BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DES MOINES – One of the most telling statements out of this weekend’s Iowa State Wrestling Tournament came from Fort Madison Head Coach Ryan Smith after FMHS senior Owen Kruse lost in the 7th-place match.
“He wasn’t ranked all year,” Smith said. “To finish eighth in the state is a good feat.”
Kruse had just lost to Class 3A 4th ranked Carter Fecht of Waverly Shell-Rock, the top 3A team in the state. Fecht got bumped into the consolation by No. 2 Grant O’Dell of Iowa City West, and then was upset in a tight 5-4 decision by Dallas Center-Grimes sophomore Jacob Fistler in the consolation semis.
Fecht scored a take down 23 seconds into the match for a 2-0 lead, and Kruse was able to wrestle to the circle for hold breaks on several occasions. But the Hound couldn’t make any progress from the down starts.
Again in the 2nd period, Fecht scored another take down with 25 seconds gone and took about a minute to get Kruse to roll over, but Kruse fought out of the hold suffering a 3-point near fall and trailed 7-0 going into the third.
Kruse tried an aggressive rollover move to start the third, but Fecht sniffed it out and pulled Kruse in for a take down and a pin 18 seconds in ending Kruse’s run at the tourney.
“He just out-techniqued me there,” Kruse said. “Nothing more to it.”
The senior said he thought he scored a couple points at the end of the second when he was able to move into a better position with Fecht, but he said in the end it didn’t have an impact.
“I thought I was pretty close to two, but it didn’t end up mattering because he reversed it right back,” he said.
Kruse got to the podium on Friday afternoon after knocking off Lewis Central’s Taber Dominguez with a stunning reversal and take down with less than five seconds remaining in the match for a come-from behind 7-4 win.
Seventh-ranked Cael Cox of Ankeny pushed Kruse to the 7th-place match when he recorded five take downs and a nearfall, but couldn’t get the Hound to the mat scoring a 12-4 major decision in the consolation semis.
Kruse said despite the losing the match, he’ll look back on the tournament with joy.
“It sucks right now because I didn’t want to finish like that, but overall I’ll look back and be happy,” Kruse said.
“I just wanted to end it all with a win, just go out hard and leave it all out there.”
Smith said that’s just what Kruse did.
“He’s got nothing to hang his head about. There are some tough dudes up and here and that wasn’t a typical 7th-place opponent.”
He said Kruse’s risky move in the third was the right tact.
“It was something he had to do. Something that worked for him last year in district wrestlebacks,” Smith said.
“But his mentality and attitude shows so much about him. He just goes about his business, works hard and knows what he wants. For him to finish where he did is a good accomplishment.
“He wanted more, but when he looks back on it he’ll appreciate what he did.”