By Allison Graham
STC wrestlers, cheerleaders, managers and coaches hang loose after their team District win on Saturday, February 11 in Knoxville. The Trojans are sending six wrestlers on to the State Tournament. Front row McKayla Babinat, Britney Breya, Anna Glendy, Kenzie Smith, Abby Parizek, Bree Nelson, Taylor Lekin and Kaylee Chyma. Back row Levi Kaufman (assistant coach), Scott Bolen (coach), Isaac Judge, Brady Fritz, Tanner Probasco, Kyle Kucera, Dalton Rosenburg, Colton Vest, Baron Davis (coach), Nate Van Dyke (head coach) and Steve Chyma (coach).
News Herald Photo/Allison Graham
It's a repeat for the South Tama Trojans who will again send 6 wrestlers on to the State Tournament.
South Tama travelled south this year for the Class 2A District 5 tournament along with Albia, Bondurant-Farrar, Centerville, Central Decatur, Chariton, Clark, Grinnell, Knoxville, PCM, Saydel and Winterset.
The day started at 126 with 5th ranked Brady Fritz for the Trojans. Fritz pinned Ethan Wagner (Centerville) in forty seconds. He then went on to face 6th ranked Gabe Ruepke (Chariton) where Fritz emerged with a narrow 1-0 decision win. This will be the second State appearance for the junior who placed 6th in the 113 weight class in 2016.
At weight class 132 STC's Tanner Probasco pinned Kruise Klburz (Winterset). Adding to the drama of the day Probasco went on to face Klayton Keller of Saydel in a rematch of their sectional tournament bout the week prior. Probasco got the first win at sectionals but Keller would respond with an upset victory at districts. The two got into a rolling match and Probasco quite literally got stuck on the losing end. Shaking off the nerves of his second round loss, Probasco faced Tiger Terpstra of Centerville in a sudden-death wrestle back opportunity. Probasco pinned Terpstra and secured his second trip to State.
Next up for the Trojans was Colton Vest at 138. Vest made quick work pinning Albia's Dominick Morris in 23 seconds. In the championship match Vest also pinned Blake Ryerson of Winterset. Vest was also a State Qualifier last season and will return to The Well this year.
The last of STC's 2016 qualifying bunch to punch his ticket to State was Isaac Judge at 152. Judge got the fall over Jonathon Bair (Clarke) in the semifinals and then moved on to face 3rd ranked Kade Kelso (Central Decatur) who came into the tournament with a 50-1 record. It was arguably the highest profile match of the day as both wrestlers have been stalwarts among the Class 2A rankings all year. Judge pinned Kelso (5:19) for his second trip to State. He placed third at the 2016 State Tournament and has his eyes on that championship title.
South Tama's final two qualifiers also happened to be first time State qualifiers. Both senior Kyle Kucera and junior Dalton Rosenburg were 2016 district qualifiers that found themselves on the outside looking in as the only two of STC's eight district wrestlers to not reach the Well in 2016.
Rosenburg started his day facing Ben Mason (Albia) in the 182 bracket. Rosenburg won the match with a takedown in overtime (SV-1 7-5). He then faced Trevor Sprague (Saydel) in another STC vs. Saydel rematch from sectionals. Sprague won by decision 6-5. Rosenburg got a wrestle back opportunity against 10th ranked Nathan Bair (Clarke). He pinned Bair (3:36) and will get to join his fellow junior grapplers on the mats in Des Moines. Following his district finals match Rosenburg greeted his coaches with a big hug and immediately ran into the bleachers to find his dad Ron and to celebrate with his family.
Lastly for the Trojans, Kucera took the mat at 220. Kucera spent much of the season wrestling at 285. He dropped back to 220 late in January after spending his entire junior year wrestling heavyweight. First up for Kucera was Brett Martin (Albia). Kucera has peaked at just the right time and throughout an aggressive match got a pin over Martin (3:45). He then faced Trace Carson (Central Decatur) in the championship round. Carson got a 3-1 decision win over Kucera. Luckily, Kucera would be the third Trojan of the day to receive a wrestle back opportunity. In the final match of the day Kucera took on Chase Bellon (Knoxville) in another sectional rematch. The week before Kucera narrowly escaped with a one point decision win. It was another exciting match for the two as they went into overtime. Kucera got a last second take down at the edge of the mat for a 3-1 win. South Tama fans erupted in celebration for Kucera as it was his final opportunity to make it to The Well as a senior.
Head Coach Nate Van Dyke is often very stoic while he coaches his wrestlers from the corner chair. But at Districts he had a huge smile on his face. "You don't want to get too excited too early but it's that time of year where it's okay to get a little excited. It was a huge jump for both of those guys so I'm super happy for them and super proud of them, said Van Dyke."
"Our goal was six district champs, six state qualifiers and district team title. We got two of those goals so the biggest thing is to get them to state. I'm very pleased with these guys' efforts. If we were going into that last round of wrestle backs and you tell me all three of these guys (Probasco, Rosenburg and Kucera) are going through I would have been ecstatic. So I'm super proud of the way they bounced back especially the guys who had to come back and do it the hard way, said Van Dyke."