DES MOINES — A distinguished high school wrestling career for Panorama’s Wyatt Appleseth ended with a second-place spot on the Class 2A 160-pound podium at the state tournament Saturday.
Appleseth, ranked second, dropped a 7-2 decision to Solon junior Hayden Taylor (39-0) in the championship match. Taylor was 52-0 and a state titleist at 145 pounds last season after winning a state title as a freshman as well. He will have an opportunity to become Iowa’s 30th four-time champion if he can claim another title next winter.
“I know Wyatt is a little disappointed right now, but if you are going to lose, it might as well be to a kid who is likely to be a four-time champion, because that is what it took to stop him (Appleseth),” Panorama head coach Jason Kirtley said shortly after the awards ceremony for the weight class. “Wyatt was 42-1 and third last year, and his only loss was in the state semifinals to the eventual champion. It took the state champ this year to give him his only loss (against 46 wins) as a senior.”
Appleseth joined Joe Atwell (2008) as the only wrestlers in school history to reach the championship bout. He was eighth at 132 pounds as a freshman and qualified for state at 145 pounds as sophomore.
The only four-time state tourney qualifier for his school, he is the only Panther with more than 150 career wins, and has reset the bar extremely high, departing with a combined mark of 170-19 (.899).
“He has been an incredible example for the rest of our kids,” Kirtley said. “All the extra work he put in on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s and Sunday’s, all the additional work at High Altitude (wrestling club) and at Grand View — it all paid off. And the other kids in the program have seen that, and seen the difference it can make, and that kind of leadership by example is just going to make all of them that much better.”