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North Mahaska wrestlers Paul DeJong and Trace Goemaat will begin their quest for a state wrestling title this Thursday at 9 a.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. For DeJong, it will be his second trip to state. Goemaat will make his first appearance as part of the state’s top 16 at 285.

DeJong, a sophomore wrestling at 120 pounds, opens the day against No. 4 ranked Jace Rose (33-1) a junior from Riverside. DeJong has posted a 26-12 season mark and comes into state as the district runnerup. Rose was the District 7 winner. DeJong wrestled at 106 in 2020 but did not win a match as a freshman. He will look to change his fortunate on the state mat Thursday.

DeJong’s opponent finished fourth at the state meet a year ago. The winner of the match will face the winner of the No. 6 Cade Cook (32-6) of North Linn and Ethan Gast (38-5) a junior from Durant. The loser of the matches will meet in the first round of consolations.

Goemaat, also a sophomore, faces off with No. 6 Mack Ortner of Don Bosco. The two sophomores will be hoping to advance to play the winner of the Aiden McFadden (23-17), a freshman from Baxter and the No. 2 ranked wrestler Dana Johnson (34-2), a senior from Pocahontas Area. He placed fourth in 2020.

Victory on Thursday will put the wrestlers into action again on Friday with the championships to be held Saturday.