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Day 2 State Wrestling Thoughts (so far)

February 21, 2014 - Troy Banning
JD Rader pre-semifinals

JD – his mom and dad named him James Dean, so I’m going to call him James Dean – Rader knows he’s in a unique position entering tonight’s Class 1A 132-pound semifinals against Goliath himself – Lisbon sophomore Carter Happel.

Nobody outside of the South Hamilton family gives Rader a chance. He knows it. But does he care? Nope.

“I’ve been thinking about winning a state title since I was young and I’ve worked hard all season, so why not me?” Rader said when asked about the prospects of beating Happel. “I’d rather be favored, but I don’t mind being the underdog.”

If championships were won on paper or in Internet chat rooms, No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Happel – last year’s 1A gold medalist at 120 pounds -- would already have the four state titles everyone seems to think he’s destined for. And maybe he is on that path, but Rader (39-0) is unbeaten too.

Let’s put it this way ... crazier things have happened at the state tournament.

T-minus 2 hours and change

The Class 1A semifinals are scheduled to start at 9:35 p.m. tonight. Expect James Dean and Happel to shake hands and go to battle around 9:50 (give or take a few minutes).

Dylan Fielder’s double leg

I’ve always marveled at the fact that Dylan Fielder is able to hit his double-leg takedown on pretty much every opponent he faces.

Those opponents know it’s coming. Their coaches obviously know it too since they all scream “WATCH FOR THE DOUBLE!” from the corner.

But sooner or later Fielder fires in, elevates and plants those opponents on the mat.

“I’ve hit that move thousands of times and it’s good to know I can hit that shot on anyone even if they know it’s coming,” Fielder, Webster City’s fourth-ranked 195-pounder, said after scoring on two doubles in a 7-2 consolation win over No. 7 Seth Maitlin of Creston/Orient-Macksburg. “If I see an opening I’m going to take it.”

Bet the house that a couple more opposing coaches will be barking about protecting against the double again tomorrow. It won’t stop Fielder though.

Ozzie being Ozzie

Webster City No. 8-ranked 160-pounder Alex Oswald isn’t flashy. He doesn’t pin many opponents, nor does he run up the score.

He wins though.

Oswald breezed through this morning’s quarterfinals with an efficient 7-2 decision over J.J. Clark of Clarinda. Oswald got his three takedowns and never let Clark sniff a point on anything but an escape.

“It was everything I envisioned going into that match,” Oswald said. “I dominated with my offense and I dictated how he was going to wrestle and that was the game plan the whole time.”

Oswald’s run on the front side of the bracket was derailed by top-ranked Drew Foster of Mediapolis in the semifinals. Foster was long and strong – a lethal combination that the WCHS senior simply didn’t have an answer for.

But Oswald’s got nothing to be ashamed about. He’s still got a chance to place as high as third, as does Fielder when the consolation semifinals and finals take place tomorrow morning. The worst both can finish is sixth.

Upsets galore

If the Internet along press row here at Wells Fargo Arena worked at all – seriously, research that would take 5 minutes in the office takes more than an hour here because of how slow the Internet crawls – I would go about the task of figuring up just how many upsets have occurred today.

I’ll just say there have been a lot and leave it at that.

But were they really upsets? Well, according to the rankings they were and that brings me to the point of this little section – rankings mean nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada.

Rankings are nothing more than an educated guess; something we media types like because they give us something to talk about.

So, kids, next year when wrestling season starts, don’t get caught up in the hype. Anything can happen in 6 minutes ... something we’ve seen over and over during the last two days.

I’m out.


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