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CONFERENCE CHAMPS

Spartans on course to host regional dual Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.
Solon’s Zach Wegmann takes down Dyersville Beckman’s Luke Funke as his brother and coaching staff watch in the background. Wegmann’s major decision at 195 pounds propelled him to a third-place match at the WaMaC Conference wrestling meet in Williamsburg Jan. 28. (photo by Mary Hadenfeldt)

WILLIAMSBURG– Victory was long overdue for the Solon wrestling team, which won its first conference tournament in 30 years on Saturday, Jan. 28, on the mats at Williamsburg Junior-Senior High School.
The Spartans amassed 221.5 points over Williamsburg’s 172.5 and Western Dubuque’s 163.5, claiming their premier WaMaC title and first conference win since scoring the Eastern Iowa Hawkeye Conference plaque in 1987.
“It was great to finally win that first WaMaC conference title,” said Head Coach Blake Williams. “It definitely was one of our goals coming into the year. Now hopefully we can carry that over into the postseason.”
No. 2-ranked Solon is just a step behind No. 1 New Hampton in Class 2A and brought several top wrestlers into the conference tournament at Williamsburg, after another set of dual wins against Mount Vernon and Benton Community at Van Horne on Jan. 26.
The Spartans mastered the Mustangs, 40-21, after a narrow 34-31 victory earlier in the season, and bulldozed the Bobcats, 60-6.
A few of those matches were repeated on Saturday at the conference meet, including an eight-second pin improvement by 120-pound Bryce West over Mount Vernon’s Connor Bilden, and a comeback by Aidan Dall (113), who beat Mustang Ryan Clark 5-4 after being pinned by him on Thursday.
“We were on the other end of a couple of them, too,” Williams noted.
Mostly, however, the Spartans were on top.
Bryce and his twin brother Drew West (126 pounds), both ranked No. 1 in their weight classes, were the Spartans’ only first-place finishers on Saturday.
With a 48-1 season record, Bryce started with his 49-second pin over Bilden, then bested that with a 19-second, semifinal pin over Grant Hoeger, of Beckman Catholic. He finished the night with an 18-6 major decision over Vinton-Shellsburg’s Luke Radeke for the 120-pound title.
“They work extremely hard,” Williams said of the senior transfers from Highland High School in Riverside. “It’s helped elevate everybody’s performance.”
Drew (49-1) saw one of his closer matches of the season on Saturday, battling No. 5 ranked Brady Fritz, of South Tama, to a 1-0 decision for the 126-pound title. To get there, Drew pinned Mount Vernon’s Garret Akers in a quarterfinal match and tech-falled Isaac Payne, of Central DeWitt, in the semifinal.
“Obviously they’ve had lot of success, but it’s not just been given to them,” Williams said. “They’ve had to work at it.”
That success has only bolstered the performance of Spartan seniors Ben Carr (138), Graeson Dall (152) and Trevor Nelson (160)– all former state qualifiers. Nelson placed second at the 2016 state tournament, while Carr ended up at seventh.
On Saturday, No. 3 ranked Nelson lost in the first-place, 160-pound match to undefeated Luke Hageman, of Beckman Catholic. Fifth-ranked Carr wrestled to third place with a decision over Clear Creek Amana’s Quinn Murphy.
“Trevor was super close,” Williams said of the 36-6 senior’s performance. Nelson lost in overtime to Hageman earlier in the year and battled to an 8-7 decision at the tournament.
“I think hopefully we can get one more shot at him (Hageman) in Des Moines,” Williams added.
Tyler Linderbaum, ranked No. 5 at 285 pounds, also came close to a champion title. After losing to No. 3 ranked Tristan Wirfs, of Mount Vernon, in the semifinal, Linderbaum recovered by pinning Maquoketa’s Trevor Bickford in a consolation round and winning by medical forfeit over Clear Creek Amana’s Ethan Taylor for third place.
“Overall, we had a lot of bright spots,” said Williams, noting the third-place finishes by Zach Wegmann (195) and Dall. “Both exceeded their seed they were at in the beginning of the tournament.”
Solon had 11 of its 14 wrestlers place in the top five, accounting for the runaway team win. Other notable finishes were Zeb Gnida (106), Dillon Diltz (182) and Jackson Walker (220)– all in fourth place– as well as Mike Hoyle (170) in fifth.
The Spartans return to Williamsburg on Saturday, Feb. 4, for sectionals and will be joined by Williamsburg, Benton Community, Mid-Prairie (Wellman), Columbus Junction and Clear Creek Amana. Each wrestler has to finish either first or second to advance to districts, and each first- and second-place team will qualify for the regional dual.
If the team qualifies, Solon will host the regional dual on Tuesday, Feb. 7, starting at 6 p.m. with three other teams.
The Spartans have only made it to the state dual tournament one other time in the team’s history, in 2001 during Williams’ first career run at Solon.
“Getting the opportunity to get to state duals would be pretty special at home,” said Williams.
He recounted his last trip to a regional dual– a foggy drive up to Dyersville.
“It was the foggiest night I can ever recall,” he said. Because of the weather, not many from Solon made the journey.
Granted the Spartans end up hosting next Tuesday, Williams hopes for a different turnout.
“It’d be nice to have a great crowd.”

