Woodward-Granger junior Tanner Vermaas was crowned champion at 182 pounds and senior Race Brant placed second at 152 to highlight the action Saturday for the Hawk wrestlers at the 17-team Perry Invitational.
“For the level of competition we faced I thought we wrestled well for the most part,” W-G head coach Dave Smeltzer said. “I think we probably should have had more kids wrestling for third place or even fifth, but it didn’t work out that way.”
“I think we learned some lessons today and discovered some things we are going to need to work on,” he added. “It was tough competition, but we need that. I would rather send a guy to state who is 28-12 and battle-tested instead of someone who is, say, 35-0, but who goes to state and is two-and-out. You need to be pushed and today we were.”
Sergeant Bluff-Luton won the team title with 191 points, with Dowling Catholic second at 178.5 and West Marshall third at 159 while W-G was ninth with 98 points.
Vermaas (38-2) may have been tested, and if so, the junior passed with high marks. He was one of five wrestlers at the meet to pin his way through the competition with four victories by fall, and did so in the fourth-quickest amount of combined time, at 8 minutes, 52 seconds.
The won his 95th career victory in the finals when he pinned Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s Kyle Benson in just 32 seconds.
“Tanner is on a mission and looked good again today,” Smeltzer said. “Race has been driven, too and had a chance to win in the finals, where we should have maybe we should have been more aggressive. However, he did beat the third-ranked get just to make the finals, so there is nothing wrong with that.”
Brant (36-4) won his 100th career victory last weekend and pinned his first two foes before running into SB-L’s Preston Dunn — 28-7 and ranked third — in the semis. The Hawk standout advanced with a 6-2 decision before coming up on the short end of a competitive 5-3 decision to Logan-Magnolia’s Brady Wilson in the finals.
Josh Saak was 3-2 with a major decision and two wins by decision to place fourth at 138 for W-G, with Austin Scharlau finishing 2-3 and in sixth at 160 while Ty Turner was 2-3 and sixth at 113 and Hunter Pierce 1-3 and sixth at 106.
Aaron Sperling was eighth at 170 with a 2-3 mark while Thomas Govig placed eighth at 195, with Colt Palmer (1-2 at 120) and Gabe Yingst (1-3 at 132) also tallying victories.
Ryley Saxton (126), Jordan Pierce (145), Jacob Kepford (220) and Cole Moran (285) were also in action for the Hawks but were unable to record victories.
W-G will join South Hamilton and Webster City in Ogden Thursday for a rescheduled quadrangular, with the Hawks to compete in the Interstate-35 Invitational Saturday.