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State Wrestling Tournament

The 2021 State Wrestling Tournament closed Saturday night, February 20th at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA. In somewhat improbable fashion Junior Aaron Graves finishes in fourth place in Class 2A in the 285 lb weight class. In his first year of High School wrestling he battled with the big boys to earn his spot on the podium Saturday night. 8th seeded Graves opened the first round with a quick fall(1:00) over Sawyer Schiltz of Greene County, setting up Friday's quarter final with #1 seed and top ranked Carson Petlon of West Delaware Manchester. The tall Heavyweight controlled the match by hitting a couple of quick slide bys on his feet against Graves and won 7-4. In the backside consolation match Graves hit a nearside cradle on 8th ranked Dugan Tolley of Winterset in the third period getting the fall. In Friday night's 2nd round conso's Graves probably wrestled his best match of the tournament uphending 2nd ranked Keenan Kamerling of Mount Vernon 9-3. Graves used constant pressure on the athletic Heavyweight scoring on a nice takedown shot late in the second period that broke open a close match assuring a top six finish in the tournament. In Saturday's Consolation semi's Graves once again controlled the match wearing down 5th ranked Chase Crooks of Charles City 5-0 placing him in the 3rd/4th place match. In the 3rd place match, some of Grave's inexperience showed as the big 4th ranked Heavyweight Jordan Ver Meer of West Lyon hit Graves with a side roll going for a reversal and used his big body to get Graves extended scoring a takedown eventually winning the tough bout 6-3. Graves finished 34-5 in his first year of High School wrestling. 

      Not to be outdone, sophomore Caelan Oakes battled hard going 1-2 in the tournament gaining valuable experience along the way to get himself back to the State Tournament his Junior and Senior years. In the opening round Caelen lost by fall to eventual fifth place finisher, Kale Wieland of Independence. Kaelan wrestled well in the first period getting in on several shots but good defense by Wieland kept the match scoreless 0-0 after the first. In the second period Wieland scored a quick reversal locking up a near side cradle and getting the win. In the backside match, Oakes battled Lincoln Keeler of Creston winning 3-2 in a tough match keeping him alive for Friday's afternoon session. Unfortunately, Oakes drew 2nd seeded Lane Scorpril of Columbus losing by fall ending his tournament, finishing the season 38-12. Through the efforts of Graves and Oakes, Southeast Valley placed in 39th place out 74 teams in the Class 2A State Tournament. 

     With limited seating capacity it was definitely a different feeling being inside of the Well, but our guys handled it well. Caelan went out and wrestled hard and we were coaching Aaron on the fly as he is pretty green about wrestling. What Aaron accomplished is quite incredible with his limited experience and knowledge of wrestling; not sure if this scenario has happened at the State tournament where a dual sport athlete has qualified or even placed. It was a fun tournament to be a part of and like every year there were great matches to watch in the finals and throughout the tournament.

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