State wrestling has come to an end for all four North Mahaska wrestlers, Ryan Groom, Hunter Wernli, Wyatt Van Weelden and Trace Goemaat. The quartet lost in their consolation matches Thursday morning ending a shot at standing on the podium. For seniors Van Weelden and Goemaat, it is the end of their high school careers.
Groom won his first consolation 106-pound match first thing Thursday pinning Underwood’s Avery Vacek in 1 minute 46 seconds. Groom came out in control of the match and was able to turn the Underwood wrestler to earn back points and the pin. The victory moved Groom into the consolation third round.
He faced Atlee DeWitt of Alburnett and led much of the match until late when DeWitt was able to score. Groom’s attempts to take DeWitt down for back points and he lost another 1-point match, 8-7. He lost his opener on Wednesday 4-3. Groom ends the season with a record of 42-8.
Groom said he learned a lot at the state meet.
“Don’t wait, go for it early,” said Groom. “Don’t give up. Next year I’ll come back and do better.”
Wernli lost both his 132-pound matches at state. Riley Parkis of Kuemper Catholic scored a 10-3 decision over Wernli in his Thursday morning match. Wernli lost his opener to Holden Mathis with a 3:54 pin. Wernli posted a 35-18 mark on the season.
“You have to tell yourself not to give up,” said Wernli. “I just need to get stronger and tell myself I’m tired.”
Van Weelden (170) finished the tournament 1-2 as did Groom. Matthias Kohl of Lisbon scored a 6-0 decision over Van Weelden Thursday. Van Weelden had won his opening match over Callyn Bishop of Baxter 7-2 then was pinned in his second round match in 32 seconds by Maximus Magayna of Columbus Catholic. He finishes the season 39-10.
Van Weelden was aggravated about his first state experience despite the fact he won his opening match.
“In those losses it was like I was a half second late on everything,” said Van Weelden. “Making it to state is definitely a feeling you don’t get back. It’s special.”
There would be changes Van Weelden would make if he could do it over.
“I would probably prepare differently,” said Van Weelden. “I would change my diet in preparation for the state meet.”
Goemaat (285) wrestled twice on Thursday going 1-1. He opened his day with a pin of Nolan DeLong of Durant in 3:40. He moved to the next round and was beaten by Gage Jorgenson of Emmetsburg by a 5-0 decision.
Goemaat said he knew he was facing a slightly smaller opponent in DeLong and felt good going into the match.
“The kid is going to play football at Iowa next year,” said Goemaat. “I felt since he was a bit smaller if I could get him down, I could keep him down with my weight.”
Goemaat, who was making his third appearance at the state meet, was disappointed he was never able to make the podium.
“It’s been cool to make it here but frustrating that I couldn’t make it to the podium,” said Groom. “It’s good because not everyone makes it here, so for me to be here three times is special. This sport has made me a better person and will make be a better man.”
Although deep disappointment from the team, they accomplished a lot. They tied the school record for the number of state qualifiers and Van Weelden earned his 100th career win in January. While Van Weelden and Goemaat have seen their sports career finish, their leadership has been invaluable to the team.
Coach Ryan Groom said he will evaluate how his team prepared and how he coached to prepare for next season.
“Obviously we are disappointed,” said Groom “They have worked really hard for it, but we are missing something extra that keeps us from winning those close matches.
I’ve got to find what that extra is and be a better coach in getting these guys ready.
“We just weren’t ready situationally and that comes down to coaching. I want this to set in and burn to drive and motivate us for next year.”