Elijah Mitchell finished his high school career at sectionals Saturday, finishing third. (Photo by Becky Walz)
Elijah Mitchell finished his high school career at sectionals Saturday, finishing third. (Photo by Becky Walz)

A talented trio.

When the final whistle had blown and the last arm raised, the Decorah wrestling team had three grapplers who had advanced from sectional action. Class 2A No. 5 Jackson Rolfs, Brady Stille and Kyzer Engen all punched tickets to the district competition by finishing in the top-two of their weight classes at the Class 2A Section 11 meet hosted by the Vikings.

Those three will put on the head gear for the district meet Saturday, Feb. 15, in New Hampton.

As a team, Decorah struggled to score points, finishing fifth. Team champion was Crestwood with 233 points, while Charles City was the runner-up. The two NEIC squads will compete in the team regional tournament today, Tuesday, Feb. 11.

How it works

There were six teams at the Sectional 12 meet. Grapplers needed to finish in the top-two of their weight bracket in order to advance to districts. Unlike other meets, wrestle backs are utilized beginning with the sectional round. Wrestle backs are used when the grapplers who finished second and third didn’t face each other. This determines the “true” second-place finisher.

Moving on

Punching his ticket to state first was 132-pound Brady Stille. He earned a bye in the quarterfinal, setting him up in the semifinals against Bronson Forsyth of Charles City, where he secured a 5-1 decision to go into the finals. There, the freshman battled Crestwood’s Chase Thomas, falling by 5-2 decision and avoided a wrestle back to advance.

Stille takes a 14-10 record into districts, where he’ll face Sam Hackett (24-5) of Columbus Catholic in the first round Saturday.

Junior Jackson Rolfs is moving on for the third straight season. Ranked No. 5 in Class 2A at 145 pounds, Rolfs had a bye in the quarterfinals. He took 1:00 to get the fall over Charles City’s Kayden Blunt in the semifinals. The junior grappler proved to be dominant with a 12-0 major decision over Conner Gorman of New Hampton/Turkey Valley in the finals to advance to district competition.

With a 27-5 record, Rolfs will face Nick Reinicke (29-9) of Dike-New Hartford in the first round of district action and will be looking for his second trip to state.

Returning to the mats for the first time since suffering an injury in January, Kyzer Engen (152) had a solid performance for the day. After a bye in the quarterfinals, he threw Alex Streif of North Fayette Valley in 1:34 in the semifinal. That put him up against Class 2A No. 7 Hunter Pesek of New Hampton/Turkey Valley, which ended in a 6-1 decision for Pesek. The loss forced the Viking senior to fight Rousch Jaeger of Charles City for the 13-10 wrestle back victory to advance to district competition as the runner-up.

Engen will take his 13-4 record up against Class 2A No. 10 Riley Burke (30-2) of Iowa-Falls-Alden in the first round Saturday. Engen is looking to return to state for a second trip after qualifying as a sophomore.

District information

The district meet is Saturday, Feb. 15, at noon at New Hampton. Champions and runners-up from the Decorah and Independence sectional sites do battle at districts. The top-two grapplers at each weight class advance to the state meet, which runs Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 20-22, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

The champion from each sectional site battles the runner-up from each opposing sectional location in the first round of district action. There will be two rounds, followed by a possible wrestle back. Wrestle backs occur if the second and third place finishers did not face each other in the first round. This determines the true second-place winner and the grapplers who advance to state.