BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DES MOINES – Fort Madison junior Danen Settles will step on the podium at Des Moines’ Wells-Fargo arena on Saturday in his second trip to the state wrestling tournament.
But exactly where Settles stands for his medal is yet to be determined. The Fort Madison Bloodhounds entrant at 285lbs will battle with Iowa City High’s Jacob Murry (31-6) on Saturday morning. Murry defeated Settles in Cedar Rapids last Saturday in a dramatic OT session where Settles just missed a two-point take down as time expired in the first :30 session.
Settles can do no worse than 8th in the state, but with a win over Murry would earn the 7th place platform on the 285lbs podium Saturday night.
Settles advanced to the podium with another dramatic win in the 2nd round of consolation play when he scored a takedown of Ankeny’s Romello Gray right in front of the scorer’s table with :09 seconds left. The two wrestled on their feet for the majority of the match.
Settles scored an escape at the 1:29 mark of the final period to tie the match at 1. Gray had scored an escape at 1:43 in the 2nd period to hold a slim 1-0 advantage. He scored another escape from Settles’ take down with just 1 second left for the 3-2 final score.
That win set up a 3rd round afternoon match with Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Dawson Sweet (26-10). Sweet got a takedown after snatching a single leg on Settles with about a minute left in the first and was able to force the issue and drive Settles to the mat. The Bloodhound escaped prior to the period expiring and trailed 2-1 going into the period.
Sweet started down for the 2nd period, escaped, and then the two battled on their feet for more than a minute before Sweet was able to move Settles to the outer part of the mat and tackle him for another takedown for a 3-1 lead. Settles managed an escape after starting down in period 3, but couldn’t ever find leverage to get Sweet to the mat, falling 5-2.
Fort Madison’s Sam Hayes gave a gutsy performance at 195lbs against Johnston senior Javian Rolley in the 2nd round of Class 3A consolation matches Friday morning.
As has been the case both days at the tournament, Hayes had the match in hand early and was up 3-0 after a first period takedown, the only points awarded in the period, and then receiving a 1-point stalling penalty early in the second.
Rolley moved the match to the outer part of the circle and was able to twist Hayes to the mat for a two point takedown at the 1:21 mark in the period and almost recorded a fall, but Hayes wriggled free and, in the scrum, seemed to reinjure his right shoulder.
After a two-minute injury time out where trainers and members of the Fort Madison coaching staff tended to Hayes in pain on the mat, Hayes retook the mat. After the injury timeout, Hayes was able to escape for a point and trailed 5-6 with :48 seconds left in the period.
Back on his feet, Hayes grabbed up Rolley again and yanked him to the mat and climbed on top for two points and a 7-6 lead, but Rolley was able to escape with Hayes favoring the shoulder, and was able to grab Hayes’ right leg and roll him to the ground with 5 seconds left in the second and an 8-7 lead.
Trainers took another brief look at Hayes at the end of the 2nd period, but Hayes went back onto the mat, where Rolley worked another takedown 18 seconds in the period and was able to get Hayes on his back for a pin nine seconds later.
The history of injuries kept Hayes from the podium all four years, despite a sparkling career where he had been ranked by both wrestling publications in the state.
Wrestling begins at 10 a.m. again on with the Class 3A consolation semifinals.