Decorah sophomore Jackson Rolfs was crowned the District 5 champion at 132 pounds Saturday to punch his first ticket to state.
Decorah sophomore Jackson Rolfs was crowned the District 5 champion at 132 pounds Saturday to punch his first ticket to state.

The dream of being a state champion remains alive for three Decorah grapplers, following Saturday’s Class 2A District 5 action hosted at Independence High School.

Junior No. 7 Jackson Rolfs (132 pounds), junior Dawson Palmer (182 pounds) and senior Andy Murphy (195 pounds) survived tough brackets. Rolfs managed to punch his ticket as the district champion while Palmer and Murphy finished second. Freshman Austin Wilkins suffered tough losses Saturday to conclude his season.

 “It was a strong day for us as a program. To have four wrestlers at the district tournament and qualify three of them for the state tournament is outstanding,” said Coach Jeff Freidhof. “We had a great week of training leading into the weekend and the wrestlers had the right mental mind sets and it showed on Saturday.”

As 220-pound champion, Turkey Valley senior Carter Reicks punched his ticket to state as a member of the combined New Hampton/Turkey Valley squad.

The state wrestling tournament runs Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 14-16, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines (see box on page A-9 for details).

How to qualify

Wrestlers at all district sites, regardless of class, needed to finish in the top-two of their weight bracket to advance to state. There were eight district sites per class, making 16 grapplers at each weight in each class who advance to state.

The first stop to state — the sectional meet — was Saturday, Feb. 2. South Winn had three grapplers finish in the top-two at sectionals to move on to the district, which was held at Denver High School in Denver.

At districts, wrestle backs are utilized to determine the true second place finisher. If the finals loser and the consolation finals winner (second and third place) didn’t face each other in the first round, they wrestled for the true second place and the final spot at state.

Reicks for the win

Turkey Valley senior Carter Reicks made the road to state look nearly effortless at 220 pounds. The Chickasaw took his first step toward Des Moines by throwing Daniel Graves of Dike-New Hartford in 3:59. Needing one more win, Reicks closed out the district competition as the 220-pound champion with a 10-6 decision over Wyatt Scheidel of Crestwood for his inaugural bid to state.

With a 38-7 season record, Reicks will do battle with Wyatt Folkerts of Hampton-Dumont (30-12) in the first round Thursday.


How state works

The state wrestling tournament begins Thursday, Feb. 14, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines and runs through Saturday, Feb. 16. The first round for Class 1A is at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

Wrestlers need to win once Thursday to advance. If a grappler loses in the first round, he falls into the consolation bracket. If he wins the first match Thursday, he advances to the quarterfinals Friday, Feb. 15. Two losses Thursday will eliminate the grappler from the tournament.

Two wins in the first two days guarantees a grappler will medal (finish in the top-eight of their weight class).

For the complete story, stats and additional photos, pick up Decorah Newspapers at one of the many convenient locations throughout Decorah and Winneshiek County. Or, for 34 cents an issue, subscribe to Decorah Newspapers by calling (563) 382-4221.