Trojans send five through to districts
■ All four Fairfield seniors keep their seasons alive in Mediapolis.
MEDIAPOLIS — As the wrestling fields were more than halved at sectional tournaments across the state Saturday, Fairfield beat the odds to send five of its eight competing wrestlers to the next round.
Jake Mineart led the way with a sectional title at 220 pounds, and four other Trojans finished second to qualify for next weekend’s district tournament in West Liberty, where state tournament berths will be on the line.
“That wasn’t easy. Where we’re strong a lot of other teams are strong, so it makes for a long, tough day,” said Fairfield head coach Steve Miller. “But at this time of the season it’s all about winning. You definitely have to congratulate those five on making it.”
Mineart and the rest of Fairfield’s senior foursome, including Ammon Shaner (138), Aaron Gevock (145) and Seth Davisson (170), all qualified for districts. Junior Brett Scott finished runner-up at 182 pounds to also earn a trip to West Liberty.
Overall, the Trojans garnered 123 points to finish fourth in the team standings ahead of New London (105) and West Burlington/Notre Dame (47). Mediapolis won the team title with 289 points and will send 13 of the possible 14 wrestlers to West Liberty. Washington finished second with 197 points and Columbus was third at 165.
Miller noted the short-handed Trojans could have finished higher in the team standings with a few more dedicated individuals.
“We finished fourth as a team because we took eight guys,” the second-year head coach said. “Unfortunately we didn’t have a full team and didn’t have guys who were willing to commit to the team and fill the lineup.”
Mineart kicked off his championship run with a pin of Mediapolis’ Mike Rubey in 3:01, and the senior won his second match of the day via 7-2 decision against New London’s Kyle Davis.
“Jake wrestled good, smart matches. I don’t think he was feeling 100 percent, but he just went out there and did his job. I was pleased with his effort,” Miller said.
At 138 pounds, Shaner toughed out a 9-2 win by decision over Washington senior Mitchell Hora, and Gevock posted a 7-2 win over Columbus’ Zac Howell at 145 pounds.
Davisson took care of business in his quarterfinal match with West Burlington’s Tyler McElderry and earned a pin in 15 ticks. He also pulled out an ultimate tiebreaker victory vs. Washington’s Brad Skubal to clinch the runner-up finish.
Scott pinned Zachary Gaddy of Columbus in the semifinals and won a 7-1 decision over Washington’s Brody Warth in the second-place wrestleback.
All four runner-up finishers lost to Mediapolis opponents in their respective championship matches.
“I talked about punching Mediapolis in the nose prior to the tournament. We kind of gave them a shoulder punch, though some of our matches got Mediapolis’ attention,” Miller said.
Fairfield wrestlers who saw their seasons come to an end include 152-pound Justin Leonard, 160-pound Bryce Lunsford and Randall Pugh at 195 pounds. Lunsford pinned Tanner Gipple of New London to finish third, and Pugh and Leonard placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
The five qualifying Trojans now prepare to again face the other place winners from the sectional tournament as well as the top two winners from the Maquoketa sectional in what Miller calls the “toughest district in the state.”
“We’re all going to have to raise our game to get to the state tournament. We’re going to have to beat some people who are pretty darn good ... and believe we can beat them because it’s fruitless if we don’t.”
Fairfield Individual Results
138 — Shaner (1-1, 2nd), 145 — Gevock 1-1, 2nd), 152 — Leonard (1-1, 5th), 160 — Lunsford (1-1, 3rd), 170 — Davisson (2-1, 2nd), 182 — Scott (2-1, 2nd), 195 — Pugh (1-2, 4th), 220 — Mineart (2-0, 1st)
Final Team Standings
1. Mediapolis 289
2. Washington 197
3. Columbus 165
4. Fairfield 123
5. New London 105
6. West Burlington/Notre Dame 47