ALLEMAN – The North Polk wrestling team advanced two wrestlers to districts and crowned one champion at the Class 2A sectional meet in Alleman Saturday.
Senior Landon Schuessler – a state qualifier a year ago – took a big step toward making it back to Des Moines after claiming the 160-pound championship for North Polk at sectionals. He will be joined by teammate T.J. Krehbeil at districts next week in Adel after Krehbeil came in second at 285 Saturday.
As a team North Polk placed fifth out of six schools at sectionals with 127 points. Grinnell won with 231 points and Saydel was second with a score of 214.
“This season has been riddled with injuries and illnesses, but the last week we’ve had several guys back and we’ve had a good last couple of weeks,” North Polk head coach Kirk Hesse said. “Besides the two guys we had qualify (for districts), we had three others that had the possibility of making it.”
Schuessler is one of the Comet wrestlers that fought through injuries this season. But on Saturday he brought his “A” game – picking up a major decision and a strong victory by decision to take first.
Schuessler received a bye in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals he earned an 8-0 major decision over Bondurant-Farrar’s Cole Bailey.
That set up a tilt with Saydel’s Dylan Coffin, who took a 19-5 record into the championship match. Schuessler was able to control Coffin and pick up a 7-4 victory to improve to 16-2 on the season.
“Landon is wrestling better than ever,” Hesse said. “If he continues that improvement, I’m looking for a strong placing at state.”
Krehbeil also received a bye in the quarterfinals at 285. In the semifinals he pinned Grinnell’s Jacob Cline in 24 seconds to earn a spot in the finals.
In the championship match Krehbeil was pinned by Adel-Desoto-Minburn’s Adam Heath. Krehbeil then had to compete in a wrestleback match to secure second place after Woodward-Granger’s Ryan Hodges was victorious in the third-place match.
Krehbeil made sure not to let his shot at making districts slip away as he pinned Hodges in 3:21 to raise his season record to 20-4.
“T.J. has worked hard all season,” Hesse said. “Now that work is paying off.”
Chase Erickson (106), Austin Smith (113) and Ben Bruggeman (220) all fell one spot shy of qualifying for districts as they each took third.
Erickson and Smith were painfully close to qualifying for districts. They both came up short in a wrestleback match.
Erickson opened with a bye, then defeated Grinnell’s Lane Milner by a 6-0 decision. In the finals Erickson lost by fall to Saydel’s Devon VanHouen.
Erickson was forced to win a wrestleback to secure second place after Bondurant-Farrar’s Walter Long won the third-place match. Erickson suffered a 4-1 loss at the hands Long to end the season with a 23-17 record.
Smith pinned Bondurant-Farrar’s Brandon Behle in 5:16 during the quarterfinals, but he lost in the semifinals by fall to Saydel’s Justin Roepsch. Smith came back to pin ADM’s Kyle Wilkerson in 2:58 to win the third-place match and earn a wrestleback match in the process.
In the wrestleback Smith was pitted against Grinnell’s Kaiden Gosselink, and Gosselink handed him a loss by fall. Smith ended the season at 23-18.
Bruggeman opened with a bye, then lost by a close 8-5 decision to Grinnell’s Anthony Clayton. Bruggeman rebounded to win the third-place match by pinning ADM’s Zach Ostendorf in 2:31, but he was unable to receive a wrestleback.
Gabe Surles (120), Cody Meiners (132), Chandler Smith (145) and Graham Hoshaw (170) each won one match during sectionals for North Polk. Surles, Meiners and Hoshaw each placed fourth and Chandler took fifth.
The 2A district meet at Adel will take place next Saturday at noon.
Final team scores: 1. Grinnell 231, 2. Saydel 214, 3. Bondurant-Farrar 166.5, 4. ADM 147.5, 5. North Polk 127, 6. Woodward-Granger 122.
Individual results – North Polk
106 pounds – 3. Chase Erickson (1-2); 113 – 3. Austin Smith (2-2); 120 – 4. Gabe Surles (1-2); 132 – 4. Cody Meiners (1-2); 145 – 5. Chandler Smith (1-1); 160 – 1. Landon Schuessler (2-0); 170 – 4. Graham Hoshaw (1-2); 220 – 3. Ben Bruggeman (1-1); 285 – 2. T.J. Krehbeil (2-1).