PLEASANTVILLE — Colfax-Mingo’s wrestling team came up a few points short of a runner-up finish at last year’s sectional tournament.
And no one who returned from last year’s squad was an individual sectional champion.
The Tigerhawks got over the hump in more than one way on Feb. 2. Colfax-Mingo crowned three champions, sent five individuals to districts and the solid day resulted in a runner-up finish at the Class 1A Sectional 10 tournament.
The Tigerhawks fell eight points short of a sectional championship but advanced to regional duals for the first time since 2002. Colfax-Mingo advanced five to districts in all, while one Baxter Bolt advanced.
“It was a goal we’ve had since the beginning of the season. We worked for this opportunity all year,” Colfax-Mingo coach Erin Hume said. “We thought we’d have a shot today, and the kids wrestled hard. The effort was awesome all day long.
“We get to continue wrestling as a team on Tuesday and that is huge for us.”
Cauy Fitch, Cyden Fitch and Noah Strohmeyer all won sectional championships and Damir Gumerov and Trystin Ross also advanced to the next round as the Tigerhawks scored 183 points to take second in the team race.
Baxter had five wrestlers in the field and Ben Huff became the first Bolt to qualify for districts after placing second at 182 pounds.
Host Pleasantville won the sectional title with 191 points. Martensdale-St. Marys was third with 165.5, followed by North Mahaska (121), Lynnville-Sully (99), Montezuma (73), Baxter (54) and Collins-Maxwell (46).
Only Pleasantville, Colfax-Mingo and Martensdale-St. Marys had more than 10 wrestlers in the field. Several weight classes had four wrestlers or less in them, too.
Class 1A No. 6 Cauy Fitch (28-2) was 2-0 at 120 pounds with a pin and a 14-10 decision over Martensdale-St. Marys’ Cael Cassady (29-9) in the finals. Cauy Fitch, who was second last year, has won 16 straight matches.
Cyden Fitch placed second at 126 a season ago but was the sectional champion at 138 this time around. Cyden Fitch (26-2) was 2-0 with two pins, including a win by fall over ninth-ranked Dominic DiCesare of Martensdale-St. Marys in the finals.
Cyden Fitch also defeated DiCesare last year at sectionals.
“I didn’t know that other guy was ranked or that I beat him last year,” Cyden Fitch said. “I didn’t know who he was. My focus was on winning the match.”
Strohmeyer (24-5) is into the district tournament for the first time in his career after winning the 106-pound bracket with two pins.
Gumerov (195) and Ross (160) were both runner-ups at their respective weights. Gumerov (25-8) was 1-1 on the day, while Ross (29-14) was 2-1.
Ross’ day included a wrestleback victory over Jaeden Probasco of Montezuma.
Probasco (27-7) defeated Ross twice earlier in the season, including last weekend in the conference tournament, but Ross flipped the script on Saturday.
Ross trailed Probasco 3-2 entering the final period. His escape tied the match, and then a takedown put him in front before a pin ended the bout late in the third period.
“I was a lot more motivated this time around,” Ross said. “There was more pressure on me, but I just tried to keep wrestling.”
Probasco rode Ross for the entire third period in last weekend’s match and won 4-3.
The message from Hume and the other Colfax-Mingo coaches to Ross was that he would get Probasco when it mattered most.
“We knew Trystin would get (Probasco) when it mattered,” Hume said. “He watched film to prepare for this day. He works really hard, and I couldn’t be more prouder of him.”
Gumerov’s 195-pound bracket featured only three wrestlers. He defeated Lynnville-Sully’s Caleb Barnett in the opening round before losing in the finals.
The 182-pound bracket also featured three wrestlers. Lynnville-Sully’s Miles Mintle pinned Colfax-Mingo’s Chloe Forck in the opening round and then secured the title with a win by fall over Baxter’s Huff.
Huff advanced to districts when he pinned Forck in the wrestleback.
It is Huff’s first season as a wrestler despite being a senior. Baxter is in its second season as a program, and Huff is the first district qualifier.
“It feels pretty good. This is my first year of wrestling, and it’s a tough sport to do when you are a senior wrestling for the first time,” Huff said. “I didn’t wrestle my best so hopefully I can have a better day next week.”
Baxter’s Austin Good (14-8) won two matches at 145, but he was defeated 11-9 in his only loss to the eventual runner-up. He finished fifth.
Andrew Esqueda and Micah Kearns were both 1-2 at 152 and 220, respectively, and both finished fourth for the Bolts. Grant Borts was 0-2 and finished sixth at 138.
“Overall, we’ve improved from last year and that’s all I can ask,” Baxter coach Richard Beeler said. “It’s a step in the right direction. We still have a long ways to go as a program, but this was a great thing for us.”
Four wrestlers finished third for the Tigerhawks, including Hunter Green at 126, Forck at 182, Will Thornton at 220 and Kenny Schlosser at 285. Forck and Green both lost in true-second wrestlebacks.
Mariah Webster (132), Tanner Gorman (170) and Shane Aikin (152) were all fifth and Gabe Gwinn (145) placed sixth.
The district qualifiers wrestle at noon on Feb. 9 in Montezuma.
Colfax-Mingo’s team took part in a 1A regional dual at 6 p.m. on Feb. 5 in Gilbertville. Colfax-Mingo battles conference foe Iowa Valley in one semifinal. Top-ranked and host Don Bosco faces Pekin in the other semifinal.
“Everyone kept saying this was their last match, but it’s not now,” Cyden Fitch said. “We all get one more chance to get on that mat and be a part of this team.”