DES MOINES - Chalk it up to his cool and calm demeanor.
Luke Shannon had never felt the quake in his knees that is usually associated with competing in the state wrestling tournament prior to yesterday afternoon, but if he was nervous he did a heck of a job of concealing his emotions.
The Webster City senior first-time state qualifier and fifth-ranked 170-pounder never strayed from his game plan, even when it appeared to not be working, and his steadfast nature paid off in the end as he hit a late takedown to prevail, 3-1, over Richard England of Centerville in a Class 2A first-round bout under the bright lights of Wells Fargo Arena.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City senior 170-pounder Luke Shannon has his arm raised in victory following his 3-1 decision over Richard England of Centerville in a Class 2A first-round match at the state tournament in Des Moines yesterday. Shannon, No. 5-ranked, will face No. 9 Keegan Davis of Perry in today’s quarterfinals at Wells Fargo Arena.
"Coach (Ted Larson) did a good job of keeping me relaxed and telling me I was used to big matches like this and it worked," Shannon, who prepared for his big day by busting up three opponents en route to three wins at the State Duals on the same mats on Wednesday, said following his victory. "I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, so I just went out there and wrestled my match."
Shannon won't be the only Webster City wrestler that will go in search today of the necessary one more victory to be assured of a top-8 medal. Senior No. 7-ranked 145-pounder Royce Nessa and sophomore No. 7-ranked 182-pounder Dylan Fielder survived on the backside of the bracket after suffering losses in their first-round matches yesterday.
Shannon (35-6) and England swapped escapes in the opening two periods and neither came close to notching a takedown during the initial 4 minutes.
The score remained deadlocked at 1 until there were just 14 seconds left, and that's when Shannon used his favorite move - the 2 on 1 tie - to set up a single-leg attack that resulted in the winning takedown. England attempted a switch in the final few seconds, but Shannon was able to stay behind England's hips to remain in control. England was flat on his back when the clock hit zero.
"It never crossed my mind that I was going to lose," Shannon said. "Even when it was tied 1-1, I felt like I was ahead."
Larson says his senior's never-changing approach was the difference.
"Luke is so consistent and he keeps good position, and that kept him in that match," Larson said. "That 2 on 1 is what Luke does to everybody."
Shannon will face ninth-ranked Keegan Davis (40-8) of Perry in today's quarterfinal round. Davis won a wild 15-13 decision over sixth-ranked Tanner Matthews of Sheldon-South O'Brien in the opening round.
It will be the first encounter between Shannon and Davis.
"I kind of know what (Davis) does, so I think I'll be prepared for it," Shannon said. "It should be a good match."
Nessa (38-4) rebounded from a 14-8 loss to No. 8 Dylan Bryce of Spirit Lake Park in the first round and stuck Solon's Jarrett Paulson in 3:59 in a consolation match.
Nessa and Paulson swapped reversals throughout the match, the last coming on a switch by Nessa that put Paulson on his back.
A switch worked against Nessa in his opening bout against the lanky Bryce, who hit a five-point move early in the third period to build a commanding lead. On top, Nessa attempted a tilt near the edge of the mat, but with his arms free, Bryce was able to turn the tide for a reversal with Nessa on his back.
"I need to come out prepared and I didn't in that first match," Nessa said. "It obviously didn't work out the way I wanted, but now I'm just going to try to do the best I can now."
Larson felt that Wednesday's State Duals may have worked against Nessa. Bryce was able to watch Nessa on the mat when the two teams met in the fifth-place dual, but the Spirit Lake Park senior stayed on the sidelines.
"That tilt is what's worked for Royce all year, but that might have been something they knew about us," Larson said. "But the important thing is he bounced back."
In addition to a medal, one more win would give Nessa a share of the school's single-season wins record. Two-time state runner-up and four-time top-three finisher Tyler Patten set the benchmark of 39 last season.
Fielder (30-8) bombarded Nevada's Sam Lodestein with a flurry of double-leg takedowns before finishing him off by fall in 4:23 in the consolation round. Fielder collected six near-fall points and led 12-1 at the time of the fall.
"I knew I had to go out there and get that win," Fielder said. "He was trying to toss me from a tie up and I didn't want to be there. So I went to my bread and butter (the double-leg)."
Fielder made one costly mistake - in an attempt to escape, he stood up with his head down - in his first-round loss to fourth-ranked Jacyn Goebel of West Delaware and it led to a cradle and fall early in the first period.
"We knew that was a tall order for Dylan," Larson said. "He made a mistake against a really good kid and you can't do that down here. But he bounced back and took care of business."
Nessa and Fielder will both wait until the quarterfinals to find out who they'll face in the consolation second round.
Nessa will face the loser of the match between Gabe Saemisch (38-17) of Perry and No. 2-ranked Cory Chapin (39-3) of Denver-Tripoli.
Fielder will tackle either Dalton Wheeler (31-10) of Louisa-Muscatine or sixth-ranked Ethan Lindquist (39-2) of Laurens-Marathon.