ADEL — Seven Woodward-Granger athletes hit the mats Saturday at the Class 2A District 1 tourney, with four advancing to the state tournament.
Seniors Riece Graham (132 pounds) and Jon McKeever (170), junior Dustin Harney (160), and sophomore Peyton Nixon (113) all earned spots on the biggest stage, with senior Devan Brown (195), junior Alex Evans (285) and freshman (106) all turned away.
All four who advanced did so after placing second in their respective weight classes. Graham and McKeever won after not being forced into a wrestle-back, with Nixon and Harney winning their do-or-die wrestle-back match.
McKeever (39-7) opened by pinning Bondurant-Farrar’s Porter Smith (28-13) in 5 minutes, 43 seconds. He then suffered a 17-2 technical fall to ninth-ranked Dylan Meiners (31-3) of North Polk. That sent McKeever into a possible wrestle-back, but, with Smith winning his consolation match, McKeever automatically advanced thanks to his prior win.
Graham (32-11) scored a 10-2 major decision over Ballard’s Reese Broer (22-21) but then dropped a 5-2 decision to Ben Smith (32-8) of ADM. He entered a wrestle-back, moving on with his prior win over Broer.
Harney (40-8) lost a 3-0 decision against Gabriel Christensen (36-6) of Ballard, but responded with a 12-1 major decision over Sean Golwitzer (6-8) of North Polk. He drew Greene County’s Nathan Black (27-6) in a wrestle-back, and earned his spot in Des Moines with a pin in 5:54.
Nixon (35-6), ranked ninth, was handed a 14-4 major decision loss by fifth-ranked Dalton Rowe (26-2) of B-F in his first match. He came back to post a 13-4 major decision against Payton Harger (30-10) of VM/E, with a 7-5 win over Knoxville’s Marco Alejo (21-10) sending Nixon to the big stage.
Evans (26-10) was third at 285. He came back for an opening loss by fall to Cole Sanger (24-9) of North Polk by pinning Kinser Sloan (17-19) of PCM in 3:27. That set up a wrestle-back, but Evans was bounced having already lost to Sanger, who dropped into the match.
Brown (29-9) placed fourth, falling, 15-6, in a major decision to fifth-ranked Mason Askelsen (28-0) of Ballard and then dropping a 16-5 major decision to Bennett Durham (22-12) of Saydel.
Saxton (29-19) suffered an opening round loss to B-F’s Cody Hay (32-2) before losing by fall to PCM’s Remington Fey (22-21).
The Hawk quartet will begin their quest for a spot on the podium by competing in Session 3 Thursday, which begins at 6 p.m. Class 2A action will continue in Sessions 5 and 6 Friday at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.