BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DES MOINES – It wasn’t the same match Danen Settles had with Jacob Murry a week ago at districts, but despite the outcome, Settles is now the 8th best heavyweight in the state.
In the match for 7th place at about 12:20 p.m. on Saturday, Settles got caught with an arm up high off the whistle and Murry was able to get under and grab hold of Settles and push him to the floor near the outer circle in about 12 seconds.
After some positioning that gave Murry some upper body leverage, the Iowa City High senior pushed Settles over to his back and pinned him :29 seconds into the match.
“I just left my right arm up at the start and he got under it and was able to take me down,” Settles said.
But the junior who failed to place at last year’s meet as a sophomore, found his way to the podium this year, beating a couple of seeded wrestlers along the way.
Settles, who regularly faces wrestlers heavier and taller than him, said he has to make up for that by being quicker and having better technical skills.
“I need to work on that,” he said. “But that all starts on Monday. I’ve got some freestyle stuff I’m involved in and I’m just going to start working for next year, next week.
He said his goal for his senior year is to move higher up the podium.
Head Coach Ryan Smith said that’s an attainable goal for Settles.
“He’ll have a chance to come back next year and I know he’s not satisfied with 8th, so he’s got some room for improvement.”
The match between the two last weekend went into sudden overtime and Settles recorded a takedown that would have won the match, but it was ruled out of the circle. Murry was able to force a takedown in the second :30 overtime period for the win.
Smith agreed that Settles left himself out of position.
He left himself open with that right arm up high. That’s something you don’t want to do against anyone, let alone someone taller,” Smith said. “But we’ll have to come up with strategies that can compensate for a lack of height.
Smith said the weekend was a heartbreaker for Sam Hayes at 195lbs. Elton Kruse battled to an 8-9 loss in his consolation 2nd round match to Jackson Beeason and Beeson took 8th place in the 113lb bracket.