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Kayden Blunt, Chase Crooks and Nathan Lopez earned titles while helping Comets place 2nd at Sectionals

Kayden Blunt, Chase Crooks and Nathan Lopez earned titles while helping Comets place 2nd at Sectionals
Press photo by John Burbridge
Charles City junior Kayden Blunt maintains control of Decorah senior Cole Graves on way to winning the 160-pound championship match at the Class 2A Sectional 9 wrestling tournament. Blunt was one of three Comets to win sectional titles with others including Nathan Lopez (132) and Chase Crooks (285).

By John Burbridge

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CRESCO — Becoming the first Charles City football player to earn All-State distinction in more than a decade didn’t come without a price for Comet senior Chase Crooks.

The two-way lineman battled through a bum shoulder late in the season while helping his team stay in playoff contention until the final game.

But the residual impact from such commitment has hampered Crooks’s final prep wrestling season. And with only six matches to his credit, Crooks returned to the mat for the first time this year (literally) at Saturday’s Class 2A Sectional 9 meet to resume his quest to qualify for state for the third season in a row.

In the 285-final, Crooks took a step closer to Des Moines with an emotional 2-1 tiebreaker overtime victory over Crestwood senior Brayden Ishman.

That was one of three sectional titles earned by Comet wrestlers during the meet hosted by Crestwood. The other two you could probably classify as “darkhorse” victories.

Going into the meet with a 16-11 record, Charles City 132-pound junior Nathan Lopez had to go through two 25-win wrestlers — first Ethan Govern of Crestwood in the semis and then Lane Rolfs of Decorah in the final — the latter of whom Lopez defeated in a 6-3 decision.

Comet junior Kayden Blunt looked modest on paper with his 9-8 record posted within the 160-pound bracket in the tournament’s program. Yet on the mat, Blunt cut a more impressive figure when he defeated Dike-New Hartford’s Cole Graves with a 14-4 major decision in the semifinals ahead of defeating Decorah’s Austin Wilkins with a 4-1 decision in the final.

Several other Comet wrestlers are still alive by way of runner-up finishes in their brackets.

Charles City, 145-pound sophomore Talan Weber earned a trip to next Saturday’s district tournament hosted by New Hampton — and also a trip to the dentist — after bouncing back to pin Aplington-Parkersburg’s Connor Kellum in a consolation match while chipping a tooth and then pinning Crestwood’s Bryce Shea midway through their wrestleback match after Shea lost to Decorah’s Brady Stille in the final.

In the 170-pound final, Charles City junior Trevor Peterson dropped a 9-2 decision to Dike-New Hartford’s Cayden Bushkohl and was awarded second-place outright as the opponent Peterson had defeated in the semifinals went on to win the third-place consolation match, avoiding the need for a wrestleback.

Charles City senior Tino Tamayo was denied a chance for a third-straight state appearance due to a tough turn of events in the 220-pound final.

Tamayo was thisclose in claiming the bracket championship while leading Crestwood’s Drew Jackson 5-3 with “short time” in the third period getting shorter. In the final seconds, Jackson scored a takedown to tie it — there was a brief discussion among the officials before the 2 points were awarded.

Then in the immediate sudden-victory period, Jackson scored another TD for the 7-5 win. Tamayo subsequently lost to Dike-New Hartford’s Wil Textor in the wrestleback.

Comet junior Ethan Peterson was leading Crestwood’s Landen Schemmel for most of their 195-pound final. But 30-win wrestler Schemmel was able to catch Peterson in a bad spot midway through the third period, and got the fall victory. Peterson was later eliminated from further individual tournament contention with a loss to Decorah’s Corbyn Palmer in the subsequent wrestleback.

Charles City 120-pound sophomore Jordan Young advanced to the final of his bracket. But losing to Crestwood’s Kole Johnson in the final and Waukon’s Owen Malone in the wrestleback, Young had to settle for third place.

Comet senior Colton Crooks won what would be the 152-pound third-place match when he pinned Waukon’s Riley Burington, but was deprived a chance at a wrestleback with Crestwood’s Cole Butikofer defeating Brody Hanson in the final  — Hanson had defeated Crooks in the semis.

Other sectional champions include Mitchell Schmauss (106), Cole Schmauss (113) and Carter Fousek (138) of Crestwood; Jakob Regan (126) of Waukon; and Nick Reinicke (182) of Dike-New Hartford.

Crestwood led the six-team sectional field with 272.5 team points. Charles City was second with 194 team points.

By way of their top-two finishes, the Cadets and Comets advance to the Class 2A Regional Dual Team Tournament hosted by Crestwood on Tuesday.

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