2017 WaMaC Conference Tournament Results
1. Solon 221.5
2. Williamsburg 172.5
3. Western Dubuque 163.5
4. Marion 142.5
5. South Tama County 140.5
6. Mount Vernon 135.5
7. Beckman Catholic 127.0
8. West Delaware 95.0
9. Vinton-Shellsburg 90.5
10. Central DeWitt 90.0
11. Independence 80.5
12. Benton Community 76.0
13. Center Point-Urbana 58.0
14. Clear Creek-Amana 43.0
15. Anamosa 29.0
15. Maquoketa 29.0

2017 WaMaC Conference Tournament Results for Solon
106: Zeb Gnida (29-14) placed 4th and scored 13.00 team points
Champ. Round 1: Zeb Gnida (Solon) 29-14 won by major decision over Matthew Roling (Central DeWitt) 9-15 (MD 9-0)
Quarterfinal: Zeb Gnida (Solon) 29-14 won by decision over Niyo Gady (Marion) 29-11 (Dec 6-4)
Semifinal: Grayson Kesterson (Williamsburg) 40-1 won by fall over Zeb Gnida (Solon) 29-14 (Fall 5:38)
Cons. Round 3: Zeb Gnida (Solon) 29-14 won by decision over Samual Stevens (Clear Creek-Amana) 26-16 (Dec 10-7)
3rd Place Match: Niyo Gady (Marion) 29-11 won by medical forfeit over Zeb Gnida (Solon) 29-14 (M. For.)

113: Aidan Dall (30-14) placed 3rd and scored 13.00 team points
Champ. Round 1: Aidan Dall (Solon) 30-14 received a bye () (Bye)
Quarterfinal: Gaven Hiler (Marion) 28-18 won by decision over Aidan Dall (Solon) 30-14 (Dec 8-4)
Cons. Round 2: Aidan Dall (Solon) 30-14 won by fall over Justin Holst (Maquoketa) 11-25 (Fall 0:35)
Cons. Round 3: Aidan Dall (Solon) 30-14 won by decision over Ryan Clark (Mount Vernon) 28-10 (Dec 5-4)
3rd Place Match: Aidan Dall (Solon) 30-14 won by decision over Gaven Hiler (Marion) 28-18 (Dec 9-6)

120: Bryce West (45-1) placed 1st and scored 29.00 team points
Champ. Round 1: Bryce West (Solon) 45-1 received a bye () (Bye)
Quarterfinal: Bryce West (Solon) 45-1 won by fall over Connor Bilden (Mount Vernon) 13-22 (Fall 0:49)
Semifinal: Bryce West (Solon) 45-1 won by fall over Grant Hoeger (Beckman Catholic, Dyersville) 26-11 (Fall 0:19)
1st Place Match: Bryce West (Solon) 45-1 won by major decision over Luke Radeke (Vinton-Shellsburg) 31-7 (MD 18-6)

