By JIM GRIES
Herald sports editor
MOUNT PLEASANT —
Going into Saturday’s Class 3A district tournament, Oskaloosa had three wrestlers ranked by The Predicament in its final rankings that were released Thursday.
Unfortunately, only one of those ranked wrestlers — Dane Jones at 195 pounds — was able to advance to this week’s state tournament.
But things weren’t so bad for the Indians as three others punched their tickets to the state tournament, which begins Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena.
The Indians finished a strong fourth in the team race with 152 points while Iowa City West captured the team title with 226 points, 64 points better than runner-up Mount Pleasant.
Oskaloosa crowned three district champions in juniors Nate Caves at 126 and Andrew Landgrebe at 170 while sophomore Cody Jones won his title at 160.
“We’ve got four good kids going to state,” Oskaloosa coach Brandon Graham said.
Oskaloosa had five wrestlers reach the finals with Skylar DeJong, ranked fifth at 113, the only one who won’t be making the trip to Des Moines.
DeJong (37-5) was seeded second in the tournament and won his first two matches by major decisions to set up the final against No. 1-ranked Bryce Meyer of Fort Madison. Meyer brought an unblemished 36-0 record into the final and coasted to a 10-1 major decision to send DeJong to the wrestleback match against Camiran Sadeghi of Keokuk.
It was all Sadeghi as he recorded the 11-1 major decision to earn his spot in the state tournament.
Then came the 34-8 Caves, who was also seeded second in the tournament. He had an easy time of it in the first two matches, winning by a pin in less than a minute then posted a 10-0 major decision in the semifinal.
That sent in to the final against Mount Pleasant’s Tanner Lanphier. Caves got a takedown early and never allowed Lanphier to turn him in the third period to come away with a 2-0 victory and his first trip to the state tournament.
Caves said it “feels great” to get to the state tournament and is confident he will place at the state tournament.
“Nate wrestled his tail off and won the tournament,” Graham said.
Cody Jones (27-12), also a No. 2 seed, was the next Oskaloosa wrestler to get a chance at making the state tournament field.
He won the first two matches by a pin and a slim decision to put him in the final against top-seed Dalton Witte of Burlington.
Jones was ahead in the match when Witte tried to throw him midway in the second period. Witte slammed Jones on his shoulder and was unable to continue, giving the Oskaloosa sophomore the berth in the state tournament by virtue of the injury default.
Witte stormed off the mat to a chorus of boos from the crowd although we would get a spot in the tournament after beating his wrestleback opponent, Lane Gray of Fort Madison, earlier in the tournament.
Jones was taken to the local hospital and was later released after it was determined he did not have a concussion, but rather a sore neck.
Landgrebe, who was ranked in the previous Predicament rankings, drew the top seed and he did not disappoint.
After getting a bye in the first round, he had a major decision in the semifinal then put Mount Pleasant’s Jayton Phillips on his back in 3:53 to get his second trip to the state tournament.
“I felt like I wrestled pretty good in both of them because I was in pretty good shape,” Landgrebe, who is 23-3 on the season, said. “I kept doing takedowns, but I couldn’t ride very good on top so I just let them up. My confidence is pretty up right now. I’m not going to hold back that’s for sure.
“It’s never good to see a teammate (Cody Jones) go down so obviously not a good situation. It motivated me a little bit.”
Dane Jones brought his No. 4 ranking into the tournament and came away with the No. 1 seed on the day. He pinned his semifinal opponent in just 31 seconds them met second-ranked Mickey Pelfrey of Iowa City West in the final.
It was a hard-fought battle with Pelfrey getting the pin in the third period to send Jones to the wrestleback match against Conner Mier of Ottumwa.
Jones (27-3) wasted little time in disposing of the Ottumwa junior, pinning him in 52 seconds to earn another trip to the state tournament.
“I had to go out and get after it,” Jones said. “I felt bad for Cody, but I had to stay focused. on one goal. I still had some fire from that first match and I knew I should have performed way better.”
“I thought all of our kids did really well,” Graham said. “The season’s not over, but I’m really looking forward to next year. We’ve done pretty good in all the tournaments. Even if the kids knew they wouldn’t make the state tournament, they still went out there and kept winning.”
Class 3A District Wrestling Tournament
at Mount Pleasant
Team standings — 1. Iowa City West 226, 2. Mount Pleasant 162, 3. Burlington 157, 4. Oskaloosa 152, 5. Fort Madison 138.5, 6. Keokuk 118, 7. Ottumwa 103, 8. Iowa City High 78.
Skylar DeJong (37-5) maj. dec. Connor Eads (MP), 9-1 in first round; maj. dec. Alex Lemus (ICH), 12-0 in semifinal; lost by maj. dec. to Bryce Meyer (FM), 10-1 in championship match; lost by maj. dec. to Camiran Sadeghi (K), 11-1 in wrestleback. Finished third.
Nate Caves (34-8) pinned Dakota Donner (K), :49 in first round; maj. dec. Alfred Buford (B), 10-0 in semifinal; dec. Tyler Lanphier (M), 2-0 in championship match. Finished first.
Mitchell Schaffner (12-12) lost by dec. to Tanner Hocker (FM), 4-3 in first round; pinned Jose Verdinez (ICH), 2:44 in consolation semifinal; lost by dec. to Austin Hughes (K), 6-5 in fifth-place match. Finished sixth.
Nick Beebe (12-22) lost by pin to Shea Hawkins (K), 1:59 in first round; lost by dec. to Wyatt Schlotter (Ot), 10-2 in consolation semifinal. Did not place.
Phillip Ringgenberg (14-19) lost by pin to Bryton Jones (ICH), :41 in first round; pinned Jacob Briscoe (K), 3:04 in consolation semifinal; lost by pin to Michael Alderson (MP), 1:11 in fifth-place match. Finished sixth.
Cody Jones (27-12) pinned Jake Huebner (Ot), :32 in first round; dec. Jackson Voigt (ICW), 5-4 in semifinal; won by injury default over Dalton Witte (B), 3:09. Finished first.
Andrew Landgrebe (23-3) received bye in first round; maj. dec. Donovan Doyle (ICW), 14-6 in semifinal; pinned Jayton Phillips (MP), 3:53 in championship match. Finished first.
Mason Wisse (33-8) pinned Derek Delaney (ICH), :41 in first round; lost by dec. to Justin Dilks (MP), 4-2 in semifinal; pinned Mitch Yoerger (ICW), :32 in third-place match. Finished third.
Dane Jones (27-3) received bye in first round; pinned Drake Seitz (K), :31 in semifinal; lost by pin to Mickey Pelfrey (ICW), 5:14 in championship match; pinned Conner Mier (Ot), :52 in wrestleback. Finished second.
Drea Lamb (20-12) dec. Lucas Lunsford (Ot), 11-6 in first round; lost by maj. dec. to Ryan Maas (ICH), 9-1 in semifinal; lost by maj. dec. to Micah Kelsay (ICW), 8-0 in third-place match. Finished fourth.
Hunter Sherwood (8-5) lost by pin to Emmett Wester (MP, 5:46 in first round; pinned Trenton Wellendorf (FM), 3:11 in consolation semifinal; pinned Vincent Clark (B), 1:48 in fifth-place match. Finished fifth.