It was certainly a mixed bag for the state wrestling qualifiers from Colfax-Mingo and Lynnville-Sully at the state tournament.
Two wrestlers went two-and-out, one advanced to Saturday and one was forced from the championship bracket due to an injury. And although that doesn't sound like the happiest of results, three of those four also found the drive to return next year.
Lynnville-Sully junior 160-pounder Caden Doll was the only wrestler of the area's six competitors to advance to the championship bracket. After a first-round victory over Sumner Fredericksburg's Trevor Pagel, Doll got to enjoy having the rest of his Thursday off before Friday morning's Class 1A quarterfinals.
There, Doll squared off against West Marshall's Dale Hilleman, who entered the tournament with a record of 40-4. Doll appeared to be holding his own after Hilleman scored an early takedown, but the match was stopped midway through the first period when Doll grabbed his right arm and injury time was called.
“They had a couple trainers looking at him and thought it was just a muscle or something,” Lynnville-Sully coach Steve Northcutt said. “There was a lot of pain and swelling around it, so they called in a doctor and said it was probably a ligament and he probably shouldn’t wrestle anymore with it.”
Before that doctor was able to take a look at it, however, Doll tried returning to the match. He lasted a few more seconds, but considering Hilleman had the riding advantage, Doll was forced to forfeit the match with 39 seconds remaining in the first period.
A short while after that, Northcutt had to take the long walk to the tournament's head table to inform them Doll had to withdraw from the rest of the tournament. Early indications were a problem with a ligament in his right elbow.
“We knew it wasn’t good,” Northcutt said. “He was wrestling the best he’s ever wrestled, but that happened early in the match, so we have no idea how the match would’ve turned out. Being a junior, he’ll bounce back and have one more try at it.”
Hawk junior Meliek Meyer's second appearance at the state tournament came to an end on Thursday. After being pinned in his first match against Wapello's Nathan Beyer, Meyer lost a narrow 11-9 decision to Josh Hopkins of East Mills to end his weekend.
Much like any other sport, wrestling can come down to narrow margins and close calls. Nobody knows that better than Colfax-Mingo sophomore Jimmy Abell.
After winning his first-round consolation match on Thursday, Abell just narrowly missed the podium on Friday with a 2-0 decision to Woodbury Central's Dylan Muckey that ended his tournament
“I just went out thinking this could be my last match of the year, and just left it all out there,” Abell said. “He’s tough. He’s not a nobody, just like everybody else in our bracket.”
Muckey, who went on to finish sixth, scored a takedown in the first period to gain an early advantage, but Abell picked up some momentum in the second. Muckey was bailed out when what appeared to be a near fall was cut short by a potentially dangerous call. Abell then managed multiple near escapes in the third and was seconds away from what would have been a match-tying reversal before the clock expired.
“We think he would’ve scored there if the match lasted a few more seconds,” Colfax-Mingo coach Bryan Poulter said. “He hit that switch that you normally get points from, and he hit it with everything he had, but the other kid was just able to hold on. It would’ve been a great match to watch even if you didn’t have interest in either wrestler.”
Although Abell was disappointed with his finish, he was able to improve on his freshman year state appearance by winning a match and advancing to the second day of competition. He already has his sights on next year, however, and hopes to finally earn that elusive podium finish.
“It’s definitely given me the chance to see what it’s like to get to the second day and win,” Abell said. “Now I have something to hold on to for next year. I’m going to hit it a lot harder this summer, and I should be on top of the podium.”
C-M senior Dylan Albright went 0-2 in his second appearance at state, ending his high school wrestling career at the highest level. Although he'll be gone next season, Poulter praised both Albright and Abell for their contributions to the program and the effects their success has had.
“Both of these wrestlers would tell you there’s disappointment in not advancing farther than they did, but it puts it in perspective of how tough this tournament is and what goes into just being a placer,” Poulter said. “They’ve been excellent in the standpoint of leadership and what they portray to the rest of the team. I’ve seen some of the younger members of our squad realizing there’s some extra things to do if you want to reach this level, and it’s because of both of their leadership.”