Woodward-Granger will send three wrestlers to a Class 2A District tourney in Webster City Feb. 13 after the trio each won their respective weight classes in sectional action at Perry Saturday.
Turner won the title at 113 pounds, Brant was the 152-pound titleist and Vermaas grabbed top honors at 182 pounds to move one step closer to the state tournament.
“I would have liked to see a few more of our guys advance, but it just did not work out that way,” W-G head coach Dave Smeltzer said. “I thought our guys wrestled well today, and Ty, Race and Tanner were oustanding.”
Brant (48-6) had the signature win at the tournament with his pin, in 4 minutes and 39 seconds, of second-ranked and previously undefeated Tommy Bradshaw (37-1) of Greene County.
Bradshaw had handed Brant a lopsided loss at a tourney in Ogden earlier this season, but the Hawk prevailed in the battle of two two-time state qualifiers by pressing close and denying Bradshaw the opportunity to use his greater reach.
“I wanted to get in close and not let him leverage on me from outside,” Brant said. “I didn’t have any thoughts of a pin — I just wanted to get a win any way I could.”
“I felt we had an edge in conditioning and that if Race could stay alive we would be able to wear him (Bradshaw) down, and we did,” Smeltzer said. “Race — and Ty and Tanner, too — are peaking at just the right time, which was our goal.”
Brant had received a first-round bye before advancing with a 57-second pin of Gilbert’s Russell Jennett (25-25). He lept to his feet after pinning Bradshaw in the finals and was mobbed by his coaches at the edge of the mat.
“This is great, but I have more work to do,” Brant said. “I don’t plan on being done yet.”
Vermaas (49-5) continued his tour de force through the 182-pound ranks by pinning SE Valley’s Zeke Miller in 44 seconds in the semifinals after receiving a first-round bye. He need 1:39 to pin Perry’s Adan Medina (24-24) in the finals.
“Tanner is on a mission,” Smeltzer said. “He is incredibly driven and works incredible hard. He is more aggressive on his feet this year compared to last year and he is going to tough for just about anybody to handle.”
Vermaas said he did not enter the tourney overlooking any possible foe.
“Anybody can be dangerous and I don’t take anyone lightly,” he said. “I think what is making the difference is how hard I am willing to work. I practice hard, and then when other guys are watching TV or sleeping I am weightlifting, which I am doing a lot more of this year. I want to go to state and place down there, and if that means working harder than other guys I am willing to do that.”
Brant now has 116 career wins and Vermaas — a junior — 104. Both have shattered Bo Cosens’ school mark of 41 victories in a season. Jack Manning holds the W-G career standard with 124 wins.
Turner improved to 38-13 with his romp to the crown at 113. A first round bye was followed by a pin, in 46 seconds, of SE Valley’s Colton Klingson (26-16). He advanced to the district tourney by scoring a 13-5 major decision over Greene County’s Kane Borgeson (17-10).
Hunter Pierce (33-17) was third at 106. After a bye, he bounced back from a 20-5 technical fall against Perry’s Kaleb Olejniczak (28-5) in the semifinals to pin Coledon Bethel (19-21) of SE Valley in 56 seconds. Granted a wrestle-back, he lost by fall to Stephen Shuka (32-3) of Gilbert.
Ryley Saxton (18-18) was third at 126 for the Hawks. He had a bye, then lost by fall to Garrisson [sic] Holck in the semis before responding with a pin, in 5:11, of SE Valley’s Sam Hemmestad (4-15). Unfortunately, Holck won by rule thanks to his previous win, denying Saxton a chance to wrestle-back.
Colt Palmer (18-19) was fourth at 120, Cole Carman (27-18) fourth at 132, Josh Saak (26-15) fourth at 138 and Gabe Yingst (13-14) fourth at 145.
Yingst was forced into action to fill an opening in the Hawk lineup and was giving away 10-15 pounds in both of his matches, but, as Smeltzer noted “went out there and went as hard as he could.”
Austin Scharlau (27-22) was fourth at 160 and Aaron Sperling (24-22) fourth at 170, with Thomas Govig (15-20) fifth at 195 and Cole Moran (3-8) fourth at 285. W-G left 220 open.
Perry won the team title with 228 points, with Gilbert second at 205 and W-G third at 176. Kuemper Catholic (163.5), SE Valley (138) and Greene County (83) completed the field.