WOODWARD — This was entirely expected.
No one with any depth of knowledge in prep wrestling expected defending 220-pound state champion and Iowa State recruit Cody Fisher to be stopped shy of a fourth consecutive state tournament appearance, and he has not been.
Followers of the heavyweight class also believed Tyler Lawrenson, if he could sufficiently recover from a shoulder injury, would make a second consecutive trip to the big stage. He has.
The Woodward-Granger big men will start their journey on the grandest venue in prep wrestling when Session II kicks off the 2A tourney at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. First round and first round consolations will be held at that time.
Those winning their first match, or winning in the consolation Thursday, will return for Session 4 at 9 a.m. Friday, with Session 6 holding the 2A semifinals and third-round consolation matches at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Consolation semifinals and finals are held Saturday at 10 a.m. in Session 7, with the championships to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Fisher is as close to a mat monster come to life as possible. He is 48-0 this season and 194-10 for his career, which includes state runner-up finishes at 195 as both a freshman and a sophomore before winning the 220 pound crown last year.
He was 44-1, his lone loss, a 3-2 decision, coming at the 2019 Perry Invite to the then-top ranked 3A wrestler at 220. He surrendered just 14 points in his four wins at state as a junior, but 12 of those were on intentionally-allowed escapes.
Top-ranked Fisher will begin his quest for a second title against Chariton senior Jordan Mundy (27-8), with Mt. Vernon junior Keean Kamerling (25-10) and West Lyon sophomore Easton Fleshman (23-4) on the opposite side of the mini-bracket.
Lawrenson (26-3) was 37-9 last season and finished 1-2 at state, missing the podium. He has been fueled to return to the tourney and earn a spot, especially after missing the first half of this season with an injury. The heavyweight standout has rebounded nicely, but was placed in a tough mini-bracket, a challenge that will only likely serve as extra motivation.
He will square off first with Central Lyon/George-Little Rock senior Jarrett Meyer (32-1), who is ranked fourth. The opposite side features Lawrenson’s old nemesis and fifth-ranked Van Meter/Earlham senior Derrin Sesker (38-2) against Washington freshman Brayden Hartman (21-14).