126: Drew West (46-1) placed 1st and scored 27.50 team points
Champ. Round 1: Drew West (Solon) 46-1 received a bye () (Bye)
Quarterfinal: Drew West (Solon) 46-1 won by fall over Garret Akers (Mount Vernon) 5-20 (Fall 1:35)
Semifinal: Drew West (Solon) 46-1 won by tech fall over Isaac Payne (Central DeWitt) 25-16 (TF-1.5 2:48 (22-4))
1st Place Match: Drew West (Solon) 46-1 won by decision over Brady Fritz (South Tama County) 39-5 (Dec 1-0)

132: Christian Haight (31-18) placed 6th and scored 9.50 team points
Champ. Round 1: Christian Haight (Solon) 31-18 won by fall over Christian Kremer (Independence) 17-24 (Fall 1:27)
Quarterfinal: Adam Hansen (Center Point-Urbana) 32-9 won by major decision over Christian Haight (Solon) 31-18 (MD 11-0)
Cons. Round 2: Christian Haight (Solon) 31-18 won by tech fall over Mason Gillihan (West Delaware) 8-7 (TF-1.5 4:54 (20-2))
Cons. Round 3: Justin Light (Mount Vernon) 28-14 won by major decision over Christian Haight (Solon) 31-18 (MD 10-2)
5th Place Match: Adam Hansen (Center Point-Urbana) 32-9 won by major decision over Christian Haight (Solon) 31-18 (MD 13-2)

138: Ben Carr (33-8) placed 3rd and scored 18.00 team points
Champ. Round 1: Ben Carr (Solon) 33-8 received a bye () (Bye)
Quarterfinal: Ben Carr (Solon) 33-8 won by fall over Jose Maldonado (Williamsburg) 32-14 (Fall 4:42)
Semifinal: Jake Recker (Beckman Catholic, Dyersville) 32-5 won by decision over Ben Carr (Solon) 33-8 (Dec 13-6)
Cons. Round 3: Ben Carr (Solon) 33-8 won by decision over Ryker Kurimski (Western Dubuque) 35-12 (Dec 8-7)
3rd Place Match: Ben Carr (Solon) 33-8 won by decision over Quinn Murphy (Clear Creek-Amana) 34-11 (Dec 5-4)

145: Zack Bevans (20-15) placed 7th and scored 5.00 team points
Champ. Round 1: Zack Bevans (Solon) 20-15 won by decision over Elijah Demmer (Western Dubuque) 27-15 (Dec 4-0)
Quarterfinal: Paul Ryan (Mount Vernon) 29-9 won in sudden victory: 1 over Zack Bevans (Solon) 20-15 (SV-1 3-2)
Cons. Round 2: Gage Blythe (Williamsburg) 32-16 won in the ultimate tie breaker over Zack Bevans (Solon) 20-15 (UTB 1-0)
Cons. Round 3: Zack Bevans (Solon) 20-15 won by decision over Pedro Rodriguez (South Tama County) 32-14 (Dec 8-5)
7th Place Match: Zack Bevans (Solon) 20-15 won by decision over Elijah Demmer (Western Dubuque) 27-15 (Dec 6-5)

152: Jax Flynn (20-16) place is unknown and scored 3.00 team points
Champ. Round 1: Jax Flynn (Solon) 20-16 won by major decision over Brody Scheer (Benton Community) 18-20 (MD 10-2)
Quarterfinal: Colin Conway (Marion) 39-3 won by fall over Jax Flynn (Solon) 20-16 (Fall 0:42)
Cons. Round 2: Seth House (Independence) 30-20 won by decision over Jax Flynn (Solon) 20-16 (Dec 11-6)
Cons. Round 3: Max Cousins (Central DeWitt) 21-14 won by major decision over Jax Flynn (Solon) 20-16 (MD 13-3)

160: Trevor Nelson (34-6) placed 2nd and scored 24.00 team points
Champ. Round 1: Trevor Nelson (Solon) 34-6 received a bye () (Bye)
Quarterfinal: Trevor Nelson (Solon) 34-6 won by fall over Kael Royster (Williamsburg) 13-5 (Fall 2:49)
Semifinal: Trevor Nelson (Solon) 34-6 won by medical forfeit over Trey Clifton (Marion) 28-6 (M. For.)
1st Place Match: Luke Hageman (Beckman Catholic, Dyersville) 36-0 won by decision over Trevor Nelson (Solon) 34-6 (Dec 8-7)

