GILBERT - The Ballard wrestling team saw four wrestlers move on to districts and two reach the 100-win milestone for their careers at the Class 2A sectional meet in Gilbert Saturday.
Gage Long, Reese Broer, Mason Askelsen and Jack Chism all advanced to the district meet that will be held on their home turf in Huxley next Saturday. Long and Alex Bangs were the two Bombers to hit the 100-victory mark.
Long was the lone Bomber to win a sectional title. Ranked 10th at 132, Long pinned both of his foes after the first round.
Long stuck Perry’s Bryan Funez in 5:27 and North Polk’s Easton White in 3:49 to advance to districts with a 35-5 record.
“A lot of my matches are close in that first period, but that cross-country endurance just keeps me going,” Long said. “I just build off of them getting tired and I just keep going and going.”
Long’s victory over Funez was the 100th of his career.
“I came into that match a little more nervous - 100 wins on the line and the first match here at sectionals,” Long said. “It felt really good coming off that mat knowing that I’ve done what only a few wrestlers have done.”
Broer (126), Askelsen (182) and Chism (195) each came in second.
Broer pinned Woodward-Granger’s Tjaden Smeltzer in 56 seconds then upset 36-2 Christian Eslick of Roland-Story by a 10-5 decision to reach the finals, where he lost to fourth-ranked Cael Ihle by fall. Broer had to face off against North Polk’s Rylee Davidson in a wrestleback and he prevailed by a 4-0 score to hold on to second place and take a 28-15 record into districts.
After receiving a bye in the quarterfinals, Askelsen pinned Gilbert’s Joe Larimore in 1:46 during the semifinals. In the championship match he dropped a 12-10 battle to North Polk’s Dylan Meiners to put his record at 25-11 heading into districts.
“I thought he wrestled well until that last match,” Ballard head coach Steve Mickelson said. “I thought he went out maybe a little too hard and just did some things he normally doesn’t do.”
Chism opened with a bye then scored a fall over Roland-Story’s Jimmy Philipsen in 4:50 during the semifinals. Chism lost by fall to 10th-ranked Jacob Steenhoek of Gilbert in the finals, giving him a 27-16 record going into next Saturday.
“Jack is a worker,” Mickelson said. “He comes into work everyday, puts in his time and then some and just does anything you ask him to do without complaining.”
Bangs didn’t quite make it to districts after placing third at 145.
Bangs pinned Wooward-Granger’s Jayden Dorenkamp in 1:17 then lost by a 10-0 major decision to North Polk’s Nicholas Bockenstedt. That put him in the third-place match, where he defeated Gilbert’s Hank Johnson by technical fall, 17-0, to get his 100th victory in the final match of his career.
“Alex had a loaded bracket and wrestled his butt off,” Mickelson said. “I’m just excited that he was at least able to notch that (100-win) milestone for himself.”
Landon Broer (106), Luke Hartsook (113) and Gabe Christensen (160) each won a bronze medal as well for Ballard.
Landon scored a 14-2 major decision over Roland-Story’s Ben Sarver in the quarterfinals and he won a 7-6 battle over North Polk’s Brandon Freeman in the third-place match. He lost technical fall to Perry’s Riece Graham in the semifinals and by a 13-2 major decision to Woodward-Granger’s Peyton Nixon in a wrestleback.
Hartsook received a bye in the quarterfinals and lost by fall to Roland-Story’s Joe Hovick in the semifinals. Hartsook to pin Woodward-Granger’s Joel Harney in the third-place match in 2:44.
Christensen opened with a bye then suffered an 8-1 loss to North Polk’s Parker Frey in the semifinals. Christensen came back with an 11-5 victory over Woodward-Granger’s Jon Mckeever, but he didn’t get a wrestleback.
Connor Finch (152) and Brady Ehresman (220) each placed fourth with a 1-2 record for the Bombers. Finch pulled off a 4-2 victory over Roland-Story’s Jackson Sterle in the quarterfinals and Ehresman stuck the Norse’s Max Petzenhauser in 3:59 during the quarterfinals.
Ballard scored 168.5 points as a team to place third out of six schools. Gilbert won the sectional team title with 219 points and North Polk was second with 198.
The 2A district meet in Huxley takes place next Saturday at noon at Ballard High School.
Final team scores: 1. Gilbert 219 points, 2. North Polk 198, 3. Ballard 168.5, 4. Perry 156.5, 5. Woodward-Granger 155, 6. Roland-Story 101.
Individual results - Ballard, Gilbert and Roland-Story
106 pounds - 3. Landon Broer, 2-2. 113 - 3. Luke Hartsook, 1-1. 120 - 5. Jordan Thomas, 0-1. 126 - 2. Reese Broer, 3-1. 132 - 1. Gage Long, 2-0. 138 - 5. Thomsen Harrison, 0-1. 145 - 3. Alex Bangs, 2-1. 152 - 4. Connor Finch, 1-2. 160 - 3. Gabe Christensen, 1-1. 170 - 6. Jeremiah Wilkinson, 0-2. 182 - 2. Mason Askelsen, 1-1. 195 - 2 Jack Chism, 1-1. 220 - 4. Brady Ehresman (B), 1-2.