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PCM Explorer

Mustangs advance four to districts

PCM junior Colby Tool, left, won his third sectionals championship after going 2-0 at 152 pounds on Feb. 8 in Carlisle.
PCM junior Colby Tool, left, won his third sectionals championship after going 2-0 at 152 pounds on Feb. 8 in Carlisle.

CARLISLE — There wasn’t a lot of celebrating for the four Prairie City-Monroe wrestlers who advanced to next weekend’s district tournament.

Payton Drake, Jace Smith, Landon Fenton and Colby Tool have all been here before. And they all expected to advance.

The end goals for all four grapplers goes beyond the Feb. 8 Class 2A Sectional 10 tournament. But Drake won his fourth sectional title, Tool claimed his third and Fenton won a sectional championship for the first time in his career.

Smith also advanced to next weekend after placing second at heavyweight.

“We got the four through that we expected,” PCM coach Jeff Nicholson said.

“There were no surprises with those four thank goodness. We were hoping to sneak another one or two in. We want to be greedy now. We want to get all four to the state tournament.”

The Mustangs had only eight wrestlers competing and finished fifth in the team standings. PCM scored 124.5 points and was better than sixth-place Saydel (76).

Bondurant-Farrar won the team title with 222.5 points and Van Meter/Earlham (194.5) also advanced to regional duals in second. Grinnell and Carlisle tied for third with 182 points.

Fenton, Drake and Tool all were 2-0 at 132, 138 and 152, respectively. Smith was 1-1 at 285.

Donovan Nickelson was 1-2 and finished third at 220. He lost a wrestleback by pin to end his season.

Zeb Padget (170) and Cooper Sloan (195) were both 1-2 and each finished fourth at their weight. Cody Courtney finished 0-2 and took sixth at 120.

“Donovan competed well in that match,” Nicholson said. “He gave himself a chance for most of it. He’s a freshman. I like what my freshmen did today. They all competed. We have a great freshmen class. Hopefully we can bring more in next year.”

Alex Courtney (106) missed the meet because of a concussion. William Vanderpool (160) also is injured and Brian Nicholson (145) did not compete because of an illness.

Fenton’s second victory of the day was his 40th of the season and 100th of his career. Class 2A eighth-ranked Fenton (40-7) won 15-0 in the semifinals and 10-0 in the championship match at 132.

“I need to work throughout this coming week on finishing my turns to maybe turn those wins into pins, but I was happy with the rest of my stuff,” said Fenton, who wrestled at 113 last season. “I felt good coming in, and we’ll continue to work to get better. That’s all you can do at this point in the season. I plan to take it one match at a time.”

Class 2A eighth-ranked Drake (38-6) started his day at 138 with a win by pin. He claimed a 9-0 victory in the finals. Neither Fenton nor Drake were scored on during their two matches.

Drake is a four-time sectional champion.

“I was nervous coming into the day. But once I got on the mat, everything was fine,” Drake said. “I just performed the way I know how. I knew I was the better wrestler in both matches.”

Class 2A fifth-ranked Tool (15-2) missed half of the season with a broken leg he suffered at the end of football season. But he is now battling a toe injury as he attempts to reach the state tournament for the third time.

He’s a three-time sectional champion though after winning his semifinal by fall and his championship match 5-1.

“It’s business as usual. I had to sit out a week after not being able to wrestle for a long time so that’s not ideal,” Tool said. “I had to knock some more rust off today.”

Tool said because of the injury in football he knew this year would be about battling through some injuries. He has no doubt that he can continue to do that as he attempts to claim his third state medal.

“It’s a mental thing. I am not going to let this stop me,” Tool said. “I have already missed half of the season and overcame a lot of things. We knew there would be a lot of fighting through some pain.

“I feel like I am in a good position to keep getting better the next week and a half. And do what I was supposed to do in the first place, and that’s win a state title.”

Smith (16-11) was 1-1 on the day after winning his first match by fall and losing by fall to fifth-ranked Darrin Sesker of Van Meter/Earlham in the 285-pound championship match.

It’s been an up and down season for Smith, who began the season ranked in the top 10. He’s peaking at the right time though.

“Right after Christmas break, I know what the job is,” Smith said. “This last week, I have worked by butt off to do what I have to do to get to state. That’s the goal now.”

The sectional tournament featured only one wrestleback on the day. Eleven of the 14 weight classes ended with the top seed winning and the second seed claiming second.

Fenton, Drake, Tool and Smith all will compete in the 2A District 5 tournament at noon on Feb. 15 in Knoxville.

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