DES MOINES — PCM senior Colby Tool has been in his fair share of close matches with a state wrestling championship on the line.
He was in another one on Friday night during a Class 2A 152-pound semifinal bout against top-ranked Jack Gaukel of Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
Unfortunately for fourth-ranked Tool, it was another heartbreaking loss as Gaukel scored the winning takedown with 33 seconds to go in the match and downed the Mustang grappler 3-2.
“I was right there in a lot of matches up here, but at the end of the day I came up short,” Tool said. “That sophomore year loss has haunted me and I wanted to make sure I got another shot at it. I came up short to a kid who is probably going to go on and win it though.”
Gaukel is a four-time finalist and is the favorite to win the 152 pound title later tonight.
Tool ended up fifth overall at 152 pounds and capped his career with four state medals. He is just the second Mustang wrestler to do that, joining Lucas Roland.
This year, he will be joined on the medal stand with long-time teammate Landon Fenton.
Tool (45-4) finished fifth at 152 after going 1-1 on Saturday, while Fenton (39-4) took fifth at 145. Both grapplers went out on top, winning the final matches of their career.
“I definitely had higher goals but I feel like I wrestled mostly to my ability,” Fenton said. “There were a few things I would have changed, but I am proud of what I have accomplished.”
Fenton also is a four-time state qualifier. This was his first state medal. PCM senior Cooper Sloan also competed for the Mustangs and went 1-2 at 220 pounds. He was eliminated in his only match on Friday.
Tool and Fenton lost close matches this weekend inside Wells Fargo Arena. PCM coach Jeff Nicholson said it’s something you see every year with a lot of wrestlers.
“When you come down here, it is a razor’s edge that separates the guy who finishes first and the guy who finishes eighth,” Nicholson said.
After Tool won his final match by fall over No. 2 Grifen Molle of West Burlington Notre Dame, the first thing he asked as he walked off the mat was “did he win?”
Tool was asking about Fenton, who was wrestling at the same time on a different mat. The bond those two have formed over the past 13 or 14 years is something both wrestlers had a hard time describing.
“We’ve pushed each other the entire way and there is absolutely no chance I would be where I am today without him,” Fenton said about Tool.
Tool got emotional when asked about his workout partner.
“It’s the thing that brought us together at a young age,” Tool said. “He’s a friend I can take anywhere and everywhere. He’s a great practice partner and we made each other better every day.”
Notes: A full recap of PCM’s state tournament will be posted online in the next few days.