns his focus to football, where he will be attending University at Buffalo in New York and playing tight end.
Williams lost both of his matches on Saturday, losing in the consolation semifinals to Le Mars’ Colton Hoag (ranked No. 5 by The Predicament) in a tense 1-0 match. The pin from the seventh-ranked Gaffney (19-5) was something Williams said he didn’t see coming given how the match was going.
But while the loss was still raw, Williams (34-5) said it didn’t wipe out what was a successful weekend for him at Wells Fargo Arena.
“It definitely wasn’t the way I wanted to end it,” Williams said. “I mean, I had a great season compared to last year so I’m just happy about that.”
It ends a season in which Williams went 34-8 and reached state for the first time as a Bobcat.
The other Marshalltown wrestler competing at state was also in action Saturday — and senior Julian Gomez’s emotions were on the other side of the spectrum after a 7-2 decision victory over Kody Huisman of Pella.
Gomez (15-6) was in control from start to finish in the third set after a back-and-forth first two periods of action.
Gomez said he was able to put Huisman (22-11) in difficult spots when it mattered most.
“I was kinda seeing that he was getting more and more tired,” Gomez said. “He started doing sloppier shots trying to knee-snatch me, and I like to think I’m too fast for a knee-snatch. So I’d just blow it by.”
An undersized wrestler for the heavyweight division, Gomez overcame a weight and size disadvantage to go 19-7 on the season.
Head coach Mike Mann was impressed with Gomez and his performances throughout the weekend. He also had positive words to say about the impact Williams and Gomez had on the program.
“Kudos to Gomez, what a great match,” Mann said. “Deciding to get to heavyweight and qualify and go up against some big dogs weighing 214 pounds or whatever, just awesome.
“He’s grown so much and learned so much from a year ago. The kids mature and become leaders their senior year. He dominated everybody this year, only had a couple losses, was a team leader.”
This marked the first time two Bobcats reached the podium since three scored medals for MHS in 2016.