WEST DES MOINES — All season Blayden Rhone, Jaise Gulling and Gage Linahon have been the foundation of Newton High’s wrestling team. The trio continued the trend at Saturday’s Class 3A District 7 wrestling tournament hosted by West Des Moines Valley High School.
Rhone, a senior at 182 pounds, Gulling, a junior at 195 pounds, and Linahon, a sophomore at 220 pounds, notched wins in the quarterfinals and the semifinals. They were in their respective weight classes’ championship matches.
They lost the title bouts, but claimed berths at the 2018 Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 3A State Wrestling Tournament. Gulling and Linahon had one more match Saturday to secure those runner-up spots as Rhone earned second at 182 by rule without the wrestleback match for second place.
Newton sends three wrestlers to the state tournament — the most since five qualified in 2014. The 3A competition of the combined state tournament — 3A, 2A, 1A — begins at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
“Our guys have done a great job of working to improve throughout the season. I am proud of the way they have worked for this moment over the course of the past year,” Newton head coach Andy Swedenhjelm said.
“In order to be successful in big matches, you need to know what your game plan is and execute it with confidence. I think you saw all three of those guys execute their plans with confidence during the day.”
Linahon did it all on his own this year. As a freshman, he walked out of the district meet believing he was done after taking third place at 220. Then on the following Monday, he learned he would be competing at his first state wrestling tournament after the runner-up stepped down.
Linahon, who is ranked No. 9 in 3A at 220, received a quarterfinal bye on Saturday. He pinned 10th-ranked Sam Wolff of Indianola at the 5:49 mark of their semifinal match.
Linahon faced 3A fifth-ranked Beau Lombardi of Valley in the 220 championship match. Lombardi won on a second-period pin. Linahon had a wrestleback match to earn his second trip to state.
Earn it he did. Linahon used a quick escape at the start of the third period to tie the match with Ben Standish of Johnston. He used the first takedown of the match to put Standish on his back, pinning him at the 5:03 mark.
Rhone opened his run at 182 pounds at districts with a pin of Ames’ Aaron Wandling in 1:40 of the quarterfinal round. He pulled out a 4-3 semifinal decision over Indianola’s Colt Carpenter then was pinned in 31 seconds by top-ranked Joel Shapiro of Valley in the title match.
Indianola’s Carpenter won the third-place match so by rule, Rhone was second at 182. Rhone (30-13) advances to his first state tournament.
Also going to his first state meet is Gulling. Gulling pinned Boone’s Caleb Pierce in 2:43 of his 195-pound quarterfinal bout. He claimed a 4-3 decision over Johnston’s Javian Rolley in the semifinals.
Gulling took on eighth-ranked Reece Bowling of Indianola for the 195-pound district championship. It was the fourth time the two had met this season. Bowling recorded his fourth win over Gulling by a 5-3 decision.
Gulling was determined to reach the state meet so in his wrestleback match against Ames’ Gabe Greenlee, Gulling (31-10) was aggressive from the start. He racked up a 19-6 major decision to win, and earn a trip to the state meet.
On Thursday, in the first round of the 3A state tournament, Rhone has drawn Dubuque Senior High senior Mike Koch (8-5) in the 182-pound bracket.
In the 195-pound bracket, Gulling opens against second-ranked Iowa City High senior Jacob Dykes (41-1).
Linahon drew fellow Little Hawkeye Conference wrestler — Norwalk senior Drake Leek (36-2), who is ranked fourth at 220.
“These three are a fantastic group of kids and an absolute joy to coach,” Swedenhjelm said.
The other six Newton wrestlers competing in the district meet Saturday are underclassmen. Junior Blake Cockerton was fourth at 120 while sophomore Blake Iske (138) and Zane Kohlmeyer (145) finished fifth in their weight divisions. Junior Ike Bebout placed sixth at 285. Sophomores Canaan Terpstra (132) and Destin Schroder (170) were 0-2 at the district.
“I’m proud of all of our Newton wrestlers who competed on Saturday and am excited to see how the non-qualifiers progress through the offseason and improve for next season,” Swedenhjelm said. “They all have bright futures.”
Newton was seventh as a team with 88 points.
Johnston won the team district title with 258 points followed by Valley with 236.5 points. Carlisle was third with 121 points just ahead of Indianola at 120 points. Boone was fifth with 103 points followed by Des Moines North-Hoover with 94 points. Ames was eighth with 68 points.
Class 3A District 7
120: Blake Cockerton (14-2), 4th
Quarterfinal - Cockerton, bye
Semifinal - Brendan Nielsen (Valley) won by 8-7 dec. over Cockerton
3rd Place Match - Carter Logue (Carlisle) 32-12 pinned Cockerton (Fall 4:50)
132: Canaan Terpstra (21-23)
Quarterfinal - Hams Pyne (Des Moines North-Hoover) won by 20-3 tech fall over Terpstra (TF-1.5 4:12)
Cons. Semi - Brock Elbert (Indianola) won by 11-2 maj. dec. over Terpstra
138: Blake Iske (22-26), 5th
Quarterfinal - Domique Wright (Des Moines North-Hoover) won by 7-3 dec. over Iske
Cons. Semi - ske pinned Drake Weaver (Ames) (Fall 5:12)
5th Place Match - Iske won by 9-6 dec. over Kaleb Kloberdanz (Indianola)
145: Zane Kohlmeyer (18-27), 5th
Quarterfinal - Josh Barretta (Indianola) pinned Kohlmeyer (Fall 3:15)
Cons. Semi - Kohlmeyer pinned Ryan Myers (Valley) (Fall 1:12)
5th Place Match - Kohlmeyer won by 7-5 dec. over Angel Lottie (Des Moines North-Hoover)
170: Destin Schroder (19-16)
Quarterfinal - Ethan Reed (Carlisle) won by 7-3 dec. over Schroder
Cons. Semi - Bracken Cobb (Valley) won by 7-6 dec. over Schroder
285: Isaac Bebout (17-17), 6th
Quarterfinal - Carter Lawrence (Valley) pinned Bebout (Fall 4:39)
Cons. Semi - Bebout pinned Cooper Schettler (Carlisle) (Fall 1:22)
5th Place Match - Logan Edwards (Indianola) won by 8-4 dec. over Bebout
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at
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