WEBSTER CITY — Woodward-Granger’s Race Brant and Tanner Vermaas followed different routes at Saturday’s Class 2A District 8 Tournament, but the results were the same: qualifying spots for Thursday’s State Tournament.
Brant, a senior wrestling at 152 pounds, and junior 182-pounder Vermaas will both be in action at 6 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the 2A State Tourney at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Senior Ty Turner was also in action for the Hawks Saturday, but saw his bid for a trip to state derailed by a pair of losses in the 113 pound bracket.
Brant’s route was the most circuitous. He opened with a thrilling, hard-fought 4-3 win in a tiebreaker against Dakota Henniger of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows.
That set up a finals rematch with second-ranked Tommy Bradshaw of Greene County, who Brant had pinned in the sectional finals for the only blemish on Bradshaw’s record this season. This time the Ram standout was the victor, as his 6-3 win — coupled by a Henniger loss in the consolation semifinals — forced a wrestle-back match between Brant and Webster City’s Zane Williams.
Both grapplers were off their feet early, with both in danger before Brant squirmed loose and scored a victory by pinfall just as the first period ended to seal a trip to the big stage in Des Moines.
Vermaas had begun his day with a workman-like 8-2 decision over Humboldt’s Nate Kollmorgen, but he finished on the short end of a 5-3 decision against sixth-ranked Cade Baker of Garner-Hayfield-Ventura.
Kollmorgen pinned Perry’s Adan Medina in the consolation match, and, as Vermaas had already defeated the Humboldt wrestler, he earned the right to advance with a “prior.”
Brant and Vermaas both reached the 50-win mark this season and remain tied for the single-season school mark. The senior (50-7) now has 118 career victories and the junior 110; the W-G record is 124, held by Jack Manning.
Turner had a tough draw as Webster City’s Drake Doolittle — ranked first in the state — was his opening round foe. Though he battled gamely, Turner eventually lost by fall in 5 minutes, 51 seconds.
He drew Greene County’s Kane Borgeson in the consolation round. Turner again wrestled well, only to suffer an unfortunate 6-4 loss in sudden victory-1.
There was a scary moment late in the tourney during a wrestle-back match at 113 pounds when Borgeson was the victim of an illegal throw from Doolittle, who had lost to second-rated Justin Portillo in the finals.
Borgeson lane prone on the mat for several minutes, with emergency personnel summoned to the scene as the gym fell silent. He was carefully restrained, placed on a backboard and taken by ambulance to the local hospital, where reports later in the evening indicated he had a full-range of motion in all extremities and is expected to fully recover.
W-G fans may recall Doolittle, wrestling at 113, performed a similar illegal move against Perry’s Zach Thompson in the finals of the Perry Invitational Jan. 16. Thompson missed nearly two weeks of action due to observing the concussion protocol.