State wrestling: Strong semifinal round has Don Bosco close to third straight Iowa Class 1A title
Don Bosco is inching closer to sending head coach Tom Hogan out on top.
A month ago, the longtime wrestling coach announced that this season would be his last in charge of the Dons' wrestling program. It marks the end of a successful 10-year run, which includes three state team titles and as many state duals crowns.
This year's Don Bosco team again strikes the right mix of depth and talent, and on Friday night, after the semifinals of the Class 1A state championships, the Dons are one step closer to giving Hogan a massive sendoff.
The Dons will take a 25.5-point lead into Saturday's final day. They totaled 146 points after the semifinal round. Four Don Bosco wrestlers advanced to the finals: Cael Rahnavardi (145 pounds), Cael Frost (160), Cade Tenold (170) and Carson Tenold (182). Seven more Don wrestlers will finish on the podium, and five are alive for third.
Lisbon sits second, with 120.5 points. Four Lion wrestlers reached the finals: Brandon Paez (120), Cade Siebrecht (126), Robert Avila Jr. (145) and Cole Clark (220). Four more are in the wrestlebacks, and three are alive for third. Logan-Magnolia is firmly in third with 81 points, followed by West Sioux (55.5) and Underwood (50.5).
It will take a monster effort, combined with a stunning collapse, for Lisbon to derail the mighty Don Bosco machine. Under Hogan's leadership, the Dons won titles in 2012, 2019 and 2020 while finishing second in 2017 and 2018. They also won state duals championships in 2018, 2019 and again this year.
Don Bosco has long been one of Iowa's most successful programs. The Dons stand alone with 11 state duals titles after Wednesday's victory over Lisbon in the 1A final. If they can secure the team championship again Saturday, it would not only be a third straight, but the school's 13th all-time, which would be good for third in state history.
It would be the perfect stamp on Hogan's successful tenure as the Dons' head coach.
West Fork's Petersen is bigger — and even better
A year ago, West Fork's Kale Petersen was undersized for high school wrestling's smallest weight. Still, he was talented enough to finish sixth at the state tournament.
Now, the sophomore is bigger — and better.
Petersen, the No. 1 seed at 106 pounds, stormed into the finals on Friday afternoon. He pinned Don Bosco's Caleb Coffin in the second period of their semifinal match. He's outscored his opponents 38-10 this week, with two falls and a major decision.
"Last year, the most I weighed in was around 98, 99 pounds," Petersen said. "I was way undersized. Kids were way bigger than me, way stronger than me. But last summer, I hit the gym, did some freestyle and Greco training, and it feels great to be big now.
"This summer, I trained on explosiveness, tried to gain more muscle and just worked to be quicker in all my positions."
Petersen will take a 26-1 record into Saturday night, where he'll face Missouri Valley's Eli Becerra, a freshman who's 47-0.
More state wrestling coverage
- Finals matchups: See every title bout in every class
- Live updates: Day 2 of the tournament, as it happened
- Pump-up music: What do Iowa's state wrestling champs listen to?
- Streaming guide: Whether you're near Wells Fargo Arena this week, here's what to know
- Every photo: Our complete visual recap of the 2021 state tournament
Potential history set to collide at 120
Two guys on pace to become four-time state champions will now have to go through one another in order to reach that historic goal.
New London's Marcel Lopez is a junior and a two-time state champion. On Friday, he beat Don Bosco's Garrett Funk 3-0 to advance to the finals at 120 pounds.
In the other semifinal, Lisbon's Brandon Paez, a sophomore and returning state champion, topped Riverside's Jace Rose 6-4 to set up a meeting with Lopez.
The intensity in this match might only be matched by the finals bout that comes two weights later …
Winning streaks will clash at 132
… because a pair of lengthy winning streaks will come to a head in the finals at 132 pounds.
Cascade's Aidan Noonan, a senior and two-time state champion, will face off with Underwood's Gable Porter, a sophomore and returning state champion. Noonan, a Wyoming signee, has won 130 straight matches and is 178-6 for his career. Porter has won the first 48 matches of his prep career — 35-0 last year, and now 13-0 this year.
Noonan has produced a workmanlike performance this week: two pins, then a 7-0 win over West Sioux's Mikey Baker in Friday's semifinals. Porter has had to work harder: a pin in round one, a 1-0 win over Mediapolis's Quinten Aney in the quarters, then a 6-5 ultimate-tiebreaker win over Logan-Magnolia's Hagen Heistand in the semifinals.
Somebody's winning streak will come to an end on Saturday night. The intensity will be unreal.
Speaking of streaks, Lisbon's Robert Avila Jr., a two-time state champ, has won 133 straight matches dating to his freshman season. He's in the finals again at 145 pounds. North Butler-Clarksville's Chet Buss, a returning heavyweight state champ, has won 83 in a row. The junior is also back in the finals.
Frost-Entriken to meet again
For the third straight week, Cael Frost and Tate Entriken will meet in the finals of a postseason tournament.
Entriken, a junior from Hudson, beat Frost 11-7 in the Sectional 3 final two weeks ago. Frost, a senior from Don Bosco, then beat Entriken 1-0 in the District 2 final last week.
Now, they'll meet again, with everything on the line Saturday night.
Who will win their first?
Logan-Magnolia's Briar Reisz scored a takedown in sudden victory to defeat Riceville's Lawson Losee, 3-1, at 152 pounds in Friday's semifinals. The senior advanced to the state finals for the fourth straight year. He is the 66th wrestler in state history to do so.
On the other side of the bracket, Columbus Catholic's Max Magayna rolled through East Buchanan's TJ Lau 8-0 to reach the finals. Magayna, a freshman, is now 41-0 this season.
Both guys are seeking their first state title. A win for Reisz would help him avoid becoming just the second four-time finalist in state history to never win a title. A win for Magayna would put him on track to potentially win four.
Two types of history on the line in this match. May the best wrestler win.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.