Three Bulldogs moving on to district tournament

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Van Meter/Earlham is sending three grapplers to Adel Saturday for their district tourney. Moving on for the Bulldogs are sophomore Jackson Boese (second at 145 pounds), 113-pound freshman Payton Harger, and 182-pound runner-up senior Trey Bond. Photo courtesy Shannon Payne.

WOODWARD — Three wrestlers from Van Meter/Earlham qualified for Saturday’s Class 2A District 1 tourney in Adel after earning their spots at the Feb. 6 District 2 tourney.

Greene County was the top team scorer with 220 points, with host Woodward-Granger second at 182. ADM edged Gilbert, 177.5-177, for third place, with VM/E fifth at 163 and Perry sixth at 96.

Moving on for the Bulldogs are 113-pound champions Payton Harger, a freshman, and 182-pound senior Trey Bond and 145-pound sophomore Jackson Boese, both of who finished in second place.

Harger (33-6) opened with a bye, then scored an 8-1 decision over Brenner Gallagher (11-8, Greene County). He squared off with ninth-ranked Peyton Nixon (33-5) of W-G and grabbed the top spot with a narrow, 9-8 victory.

Boese (28-15) had a bye before recording a 7-1 decision over Perry’s Jeb Stewart (23-19). Greene County’s Gavin Scheuermann scored a 5-0 win to send Boese into a wrestle-back, which he won automatically when Stewart won his consolation match, thus giving Boese a victory by “prior.”

Bulldog senior Bond (21-7) pinned W-G senior Kade Polich (33-10) in 2 minutes, 11 seconds before losing by fall to Gilbert’s Fernando Villaescusa (32-1), who is ranked third. Bond qualified for districts by scoring an 11-7 decision against ADM’s Dallas Trigg (17-15).

VM/E senior Riley Harger (33-6) was eighth at the 2020 state tourney at 120 pounds, but was stopped from advancing in a tough bracket. He needed just 42 seconds to pin Gavyn McKinney of Gilbert, but was then handed a 3-0 loss by No. 8 Cole Nelson (36-5) of Perry, a junior seeking his third trip to state. Harger pinned Evan Varnorny (ADM) in 1:53 to stay alive, but lost by prior when Nelson fell into a wrestle-back. Harger finishes his career with 130 victories.

Sophomore Mason Drake (28-16) was third at 126 after a bye and a loss by fall to John Sprague of Greene County. Drake pinned ADM’s Tate Hook in 44 ticks to enter a wrestle-back, but Sprague dropped into the match, eliminating Drake by prior.

Also placing third and losing on a wrestle-back prior was 220-pound senior Max Gilliland (6-7). He was pinned by Nic Romero of Gilbert, but then nailed W-G’s Kolby Fogarty in 1:49 before a ‘no contest’ in the wrestle-back when Romero lost in the finals.

Tristan Drake (27-17) was third at 132, pinning Gilbert’s Charlie Schreck in 1:11 before a loss by fall to Ben Smith of ADM. Drake pinned Greene County’s Jackson Turner in 1:47 to stay alive, but the sophomore was nipped, 9-8, by W-G’s Riece Graham in the second-place match.

Bulldog frosh Ryan Stiles (15-21) pinned Perry’s Tanner Burgin in 4:27 before losing by fall to Greene County’s Brady Stauffer. A pin of Gilbert’s Kekoe McKinney in 3:54 kept Stiles alive, but ADM’s Kadin O’Connor was a 12-0 winner by major decision to eliminate the Bulldog.

Nathan Hansen, a freshman, was fourth at 106 pounds and finished 11-13. He lost by fall to Alex Saxton (W-G) before bowing out with an injury against Taylor Atwell (Perry).

Junior 152-pounder Brock Button (6-18) was also fourth. He stuck Perry’s Anthony Tlaceca in 4:24, but then lost by fall to both Hank Johnson (Gilbert) and Oliver Potter (W-G).

VM/E senior Aiden Hansen finished his final campaign with an 18-13 mark. He wrestled just once, losing by pin fall to W-G’s Devan Brown to place fifth.

Nic Swalla (23-11), a junior, was fifth at 160 pounds. He dropped a 9-6 decision to Nathan Royer (ADM) before ending with a 13-2 major decision over Keegan Snyder (Perry).

VM/E left the 170 and 285-pound weight classes uncontested.

The Bulldogs finished their season with a 15-5 mark in dual competition. The team is coached by Chas Funaro, James Biscoglia, Tre Rutz, Chris Swalla, and Ben Swalla.

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