BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
BURLINGTON – The Fort Madison Bloodhounds captured their second straight Southeast Conference wrestling title Thursday with a 54-18 win over Burlington.
The Grayhounds shifted some wrestlers around in the heavier classes as they tried to unseat the defending Southeast Conference champs in Burlington’s first year in the loop.
In one of the biggest wins of the night, Chance Decker came up from junior varsity and scored a pin over Burlington’s Emanuel Nunez-Villareal 1:18 into the first period.
Decker was able to work a 2-point takedown after Nunez-Villareal lunged at Decker. The Bloodhound sidestepped the shot and grabbed the Grayhound going by pulling him to the mat for a 2-0 lead.
After a stoppage in action when the wrestlers slid over the circle line, Decker had to go the sideline with a blown shoe at the 1:13 mark. With a borrowed shoe, Decker was able to get the advantage on the restart and roll Nunez-Villareal over for quick pin.
“He stepped up big,” Smith said of the win. “They put a different kid in there with Levi Lowney out thinking the might get a win, but Decker squashed that. I’m happy for him.”
Quinton Ross won in a forfeit at 145 to start the match, and then Mason Schau took the Grayhounds’ Owen George to a 5-5 tie in the second match of the night at 152 lbs.
Schau was up 4-1 in the first period scoring two take downs, but George was able to escape one and then escaped on the start of period 2 from the down start to make it 4-2. He would then get a take down to tie it up just before the end of the second.
Schau was set to start the third down, but Burlington gave a pass on the start and both wrestlers started on their feet, which awarded Schau a automatic 1-point escape.
At the 1:20 mark Schau would get George compromised, but the take down happened outside the circle and no points were awarded. George would get a free point on a stall against Schau off the restart to tie up the game. There would be a restart with two seconds left, but Schau would hang on to George to run out the time and force an extra session. George would then get a takedown in front of the Burlington bench in the sudden victory for a 7-5 win.
Senior Nathan Steffensmeier would get a lateral throw on Burlington’s Nolan Simpson at 160 lbs for a 45-second pin to put the Hounds up 12-3.
Burlington would get two wins at 170 and 182 lbs to tie things up at 12 before Decker got his pin for an 18-12 lead.
Deigo Lozano and Tyler Hartman staged one of the more dramatic matches of the night at 220 lbs. Hartman had a couple injury time outs and was complaining of getting poked in the eye. One tie up in front of the bench on a shot from Lozano sent Hartman off the mat much to the dismay of the Grayhound fans.
In then end, Lozano recorded an escape from the down start of period 2 and after one of the injury timeouts, Lozano was able to get Hartman to the mat for the pin 45 seconds into the second period for a 24-12 lead.
Lozano has been racking up quick pins of late and said he started a bit different against Hartman.
‘He won the Fort Madison tournament at 195 lbs so he bumped up tonight. I just wanted to try and wear him out in the first and then put pressure on in the second period,” Lozano said.
He said the goal of the night was to keep the conference title in Fort Madison.
“Coach Smith prepared us for this all week, and then got us all pumped up tonight before we came out. The goal was to keep the title in Fort Madison.”
After Lozano’s win, it was mostly Fort Madison from there on out. Danen Settles recorded a pin a 285, and then Fort Madison would get two forfeits to go up 42-12. Matthew Steffensmeier scored a 16-0 technical fall wrestling up a class at 120 and Owen Kruse had a nice 8-7 win over Ian Taylor at 126 also a class higher than his normal 120.
Class 3A’s 5th ranked Duncan Delzell overcame an aggressive start from Fort Madison’s Gavin Wiseman to gt a pin at 1:31 for Burlington’s final six points of the night.
“He’s had some stiff competition this year, but he held his own,” Smith said. “I know he’s not happy with the result, though.”
Will Larson would clean things up with a 15-1 major decision over the Grayhounds River Belger.
Smith said it was a good conference season with the addition of the Grayhounds.
“It’s great we could hold onto it and I think it’s a good having them as a new addition to the conference. It makes it more challenging,” Smith said.
Fort Madison is off until Wednesday when they travel to North Scott for team dual state qualifying and will take on Cedar Rapids Kennedy. The winner of that match will take on North Scott for the right to go to state in team competition.
Individual districts are on Saturday in Bettendorf where the top two wrestlers in each bracket qualify for the state meet which starts on Feb. 20 at Wells-Fargo Arena.
Complete results of the match are below
Fort Madison (FOMA) 54.0 Burlington (BURL) 18.0
145: Quinton Ross (FOMA) over Nick Wegmann (BURL) (Inj. [time]) 152: Owen George (BURL) over Mason Schau (FOMA) (SV-1 7-5) 160: Nathan Steffensmeier (FOMA) over Nolan Simpson (BURL) (Fall 0:45) 170: Julian Perez-Hall (BURL) over Austin Ensminger (FOMA) (Fall 2:24) 182: Nash Garlow (BURL) over Bryce Britton (FOMA) (Dec 4-2) 195: Chance Decker (FOMA) over Emanuel Nunez-Villareal (BURL) (Fall 1:18) 220: Diego Lozano (FOMA) over Tyler Hartman (BURL) (Fall 2:45) 285: Danen Settles (FOMA) over Daniel Remele (BURL) (Fall 0:55) 106: Emmett Kruse (FOMA) over (BURL) (For.) 113: Ace Meierotto (FOMA) over (BURL) (For.) 120: Matthew Steffensmeier (FOMA) over Brian Velazquez (BURL) (TF 16-0 4:00) 126: Owen Kruse (FOMA) over Ian Taylor (BURL) (Dec 8-7) 132: Duncan Delzell (BURL) over Gavin Wiseman (FOMA) (Fall 1:31) 138: Will Larson (FOMA) over River Belger (BURL) (MD 15-1)