Seven Hawk wrestlers advance from sectionals

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Seven Woodward-Granger wrestlers advanced to the district tourney Feb. 13 after competing in sectional action Saturday. Moving on for the Hawks are, kneeling, Alex Saxton (106 pounds), Peyton Nixon (113), and Riece Graham (132). Standing are Dustin Harney (160), Jon McKeever (170), Devan Brown (195) and Alex Evans (285). Photo courtesy W-G Schools.

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.

W-G senior Kade Polich completed his prep mat career Saturday, and departs as a 100-match winner. Photo courtesy W-G Schools.

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