Decorah senior Andy Hovden finished fourth in Class 2A at 220 pounds. (Photo by Jennifer Bissell)
Winneshiek County wrestlers brought home medals...lots of medals...from the state wrestling tournament, held last week in Des Moines.
Four grapplers finished their season on the medal stand, finishing in the top eight of their weight class.
Decorah's Andy Hovden (220), Austin Ashbacher (285) and Hans Holkesvik (152), along with South Winn's Chris Brincks (195) all were a part of the grand march Saturday night, capping incredible seasons and in some cases, careers.
In team standings, Decorah finished 16th in Class 2A with 33 total points.
Feather in Hovden's cap
Senior Andy Hovden started his tournament Thursday night against Brent Carlson (34-11) of Woodward-Granger. It was scoreless after the first period. Hovden chose down in the second period. He escaped 23 seconds into the period, then got a takedown with 32 seconds remaining to go ahead 3-0. Hovden was on top in the third and rode out Carlson for the win.
In Friday's quarterfinal, Hovden battled Corbin Blythe (34-6) of Williamsburg. The two wrestlers were scoreless in the first. With Blythe in the down position in the second, he escaped to go ahead 1-0. Hovden returned the favor in the third, tying the match at 1-1 with 1:14 remaining. However, Blythe got a takedown with 12 seconds remaining. Hovden was able to escape as time expired, falling 3-2 to move to the consolation bracket.
With a win meaning a medal, Hovden faced on Dylan Nelson (39-7) of ADM. It was scoreless after one period. Choosing down, Hovden got a reversal and a three-point nearfall to start the second period. Nelson escaped, but Hovden scored a takedown with 28 seconds remaining in the second to take a 7-1 lead. Taking down again in the third, Hovden got another reversal. Following a Nelson escape, Hovden scored a takedown and another three-point nearfall. He got the pin in 5:52.
Next up was Josh Cannon (33-9) of Mount Vernon. Hovden was able to get Cannon on his back, getting the pin in 2:54.
Moving to the consolation semifinals, Hovden faced Bryce Kelleher (39-5) of Sheldon/South O'Brien. Eighteen seconds into the match, Hovden scored a takedown. Kelleher got a reversal, but Hovden escaped and scored his second takedown to take a 5-2 lead after one. With Kelleher choosing down, Hovden got one point after Kelleher was called for his second stalling warning. Kelleher escaped, but with 12 seconds left Hovden got a takedown. Kelleher reversed it with four seconds left and got three nearfall points to make it 8-8. Hovden chose down in the third. He escaped with 22 seconds left and got a takedown with just 37 seconds remaining to win 11-9.
Wrestling for third place, Hovden had a rematch with Blythe (36-7). With no score after one, Hovden chose down in the second. He got an escape with 1:14 left to take a 1-0 lead. With Blythe down in the third, he got a reversal early in the period. Hovden escaped with 42 seconds left but couldn't get another point, sending it to overtime, where Blythe won 4-2.
Hovden finished his senior season 35-7 overall.
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