AMES — A little scare in the semifinals didn’t shake Ballard’s Skyler Noftsger at the Jack Mendenhall Invitational in Ames Saturday.
Noftsger, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A at 160 pounds by The Predicament, sat out Ballard’s final meets before Christmas with a leg injury suffered after he defeated then-No.1 Wes Cummings of Prairie City-Monroe on Dec. 8 at Ankeny. Noftsger returned to knock off Des Moines Lincoln’s Shawn Brown, who is rated No. 2 at 160 in 3A, by a 9-3 decision in his first match back last Thursday.
On Saturday, Noftsger rolled in his first two matches, whipping Indianola’s Sean Cunningham by technical fall, 15-0, and pinning Clarion-Goldfield-Dows’ Carter Dietz in one minute, 59 seconds. But in the semifinals against Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Colton LaGrange, Noftsger dinged his knee again and had to take an injury timeout.
“His knee hit the inside of my knee and it tilted a little bit,” Noftsger said. “It went a little bit through the brace and it was pretty painful.”
But it didn’t turn out to be serious. Noftsger fought through the rest of the match to finish off a competitive 5-3 win and advance to the finals against Iowa City High’s Brandon Lalla.
The close call with his knee and the fact that his conditioning still wasn’t in top form after the long layoff — Noftsger wasted little time putting away Lalla.
He scored a takedown in the opening seconds and added two nearfalls in the opening period and another takedown early in the second to build a 10-0 lead. Noftsger continued to control the match in the second period, then he coasted through the third, scoring a 12-1 major decision to earn his second individual championship at the Mendenhall Invite and remain perfect on the year at 18-0.
“I had to come out like that because you’ve got to be careful,” Noftsger said. “I might as well get up as much as I can when I’m not winded. Score the first 10, get up by the points I needed and the match was mine.”
Ballard ended up placing 12th out of 18 teams with 78.5 points. The Bombers had five other wrestlers place, but Noftsger was the only one to finish higher than fourth.
“I don’t think we had a very good break and it showed,” Ballard head wrestling coach Steve Mickelson said. “But all the things that happened are fixable. We’ve got to get back in the room and work on fundamentals.”
Gage Long took fourth at 132 with a 3-2 record and Alex Bangs also went 3-2 at 145, placing fifth for the Bombers. Reece Broer (120) and Jim Chism (170) both placed sixth and Mason Askelsen (182) took eighth, with each wrestler picking up two victories.
West Des Moines Valley, the No. 3 team in 3A, won the team championship with 181 points and Ankeny — rated eighth in 3A — took second with a score of 158.
Final team scores: 1. West Des Moines Valley 181 points, 2. Ankeny 158, 3. Clarion-Goldfield-Dows 155, 4. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 144, 5. Cedar Rapids Prairie 140.5, 6. Iowa City High 140, 7. Omaha Skutt Catholic (Neb.), 129, 8. Carroll 110, 9. Dowling Catholic 104, 10. Glenwood 100.5, 11. Indianola 95, 12. Ballard 78.5, 13. Perry 67, 14. Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove 46, 15. Pocahontas Area 40, 16. Ames 34, 17 Boone 33.5, 18. Nevada 7.
Individual results - Ballard
120 pounds - 6. Reese Broer (B), 2-3. 126 - Tim Lang (B), 2-3. 132 - 4. Gage Long (B), 3-2; 138 - Gavin Estabrooks (B), 0-2. 145 - 5. Alex Bangs (B), 3-2. 152 - Wyatt Borg (B), 0-2. 160 - 1. Skyler Noftsger (B), 4-0. 170 - 6. Jim Chism (B), 2-3. 182 - 8. Mason Askelsen (B), 2-3.
DES MOINES - Ballard split two duals against Roland-Story and Des Moines Lincoln in a double-dual meet at Des Moines Jan. 3.
Ballard whipped Roland-Story by a 53-20 score and suffered a 51-27 setback against Lincoln in moving its dual record to 11-10 on the season.
The Bombers picked up three pins in the victory over Roland-Story. Elijah Moore stuck the Norsemen’s Marcus Reitano in 57 seconds at 106 pounds, Tim Lang downed Colin Streit in 1:08 at 126 and Gavin Estabrooks took care of Caden Sporleder in 3:33 at 138.
Ballard benefited from six forfeits against the Norsemen. Skyler Noftsger (160), Nate Nessa (170), Mason Askelsen (182), Rylee Davidson (285), Reese Broer (120) and Gage Long (132) received the Bomber forfeits.
Ballard had one point deducted for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Bombers delivered four falls and one victory by decision in the loss to Lincoln.
Nessa stuck Lincoln’s Conner Julius in 3:16, Askelsen downed Colin Lahvic in 1:37, Chris Lee disposed of Nate Bell in 1:24 and Long pinned the Railsplitters’ Ben Alvarado in 2:53.
In the match of the evening Noftsger, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A by The Predicament, pulled off an impressive victory over Lincoln’s Shawn Brown, who is rated No. 2 in 3A. Noftsger prevailed by a 9-3 decision.
Des Moines Lincoln 51, Ballard 27
160 pounds - Skyler Noftsger (B) won by decision over Shawn Brown (DML), 9-3. 170 - Nate Nessa (B) won by fall over Conner Julius (DML), 3:16. 182 - Mason Askelsen (B) won by fall over Colin Lahvic (DML), 1:37. 195 - Ramiro Gomez-Buentello (DML) won by fall over Jack Chism (B), 4:43. 220 - Kyle Snowgren (DML) won by forfeit. 285 - Mamadee Tullay (DML) won by fall over Rylee Davidson (B), 0:30. 106 - Andres Torres (DML) over won by decision over Elijah Moore (B), 4-1. 113 - Chris Lee (B) won by fall over Nate Bell (DML), 1:24. 120 - Nathan Kahoe (DML) over Reese Broer (B), 0:23. 126 - Mason Albright (DML) won by fall over Tim Lang (B), 3:21. 132 - Gage Long (B) won by fall over Ben Alvarado (DML), 2:53. 138 - Leo Blawou (DML) over won by fall Gavin Estabrooks (B), 2:39. 145 - John Harris Jr. (DML) won by fall over Alex Bangs (B), 1:06. 152 - Mickey Griffith (DML) won by fall over Wyatt Borg (B), 0:46.
Ballard 53, Roland-Story 20*
152 - Eli Thorson (RS) won by major decision over Borg (B), 9-1. 160 - Noftsger (B) won by forfeit. 170 - Nessa (B) won by forfeit. 182 - Askelsen (B) won by forfeit. 195 - Jimmy Philipsen (RS) won by fall over Chism (B), 1:04. 220 - Double forfeit. 285 - Davidson (B) won by forfeit. 106 - Moore (B) won by fall over Marcus Reitano (RS), 0:57. 113 - Joe Hovick (RS) won by major decision over Lee (B), 10-2. 120 - Broer (B) won by forfeit. 126 - Lang (B) won by fall over Colin Streit (RS), 1:08. 132 - Long (B) won by forfeit. 138 - Estabrooks (B) won by fall over Caden Sporleder (RS), 3:33. 145 - Koby Hassebrock (RS) won by fall over Bangs (B), 2:41. *Ballard deducted one point for unsportsmanlike conduct.