Graham, Harney win thrillers to advance as Nixon, McKeever bow out

W-G senior Riece Graham stayed alive in the state tournament at 132 pounds by pinning Webster City's Chase Rattenborg in their first round consolation match.

DES MOINES — Quick reversals led to sudden pins for both Woodward-Granger senior Riece Graham (132 pounds) and Hawk junior Dustin Harney (160), keeping both alive at the Class 2A State Wrestling Tournament Thursday. Both were competing in the do-or-die first round consolation bracket.

Unfortunately, the outcomes of the consolation matches involving W-G sophomore Peyton Nixon (113) and Jon McKeever (170) were not what Hawk loyalists hoped for, with each bowing out after suffering two losses Thursday.

Graham (32-12) had started his state trip by suffering a loss by fall, in 2 minutes, 54 seconds, to Forest City senior Brock Moore (35-11).

He rebounded against Webster City senior Chase Rattenborg (29-9) in the consolation round. Rattenborg led in the second period, but Graham scored a reversal and continued the move to pin the Lynx grappler in 2:50 to stay alive.

Graham awaits the loser of the quarterfinal match between Davis County junior Taylor Huggins (26-4) and South Tama junior Logan Arp (19-6). A win keeps Graham alive, while a loss would end his season, as wrestlers must record two wins before suffering a second loss if they wish to, at least, finish eighth and thus earn a spot on the podium.

Harney (41-9) lost a 4-2 decision to Ballard sophomore Gabriel Christensen (37-6) in his first bout. Christensen had defeated Harney, 3-0, in the first round of the district tourney.

The Hawk junior followed Graham’s lead, using a quick reversal to turn the tables and pin Sergeant Bluff-Luton sophomore Garrett McHugh (36-15) in 3:29 to earn a Friday trip back to Wells Fargo Arena.

Harney awaits the loser of the quarterfinal between defending 145 champ and top-ranked Hayden Taylor (36-0), a junior from Solon, and Grinnell senior Landon Kirby (27-4). Similar to Graham, Harney would need a win to stay alive.

McKeever, a senior, ends his prep career at the state tourney and with a 38-9 final season. He battled Charles City senior Caden Collins (34-6) in a back-and-forth affair, eventually dropping a 10-8 decision in his opening bout.

He faced North Polk senior Dylan Meiners (32-4) in the consolation round. Meiners had scored a 17-2 win by technical fall over McKeever in the finals of the district tourney, but the Hawk senior scrambled more effectively in their Des Moines meeting before being caught, and pinned, in 5:32.

Nixon finishes his sophomore season 35-8. He was handed a loss by fall, in 4:46, by Sheldon/South O’Brien senior Osvaldo Ocampo (36-4) in their opening round tussle.

The ninth-ranked Hawk faced DeWitt Central freshman Royce Butt (28-7) in the consolation round. Nixon fell into an early hole, and, despite an aggressive approach, could not find a way to score and dropped a 7-2 decision.

The second-round consolation matches will be held Friday during Session 5, which begins at 2:30 p.m. Should either Hawk win, they would move into the third-round consolations, which are held in Session 6, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday.


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