170: Mike Hoyle (33-13) placed 5th and scored 14.50 team points
Champ. Round 1: Mike Hoyle (Solon) 33-13 won by tech fall over Brady Neth (Maquoketa) 15-22 (TF-1.5 5:33 (15-0))
Quarterfinal: Mike Hoyle (Solon) 33-13 won by fall over Jacob Schwarting (Independence) 19-25 (Fall 1:10)
Semifinal: Kort Johnson (Vinton-Shellsburg) 29-9 won by decision over Mike Hoyle (Solon) 33-13 (Dec 11-6)
Cons. Round 3: Riley Pfiffner (Benton Community) 27-10 won by decision over Mike Hoyle (Solon) 33-13 (Dec 8-4)
5th Place Match: Mike Hoyle (Solon) 33-13 won by medical forfeit over Brady Bartz (Marion) 30-11 (M. For.)

182: Dillon Diltz (30-7) placed 4th and scored 10.00 team points
Champ. Round 1: Dillon Diltz (Solon) 30-7 received a bye () (Bye)
Quarterfinal: Isaac Maser (Williamsburg) 31-14 won by decision over Dillon Diltz (Solon) 30-7 (Dec 4-3)
Cons. Round 2: Dillon Diltz (Solon) 30-7 won by major decision over Peyton Nolting (Independence) 27-14 (MD 10-0)
Cons. Round 3: Dillon Diltz (Solon) 30-7 won by decision over Dalton Rosenburg (South Tama County) 32-9 (Dec 4-3)
3rd Place Match: Harrison Goebel (West Delaware) 32-4 won by medical forfeit over Dillon Diltz (Solon) 30-7 (M. For.)

195: Zach Wegmann (37-15) placed 3rd and scored 18.00 team points
Champ. Round 1: Zach Wegmann (Solon) 37-15 received a bye () (Bye)
Quarterfinal: Zach Wegmann (Solon) 37-15 won by decision over Hunter Crawford (Independence) 16-7 (Dec 5-3)
Semifinal: Josh Holub (Williamsburg) 37-4 won by fall over Zach Wegmann (Solon) 37-15 (Fall 0:54)
Cons. Round 3: Zach Wegmann (Solon) 37-15 won by major decision over Luke Funke (Beckman Catholic, Dyersville) 25-11 (MD 13-3)
3rd Place Match: Zach Wegmann (Solon) 37-15 won by major decision over Hunter Crawford (Independence) 16-7 (MD 13-3)

220: Jackson Walker (15-7) placed 4th and scored 16.00 team points
Champ. Round 1: Jackson Walker (Solon) 15-7 won by decision over Ben Ridenour (West Delaware) 10-18 (Dec 5-2)
Quarterfinal: Jackson Walker (Solon) 15-7 won by fall over Tayten Freidhof (Independence) 19-12 (Fall 1:09)
Semifinal: Jack Cochrane (Mount Vernon) 29-7 won by major decision over Jackson Walker (Solon) 15-7 (MD 9-0)
Cons. Round 3: Jackson Walker (Solon) 15-7 won by fall over Kyle Kucera (South Tama County) 10-13 (Fall 5:34)
3rd Place Match: Nick Smith (Central DeWitt) 34-5 won by fall over Jackson Walker (Solon) 15-7 (Fall 0:49)

285: Tyler Linderbaum (43-7) placed 3rd and scored 21.00 team points
Champ. Round 1: Tyler Linderbaum (Solon) 43-7 won by major decision over Drew Evens (Independence) 14-26 (MD 9-0)
Quarterfinal: Tyler Linderbaum (Solon) 43-7 won by fall over Mario Moncada (South Tama County) 18-15 (Fall 3:09)
Semifinal: Tristan Wirfs (Mount Vernon) 13-2 won by decision over Tyler Linderbaum (Solon) 43-7 (Dec 5-2)
Cons. Round 3: Tyler Linderbaum (Solon) 43-7 won by fall over Trevor Bickford (Maquoketa) 25-16 (Fall 2:47)
3rd Place Match: Tyler Linderbaum (Solon) 43-7 won by medical forfeit over Ethan Taylor (Clear Creek-Amana) 22-6 (M. For.)