Lance Evans is a champion.
The Solon senior won the Class 2A 220-pound title at the Iowa high school wrestling tournament over the weekend.
He became the third Solon wrestler to do so, joining Randy Beranek and Cody Kroul, according to Solon Activities Director Keith McSweeney.
And he did it without a single loss, completing the season 31-0.
“It is very impressive to go through the entire year undefeated,” said Solon wrestling head coach Brooks McLaren. “In the last two years, he has only lost two high school matches.”
At the tournament, Evans pinned his first two opponents and scored a 15-0 technical fall against Dallon Bendorf of Harlan before a rematch with Josh Cannon of Mount Vernon in the first place match.
“In the finals, it was business as usual in the first, looking just like the previous two weeks, but Cannon put up more of a fight on bottom with bringing his hips up, which didn’t allow Lance to turn him,” McLaren said. “The match score was low, but Lance was in control the entire time.”
Evans won the title with a 3-0 decision.
“We all were very proud of him and his accomplishments,” McLaren continued. “Lance has put in the time during the off-season going to camps, tournaments and spending time in the weight room. He stayed focused throughout the season which allowed him to go undefeated, pinning nearly all of his opponents.”
Evans was one of four Solon wrestlers to make the trip to Des Moines last week. Juniors Louis Gnida (120), Kade Steuhm (132) and Logan Linderbaum (285) also made appearances at Wells Fargo Arena, with Linderbaum capturing a spot on the podium in fifth place.
Linderbaum pinned his first opponent, Dillon Wagner of Mediapolis, in 1:36, and won a 7-4 decision over Dalton Lape of North Fayette Valley in the quarterfinals.
“Simply put, Logan wrestled the best he has all year at state,” McLaren said. “He was confident and in control in his first two matches.”
After losing a 3-1 decision in the semifinals, Linderbaum was caught in the consolation semifinal and pinned by Dylan VanDusen of West Liberty, but he bounced back in the fifth place match against Bobby Heilman of Interstate 35, Truro, scoring a fall 2:25 into the match.
“Logan came out confident and controlled the match,” McLaren said. “Going out with a pin is very powerful leading into the off-season.”
Gnida and Steuhm did not advance to the medal rounds.
“Both Kade and Louis fought hard in their matches, McLaren noted. “This is a great experience for them and will add some fuel for them in the offseason and into next year.”
Gnida lost his first round match 8-1, but took less than two minutes to pin Connor Ascherl of MOC-Floyd Valley in his wrestle-back bracket. He finished on the losing end of a 4-1 decision to Elliot Henderson of West Liberty.
Steuhm lost by fall in the first round at 132 pounds, and was defeated 5-1 in his wrestle-back against Jordan Challen of Greene County.
“I am happy with the way the kids prepared and performed at state,” McLaren said. “The experience was different than past years where we took mainly bigger guys. Louis went last year, but this year he had Kade to warm up with and they helped each other prepare, something that we haven’t had before.”
Linderbaum, Gnida and Steuhm will form a strong nucleus for the team next year, McLaren observed.
“As a program, Solon wrestling is strong and stable,” the coach said. “Having a state champ is awesome for the program and Lance is a great example of hard work and determination. The end result was worth the time and energy.”
2014 IHSAA State Championships Results for Solon
120: Louis Gnida (39-7)
Champ. Round 1: Dillion Cox (Atlantic) 50-6 won by decision over Louis Gnida (Solon) 39-7 (Dec 8-1).
Cons. Round 1: Louis Gnida (Solon) 39-7 won by fall over Connor Ascherl (MOC-Floyd Valley) 37-6 (Fall 1:56).
Cons. Round 2: Elliot Henderson (West Liberty) 42-6 won by decision over Louis Gnida (Solon) 39-7 (Dec 4-1).
132: Kade Steuhm (24-5)
Champ. Round 1: Oscar Ramirez (Estherville Lincoln Central) 43-2 won by fall over Kade Steuhm (Solon) 24-5 (Fall 1:30).
Cons. Round 1: Jordan Challen (Greene County) 37-8 won by decision over Kade Steuhm (Solon) 24-5 (Dec 5-1).
220: Lance Evans (31-0) placed first and scored 27.50 team points.
Champ. Round 1: Lance Evans (Solon) 31-0 won by fall over Spencer Benton (Van Meter) 49-6 (Fall 3:46).
Quarterfinal: Lance Evans (Solon) 31-0 won by fall over Tyler Johansen (North Fayette Valley) 41-4 (Fall 3:25).
Semifinal: Lance Evans (Solon) 31-0 won by tech fall over Dallon Bendorf (Harlan) 42-10 (TF-1.5 5:17 (15-0)).
First Place Match: Lance Evans (Solon) 31-0 won by decision over Josh Cannon (Mount Vernon) 41-5 (Dec 3-0).
285: Logan Linderbaum (36-10) placed fifth and scored 13.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1: Logan Linderbaum (Solon) 36-10 won by fall over Dillon Wagner (Mediapolis) 29-25 (Fall 1:36)
Quarterfinal: Logan Linderbaum (Solon) 36-10 won by decision over Dalton Lape (North Fayette Valley) 31-8 (Dec 7-4).
Semifinal: Tyler Putney (Forest City) 49-4 won by decision over Logan Linderbaum (Solon) 36-10 (Dec 3-1).
Cons. Semi: Dylan VanDusen (West Liberty) 37-9 won by fall over Logan Linderbaum (Solon) 36-10 (Fall 5:07).
5th Place Match: Logan Linderbaum (Solon) 36-10 won by fall over Bobby Heilman (Interstate 35, Truro) 43-15 (Fall 2:25).