DES MOINES — Although it took them a little bit of time to realize it, Newton senior Derrick Hurt and junior Ray Schroder decided they would like to stick around Wells Fargo Arena for a little bit longer.
The two Cardinals were defeated in their first-ever matches at the state wrestling meet on Thursday, but recovered in the first round of consolations to extend their stay in Des Moines by at least one more morning.
“It really is an experience, so it kind of took a while for me just to realize I was really here,” Hurt said. “The nerves really did kick in, especially (Wednesday) when I got here. But after I stepped on the mat, they went away.”
“When I first walked in, it was just amazing with all these lights,” Schroder added with a laugh. “But then, I realized it was time to wrestle.”
Schroder, ranked No. 10 in Class 3A at 195 pounds, was the first of the two to hit the mat, taking on Des Moines Roosevelt’s seventh-ranked Sawyer Kochel. The two had a battle for the ages earlier in the season when Kochel outlasted Schroder in an ultimate tie breaker. Thursday wasn’t as close, however.
Kochel drew first blood with a takedown, but Schroder managed a reversal. Schroder’s only point from then on was an escape in the third period, but Kochel turned him with 32 seconds left to score an opening-round pin and put Schroder on the endangered list.
“Losing the first match sucked, but then I knew I had to go out there and wrestle again, or I’d be going home,” Schroder said. “I didn’t want to, so I just had to mentally prepare myself.”
Hurt had a somewhat similar match against the mustachioed Zach Renshaw of Lewis Central, Council Bluffs. The two battled to a draw after one period, but Renshaw took advantage of Hurt’s first slip-up and turned it into a pin.
“I wrestled a good first period, but then I just got a little bit lazy and got caught,” Hurt said. “I was a little disappointed with that, so I just came out really hard for my second match and got a pin in the first period, so that was good.”
Schroder’s second match was just as close and stressful on his coaches as the first, but he was able to walk away with the victory over Clinton’s Justin Guilliams. He got the scoring started with an escape in the second period, then scored two more takedowns to build a 5-3 lead going into the third. It was there that Guilliams mounted one last offense, but Schroder fended off a last-second takedown to escape with a 7-5 decision.
“I got those first points, so I was trying to be a little more defensive, but take some shots,” Schroder said. “He did almost get a couple of takedowns there, but I was able to block them pretty well.”
As Schroder was fighting off Guilliams, Hurt made quick work of Ottumwa’s Kevin Childs on a mat right next to his teammate. Hurt had previously defeated Childs to take first at the Ottumwa Invitational earlier in the season, and made history repeat itself with a pin in one minute, one second.
“I knew I could beat him, so I just went into it with confidence, and that was the big thing,” Hurt said. “I just went out there with my stuff, took him down early, turned him and pinned him.”
Both wrestlers were back in action during the Class 3A second-round consolation matches, which took place after the Class 1A and 3A quarterfinals that started at 9 a.m. this morning. Both will also keep an eye on those quarterfinals to get a scouting report on who their opposition will be in their next matches.
The initial shock appeared to be gone for both competitors, especially when they were able to bask in their victories as the arena began to clear out for the next session. They are both well aware of what happens next whether they win or lose, and that will likely outweigh whatever nerves could still be lingering for the second day of competition.
“It’ll be a little bit different,” Hurt said. “Just because it’s a new day I’ll probably get some nerves, but it won’t be as bad since I’ve already wrestled and I’ll be used to it.”
“One more loss sends me home, but one more win puts me on the podium,” Schroder added.