Eagles place two on the medal stand at state wrestling

Gabe Rolon did well in his first state appearance, scoring two wins by fall and then a 12-8 decision for seventh place. He finishes at 37-19 for the year. Photo by Mug Shots by Jim Lester

The Eagle Grove wrestling team has been making a steady climb back towards the top in Class 1A at state after several past years of both team trophies and medals for a bunch of stellar individuals. The last time the Eagles had a wrestler on the medal stand was in 2011 with sixth place finisher Cody Harrison, and you have to go back even further to 2006 to find a year with two making it. After this year’s event at Wells Fargo Arena, two more names have been written in that history book under the heading of medalists. Since none of the three qualifiers are seniors, it may be just the start of their state success.

Joel Mendoza (220) placed fifth in his bracket for the highest finisher. He started out his journey to the stand with a fall in 4:11 over Gardner (Underwood). He lost in the quarters to Keehner (MFL-Mar Mac) by a close 9-8 decision, then started his run back through the consolation side with a 7-1 win over Steffans (Postville). He scored a fall in 1:48 over Recker (East Buchanan, Winthrop), but lost in the semifinals 6-2 to Schoenherr (Midland, Wyoming). He secured his final spot, and ended his appearance, with a win over Strough (Bedford-Lenox) by a 6-5 decision.

“Our team talks about making moments and learning to love the process of wrestling,” stated head coach Jake Groth. “Boy did we make some memories! Joel has been working at this since fifth grade. His tournament dreams fell short when he lost a nail-biter quarterfinals match to the MFL kid. He was disappointed and not happy with losing his shot at being the champ. However, he was glad to have made the podium and has already set ‘state champ’ as his goal right away for next year! This guy does a lot of extra work in the weight room and stays after practice to get a few more shot reps in.”

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