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Wrestlers from across the state of Iowa gathered with the notion of securing a spot in next weeks’ state wrestling tournament. Sophomore Ryan Groom secured his second district title and state berth along with teammates Joel DeJong, Angello Wittenburg and Austin McMahan. It is also the second year in a row that four matmen from North Mahaska made the trip.

DeJong at 126 pounds and Groom at 132 will go as the champion. McMahan lost his title bout but was able to claim second win a wrestleback. Wittenburg lost and worked his way through the wrestlebacks taking third then earning a shot at second which he secured.

Ryan Groom of North Mahaska works on English Valleys/Tri-County’s Jack Osborn in the opening round of the Class 1A District wrestling meet. The North Mahaska sophomore is making a return trip to state.

DeJong was the first to secure a berth. He had a bye to put him in the semifinals of the six-man bracket. He decisioned Korbin Camp of Van Buren 8-2 to reach finals against Carter Slager of Iowa City Regina. He scored a fall as the match began to earn his spot at the top of the podium.

Groom, sixth ranked in Class 1A, pinned Jack Osborn of English Valleys/Tri-County in 1 minute 25 seconds then pinned Baxter’s Koltin Hurd in 54 seconds. In the finals Groom took care of West Branch’s Logan Christoffel for the title.

Joel DeJong takes control of James Cherveny of Colfax-Mingo on his way to winning the 126-pound weight class and secure a spot in the state tournament.

Wittenburg opened his 157-pound day with a 10-5 decision over Pleasantville’s Silas Koenig. In the semifinals he faced eventual champion Cale Seydel and was pinned in 3:06 sending him into the consolation semifinals. Wittenburg pinned Baxter’s Skyler Stoll and made quick work of Regina’s Spencer Winders in 44 seconds. Wittenburg then faced Sigourney

Keota’s Jake Moore, who lost to Seydel in the finals. Wittenburg pinned him in 37 seconds to go to state as the runnerup.

Pleasantville’s Silas Koenig finds himself on the wrong side of North Mahaska’s Angello Wittenburg in their 157-pound match. Wittenburg made the semifinals then battled back to a second place finish and earn a ticket to the state tournament.

Austin McMahan scored a major decision in his opener at 190 over Allan Bregar of Colfax-Mingo, 8-0. He decisioned Sigourney-Keota’s Owen Menke 8-4 to reach the finals. Tate Frantz of West Branch scored the win and McMahan faced off with Elijah Westercamp of Van Buren County and won by fall in 5:21.

Three other NM wrestlers finished fourth in their respective weight classes. Charlie Goemaat at 120, Hunter Wernli, a state qualifier from 2023 at 144 and Max Reed at 175.

Austin McMahan of North Mahaska gives Sigourney-Keota’s Owen Menke a lift in their semifinal match. McMahan won then battled back for a runnerup finish at 190 pounds and punch his ticket to the state wrestling tournament.

North Mahaska finished third in the district team race with 124 points, West Branch dominated with 206 followed by host Pleasantville with 152. Baxter was a distant fourth with 105.

North Mahaska’s quartet will find out who their first round opponents will be on Sunday.