TRURO — Eighth-rated sophomore Wyatt Appleseth (145 pounds) earned his second consecutive appearance at the state tournament while Panorama teammate Garret Fox (170), a senior, will cap his prep career on the big stage as a result of their efforts at Saturday’s district tourney.
Appleseth (38-3) was eight last season at 132 pounds and will looking to climb higher on the podium, while Fox (32-14) would dearly love to go out standing on the awards stand. The former moves on after winning his weight class, with the latter winning a wrestle-back to qualify as a district runner-up.
A total of seven Panthers were in action, with tough losses in wrestle-back matches keeping senior Noah Kirtley (152 pounds), junior Emry Colby (160) and senior Hunter Holmes (285) from joining their teammates in Des Moines. Sophomore Logan Christe (113) also finished third, with freshman Cooper Andersen (182) finishing fourth.
Appleseth scored a 6-0 decision over Central Decatur’s Elliott Ness (26-18), then pinned Southeast Warren’s Kaleb Bauer (7-6) in 1 minute, 19 seconds to return to Des Moines.
Fox suffered a 12-4 major decision loss to I-35’s Drew Kirkpatrick (41-7) but bounced back to stay alive by pinning Wayne’s Broday Langloss (19-12) in 2:19. Given a chance at a wrestle-back (Kirkpatrick winning in the finals) he nailed Trevor Flettre (25-14) of Nodaway Valley in 4:13 to move on.
Kirtley (31-16) was handed a 16-4 major decision loss by Ethan Elliott (42-1) of I-35, who is ranked fourth. Kirtley pinned J.T. Rowe (24-20) of SEW in 2:55 to keep hope alive, but came up on the wrong end of an 11-6 decision against WCV’s Cole Sackett (35-8) in their wrestle-back.
Colby (26-14) also had a wrestle-back. He lost by fall to second-ranked Drew Venteicher (31-1) of Bedford-Lenox, but replied with a pin, in 3:04, of AHSTW’s Seth Kiegel (28-14). A loss by fall to Hunter Cobb (29-6) of Wayne ended his season.
A final wrestle-back chance was presented to heavyweight Holmes (26-20) as well. He lost by fall to Ryley Snell (37-10) of I-35 before pinning Rush Rowan (25-23) of WCV in 5:11, but fifth-ranked Josh Cox (23-6) of Mt. Ayr scored a pin to eliminate Holmes.
Christe (24-19) had no second chance. He dropped a tough 4-2 decision to Moravia’s Will Marten before pinning Ben Breheny (24-15) of Nodaway Valley in 4:46. Unfortunately for Christe, Marten lost in the finals, and automatically bounced Christe on his ‘prior’ win.
Andersen (15-10) was in a brutal bracket, losing by fall to seventh-ranked Coly Page (21-2) of SE Warren and then suffering a pinfall loss to Joey Bregar (33-15) of I-35.
The Class 1A State Tournament begins Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.