BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DES MOINES – A heartbreaking first-round loss, and a first-ever win, highlighted Bloodhound action on the first day of the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament.
Fort Madison senior Owen Kruse notched his first win in Des Moines ever when he shut out Marion’s Wes Logan 7-0 in first round consolation action. Kruse qualified for the state tournament last year but dropped his first two matches to two place winners.
In the opening round Kruse was in trouble quick with Waukee’s Thurman Christensen (18-4). After some quick collar and hand fighting, Christensen was able to slip around Kruse and pull him down by the waist for a takedown 26 seconds in. Christensen would work that to a 3-point near fall.
With Kruse fighting to get out of the hold and even rolling a flip, Christensen just held on for the ride and rolled it back to another 3-point near fall. He would get yet another before the end of the first period for an 11-0 lead.
Five seconds into the second period, Christensen, ranked No. 8 in the state, would get another roll around Kruse’s hips to pull him to the mat and would leverage a 2-point near fall for the 15-0 technical fall.
“He’s a pretty good kid. He’s solid. It sucks to lose no matter what, but he’s a good kid so that’s good for him,” Kruse said about his opponent.
About 45 minutes later, Kruse was on the mat again, this time against Logan who is 30-12 on the year and came out of District 7.
The two battled scoreless with less than 15 seconds left in the first period. Kruse was close to a two-point takedown halfway through the period when he got Logan to the mat on the outer circle, but the hold was broken and ruled outside the circle.
Logan then drew a stalling warning before Kruse was able to work a takedown just at the end of the period for a 2-0 lead.
Kruse started on the bottom in the second period and took about 1:15 to shake loose of Logan’s grasp for an escape. After getting free Kruse shot for Logan’s legs and was able to work a takedown just 20 seconds later for a 5-point lead going into the final period.
Kruse then worked a reversal quickly on the restart for a 7-0 lead. There were hints of a cradle in the works, but Kruse couldn’t lock it up and rode Logan out for the win.
He will now advance to the second round consolation. A win there would guarantee the senior a spot on the podium. The Hound will have to face either Taber Dominguez, a Lewis Central senior who’s 38-13 on the year, or 6th-ranked Nick Walters (28-1), a senior out of Sioux City North.
Dominguez and Kruse are both unranked in the latest release from The Predicament.
“It feels great to get a win. Obviously I still have one more to go and that’s a big one for sure,” Kruse said. “It was good to get that win out of the way and I’m pretty happy about that.”
The senior said the magnitude of the upcoming tests aren’t lost on him.
At 138 lbs, Fort Madison’s Gavin Wiseman had a tough draw getting No. 7 Dylan Whitt (12-2) out of Cedar Falls and then No. 4 Jackson Helmkamp (23-4) in consolation. Helmkamp lost to unranked Drake Carter in Sudden Victory in the first round of the day.
Wiseman escaped an early takedown from Whitt for a 2-1 lead at the end of one. The junior would get a takedown in the second period then had Whitt’s arms pinned back and pushed the junior around the circle trying to get him to turn over.
Whitt would eventually give into the pressure but would get his knees back on the mat and escape a pin, giving Wiseman a 2-point near fall and a 3-2 lead.
Wiseman would score an escape starting down for the 3rd and then shoot for a leg, but Whitt would come down on top and finagle a 2-point call at 1:10 that he would work into a pin 40 seconds later sending Wiseman to the consolation bracket.
There Helmkamp would score a quick takedown 16 seconds into the match. Wiseman wouldn’t be able to find a way out and Helmkamp would get the pin with :22 left in the first period.
Wiseman finished the year 26-14 and just missed qualifying as a freshman and a sophomore.