Chase Crooks wins district heavyweight title, qualifies for third-straight State Wrestling Tournament
By John Burbridge
NEW HAMPTON — Don’t know if his father decided on his birth name, but that’s who he’s chasing.
Charles City senior Chase Crooks earned his third-straight trip to the State Wrestling Tournament by way of winning the 285-pound (heavyweight) bracket at the Class 2A-District 5 tournament, Saturday at New Hampton High School.
In the semifinals, Crooks defeated New Hampton/Turkey Valley senior Jacob Burgart with a 1-0 decision.
As indicated by his tiebreaker win over Crestwood’s Brayden Isham the week before for his bracket’s sectional title, Crooks seems to be at home whenever bouts become prolonged chess matches.
“I’m just looking for ways to score points,” Crooks says about being embroiled in these grueling battles.
It looked as if Crooks was going to be engaged in another six-minute-and-maybe-more crucible in the district final against North Fayette Valley senior Colton Schupbach. But after a scoreless first period, Crooks — who gets a lot of his fall victories working from the “top” position even with most wrestlers prefering the “down” position when they’re looking to score points — was able to turn Schupbach’s shoulders to the mat and got the slap at the 3:18 mark.
Going into the wrestling postseason, Crooks had only wrestled six matches all season. He had injured his left shoulder during the football season, from which he became the first Comet in a decade to earn All-State recognition (Crooks has been named Academic All-State in every year he has been eligible). Crooks was also named the Comet Football MVP, and football is the sport he plans to play in college.
Crooks is due to have shoulder surgery in the coming months. He thought about scraping the remainder of his final prep wrestling season, but as mentioned above, he’s “chasing” someone.
“My father placed fourth and third at state when he was wrestler,” Crooks said of his father, Jeff Crooks, who was an outstanding multiple sport athlete during his days at Charles City High School and is currently the Floyd County Sheriff.
“I want to place higher than he did,” said the younger Crooks, who placed sixth in the heavyweight bracket at last year’s tournament.
Out of the five Charles City wrestlers who were bidding for state berths at the district tournament, only Crooks was able to advance to the State Traditional Tournament to take place at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Thursday through Saturday.
With an 11-6 decision over New Hampton/Turkey Valley’s Gavin Rings in the semifinals, Comet junior Kayden Blunt was granted a title shot in the 160-bracket. But after falling to Union’s Stone Schmitz in the final, Blunt was forced to face Decorah’s Austin Wilkins in the wrestleback for the second-place qualifying spot, and was pinned in the first period.
Like Crooks and Blunt, Charles City junior 132-pounder Nathan Lopez was coming off a sectional championship from the week before. After losing a 5-0 decision to NFV’s Caden Kerr in the semifinals, Lopez battled valiantly against Crestwood’s Ethan Govern in what turned out to be the third-place match. Lopez’s fall victory midway through the second period proved to be his last match of the season as Union’s Caleb Olson had already pinned Kerr in the championship bout, thus eliminating the need for a wrestleback.
Charles City sophomore 145-pounder Talan Weber also turned out a game effort in the consolation match of his bracket when he defeated Jesse Grimes with a sudden-victory-deciding takedown after the match was locked at 6 apiece through regulation. Then Weber and the rest of his team took note of the 145-pound championship match still going on across New Hampton’s gym.
When Independence’s Isaiah Weber, who defeated Talan Weber in the semifinals, scored a third-period short-time reversal over Decorah’s Brady Stille in a do-or-die move for the title, Talan Weber was granted a wrestleback opportunity for second place and a state berth.
But Stille, who for the rest of the meet leading up to his wrestleback match couldn’t stand still as he paced back and forth in the gym with seething intensity, wasn’t going to be denied a state berth where he might get a chance to face Isaiah Weber again, won that wrestleback bout with a fall victory.
Charles City junior 170-pounder Trevor Peterson placed fourth in his bracket after losing to Independence’s Mitch Johnson in the semifinals, and Dike-New Hartford’s Cayden Bushkohl in the subsequent consolation match. New Hampton/Turkey Valley junior Ben Tenge was the bracket champion.
Of the 11 teams represented at the district tournament, Charles City placed seventh with 45 team points. Union placed first with 125.5 team points followed by Independence (102), Crestwood (85.5), NH/TV (58), NFB (50), DNH (48), Decorah (28), BCLUW (20), Waukon (12) and Aplington-Parkersburg (0).
Other district champions include Jace Hedeman (106), Brayden Bohnsack (113), Hunter Worthen (152) and Dacoda Marvets (195) of Union; Nick Reinicke (182) and Wil Textor of DNH; Carter Kolhoff (120) of BCLUW; Nick Kock (126) of NFV; and 2020 state champion Carter Fousek (138) of NH/TV.