WOODWARD — One championship and six second-place finishes will send seven Woodward-Granger grapplers to the Feb. 13 Class 2A District 1 tournament in Adel. The Hawks, who were the hosts for Saturday’s 2A Sectional 2 event, had four matmen reach the district meet last season.
Greene County has 220 points to claim the team honors, with W-G second at 182. ADM edged Gilbert, 177.5-177, for third place, with Van Meter/Earlham (163) and Perry (96) also in action.
Jon McKeever (37-6) was the lone Hawk champion after winning his 170-pound bracket. He posted technical fall wins of 18-2 against both Aiden Gibbons (9-21) of Gilbert and Noble Hoyt (13-12) of Greene County in 4 minutes, 52 seconds and 3:28, respectively.
The six other Hawks to advance all lost in the finals, but then won in the second-place match to earn at spot that could translate into a trip to the state tourney.
Peyton Nixon (33-5), ranked ninth at 113 pounds, opened with a pin before suffering a 9-8 loss to VM/E’s Payton Harger (29-8) in the finals. He rebounded to salvage his season with a 12-7 decision over Greene County’s Brenner Gallagher (11-8).
Alex Saxton (29-17) used two pins to finish 2-1 at 106 and in second place, pinning VM/E’s Nathan Hansen in 21 seconds before losing by fall to ADM’s Jake Alexander (21-8) in the first-place bout. He pinned Perry’s Taylor Atwell (4-17) in 1:26 in the second-place match.
Riece Graham (30-10) was second at 132 with a pin that was followed by an 8-6 loss to Ben Smith (31-7) of ADM. Graham then scored a 9-8 win over Tristan Drake (27-16) of VM/E to qualify.
Dustin Harney (38-7) stayed alive at 160 after a bye and then a 6-3 loss to Nathan Black (26-4) of Greene County by besting ADM’s Nathan Royer (24-13), 7-2. He then moved on with a thrilling 7-5 Sudden Victory I triumph over Gilbert’s Kruz Pierce (25-7).
Devan Brown (29-7) will wrestle in Adel at 195 after a 3:16 pin of Aiden Hansen (VM/E, 18-14) but then a 10-4 loss to Joe Larrimore (32-2) of Gilbert. Still alive, he was a 13-12 winner over Gabe Heitz of ADM and then a winner, in 3:28, over Greene County’s Michael Rumley (7-6).
The final Hawk to move on was heavyweight Alex Evans, who improved to 25-8 overall. He had two consecutive byes before losing a 6-3 decision in the finals to Greene County 285-pounder Sawyer Shiltz. He earned a district spot with a 4-0 win over Perry’s Alan Gomez (22-14).
Oliver Potter (13-14) was 1-2 with a pin in placing third at 152, with Kade Polich (33-10) 0-2 at 182 and Kolby Fogarty (12-21) 0-2 at 220, with the latter pair each placing fourth. Polich, a senior, bows out with 100 career victories for the Hawks.
Joel Harney (15-21) was 1-1 with a pin in placing fifth at 120, with Holden Heard (2-3) dropping his only bout to finish fifth at 126.
Jayden Flugge-Smith (22-20 at 138) and Tjaden Smeltzer (10-30 at 145) were both winless in their two matches, with each finishing sixth.