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Comet Chase Crooks Grand Marches with state-placing heavyweights

Comet Chase Crooks Grand Marches with state-placing heavyweights
Press photo by John Burbridge
Charles City junior Chase Crooks, third from the left, participates in the Grand March with fellow podium placing heavyweights before the championship bouts at the State Wrestling Championships.

By John Burbridge

DES MOINES — Championships can be a fickle beast.

They can rain down from the heavens, or they can be as elusive as that treasure at the end of the rainbow.

For North Butler/Clarksville, individual titleist hardware at the State Wrestling Championships has become a regular occurrence in the person of resident heavyweight Chet Buss.

With a fall victory over Rex Johnson of Logan-Magnolia for the Class 1A-285 crown Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena, the Bearcat junior completed his second-straight undefeated championship season, this time going 41-0.

For the Nashua-Plainfield Huskies, the wait has been a little longer.

“We haven’t had a champion since 2012,” Husky veteran head coach Al Frost said. “We haven’t had a wrestler make it to the finals since 2012.”

That changed on both fronts in the Class 1A 113-pound final.

Husky sophomore Garrett Rinken, who placed third as a 106-pounder last year, found himself down 2-0 early against West Sioux’s Brandon Graff.

Rinken was able to even the score, and with about a minute remaining in the third period, scored a takedown for what would be the margin of victory in a 4-2 decision.

While capping his undefeated season at 51-0, Rinken became the fifth N-P wrestler to claim a state title, and first since Husky 182-pounder Andy Glaser in 2012.

Glaser also helped the Huskies win the Class 1A Dual Meet title that year.

Charles City has had 17 individual wrestling champions — the last in 2008 with 103-pounder Tanner Schmidt.

The Comets will have to wait a little longer, but maybe not too much longer.

“He has made a big step from last year,” Comet head coach Dave Williams said about his junior heavyweight Chase Crooks.

“Last year, he was a qualifier. This year, he made it to the podium. After being here a couple of times, you get a better idea what to expect.”

In last year’s tournament, Crooks was paired up against the No. 1-seed and eventual champion and was quickly sent to the consolation bracket.

This time around, Crooks won his first two matches — including another 1-0 nail-biter over Dike-New Hartford’s Jacob Leohr in the quarter finals.

In the semis, Crooks lost a close 3-2 decision to Grinnell’s Kamerin Steveson, then lost twice in Saturday’s consolation semifinals and placement matches to place sixth and capping his season at 30-9.

Charles City 170-pound senior Caden Collins, who was a returning place-winner for the Comets, got off to a good start with a 10-8 decision over Jon McKeever of Woodward-Granger during Thursday’s opening round, but lost a 8-4 decision to Bishop Heelan’s Mitchell Joines in the quarterfinals.

Collins was a technical-fall victim to Centerville’s Lucas Henderson in his subsequent consolation bout and was stopped short of a top-eight podium finish. Collins had a team-leading 35 wins against 10 losses his final high school season.

Tino Tamayo, who like Crooks will be a senior with multiple-state-qualifier experience next season, lost to Gage Marty of Solon in the 220-pound opening round. Tamayo bounced back with a 3-1 decision over Korver Hupke of Independence in the consolation round, but lost yet another close decision (6-5) to Treyton Burnikel of North Fayette Valley and — like Collins — fell short of being a podium placer and a Grand March participant. Tamayo was 26-7 this season.

NBC freshman Tanner Arjes placed fifth in the Class 1A 120-pound bracket while finishing 38-5 this season.

Nashua-Plainfield had two other place-winners at the tournament — sophomore Kendrick Huck (43-13), who placed sixth in the Class 1A 106-pound bracket; and junior Trey Nelson (48-8), who placed seventh in the Class 1A 132-pound bracket.

Husky junior Mckade Munn (36-12) went 1-2 in the Class 1A 145-pound bracket.

Waverly-Shell Rock won its third-straight Traditional State Championship when it edged Waukee for the Class 3A title.

Don Bosco and West Delaware were the respective Class 1A and Class 2A team champs.

* Before Saturday’s Grand March and the championship bouts, Charles City resident Jeff Pavlovich was honored at Iowa’s “Official of the Year.”