HUXLEY - The Ballard wrestling team earned a spot at state duals by winning both duals at the Class 2A regional dual meet in Huxley Feb. 6.


Ballard, No. 3 in the Iowa Wrestling Coaches Association 2A team dual rating, edged Van Meter/Earlham by a 42-33 score in the semifinals, then whipped No. 14 South Tama by a 53-26 margin to earn a spot at state. The two victories put Ballard at 23-5 on the season.


“I was really nervous during the first (dual),” Ballard head wrestling coach Steve Mickelson said. “I didn’t think we were on our game. We weren’t wrestling really sharp. But we came back and wrestled really, really strong against South Tama, which set a good tone coming into the rest of the week.”


The regional dual championship put Ballard in the state duals for the first time since 2013.


“I’m extremely pumped about that,” Mickelson said. “It’s been awhile since we’ve been down to the state duals and we need to make it a habit instead of a once-and-a-while thing.”


The Bombers struggled in the lighter weight classes against Van Meter/Earlham, but won eight of 10 matches from 132 pounds up to prevail.


At 132, Jim Chism pulled off a 4-0 victory over Van Meter/Earlham’s Zach Pleggenkuhle and Jarrett Miller pinned Cade Costlow in one minute, eight seconds at 138. At 152, Skyler Noftsger, rated No. 2 by The Predicament, knocked off No. 8 Caleb Swalla by a 5-1 decision and Tate Battani pinned Bryce Cole in 2:48 at 160.


Gerald Gute gave Ballard a fall over Caleb Button in 5:23 at 170 and Ben Lee stuck Sam Miller in 3:59 at 182.


Josh DeTar pinned Van Meter/Earlham’s Tyler Erdman in 52 seconds at 220 and Colin Anderson scored a fall over Derrin Sesker in 1:17 at 285.


Ballard scored seven falls and one win by technical fall in the victory over South Tama.


Gage Long pinned South Tama’s Brayden Smith in 3:12 at 126, Miller stuck Adrian Nunez in just 19 seconds, Noftsger went up to 160 and downed Vincent Brenan in 3:17 and Battani moved up to 170 and defeated Pedro Rodriguez in 3:02. Lee whipped the Trojans’ Payton Vest in 3:04, DeTar quickly disposed of Cael Kellogg in 37 seconds and Anderson stuck Mario Moncada in 4:17.


Alex Bangs gave Ballard an 18-0 technical fall at 120. Elijah Colliflower received a forfeit at 113.


Ballard 53, South Tama 26


106 pounds - Brody Chyma (ST) won by fall over Jordan Thomas (B), 1:15. 113 - Elijah Colliflower (B) won by forfeit. 120 - Alex Bangs (B) won by technical fall over Brady Knode (ST), 18-0 5:53. 126 - Gage Long (B) won by fall over Brayden Smith (ST), 3:12. 132 - Brady Fritz (ST) won by fall over Jim Chism (B), 1:47. 138 - Jarrett Miller (B) won by fall over Adrian Nunez (ST), 0:19. 145 - Colton Vest (ST) won by technical fall over Josh Borg (B), 15-0. 152 - Isaac Judge (ST) won by technical fall over Ben Hokel (B), 22-7. 160 - Skyler Noftsger (B) won by fall over Vincent Brenan (ST), 3:17. 170 - Tate Battani (B) won by fall over Pedro Rodriguez (ST), 3:02. 182 - Ben Lee (B) won by fall over Payton Vest (ST), 3:04. 195 - Dalton Rosenberg (ST) won by major decision over Joe Hofbauer (B), 12-2. 220 - Josh DeTar (B) won by fall over Cael Kellogg (ST), 0:37. 285 - Colin Anderson (B) won by fall over Mario Moncada (ST), 4:17.


Ballard 42, Van Meter/Earlham 33


106 - Riley Harger (VME) won by fall over Colliflower (B), 0:27. 113 - Colby Wiederholt (VME) won by fall over Thomas (B),l 1:05. 120 - Zane Dodson (VME) won by fall over Bangs (B), 3:02. 126 - Tyler Haynes (VME) won by fall over Long (B), 1:28. 132 - Chism (B) won by decision over Zach Pleggenkuhle (VME), 4-0. 138 - Miller (B) won by fall over Cade Costlow (VME), 1:08. 145 - Quinn Corcoran (VME) won by decision over Borg (B), 6-5. 152 - Noftsger (B) won by decision over Caleb Swalla (VME), 5-1. 160 - Battani (B) won by fall over Bryce Cole (VME), 2:48. 170 - Gerald Gute (B) won by fall over Caleb Button (VME), 5:23. 182 - Lee (B) won by fall over Sam Miller (VME), 3:59. 195 - Noah Hale (VME) won by fall over Hofbauer (BALL), 1:06. 220 - DeTar (B) won by fall over Tyler Erdman (VME), 0:52. 285 - Anderson (B) won by fall over Derrin Sesker (VME), 1:17.