OGDEN - Josh Lutter carried the same motivations with him to the mat as the other 78 wrestlers that slipped into singlets at Saturday's Class 1A sectional tournament inside the Ogden High School gymnasium.
The top of the podium, a cardboard bracket, a shiny gold medal and, most importantly, an invitation to districts - those were all that mattered in the eyes of the grapplers.
But Lutter brought extra incentive with him onto the mat - the image of his dad, Dale.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
South Hamilton heavyweight Josh Lutter (top) slaps a cradle on Prairie Valley’s Justin Ure to get the fall during the semifinals at Saturday’s Class 1A sectional in Ogden. Lutter went on to win gold.
"My dad has been big into wrestling and he had surgery on Monday, so I just wanted to win it for him to let him know that I'm behind him in every way," Lutter, South Hamilton's junior heavyweight, said after wrapping up the sectional championship, which just happened to be the first tournament title of his short, but promising career. "It was pretty major surgery on his lung, but there were no complications, so this was for him."
With his dad in his corner, figuratively speaking, Lutter (23-13) pinned his way through the bracket. And to think, back in November he was a rookie who just hoped to tread water without sinking.
"(Wrestling) is something I definitely enjoy and I wish I would have gone out earlier," Lutter, who competed as a seventh grader before taking three years off, said. "I didn't know what to expect this year. I just knew I had to put in the work."
1. West Marshall (8) 244; 2. Fort Dodge St. Edmond (6) 202; 3. Ogden (7) 181; 4. Prairie Valley (5) 174; 5. South Hamilton (2) 136; 6. CMB (0) 91; 7. Southeast Webster-Grand (0) 19.
106 - Kolby Munson (OG) pinned Ryan Szalat (SE), 5:36; 113 - Kaden McClintock (SE) pinned Cole Needham (WM), 1:24; 120 - Kyler Kiner (OG) dec. JD Rader (SH), 1-0; 126 - Nick Johnson (SE) pinned Harry Haglund (OG), 0:39; 132 - Logan Klingson (PV) dec. Austin McCloud (OG), 6-4; 138 - Kyle Blocker (WM) pinned Brandon Ure (PV), 3:26; 145 - Teddie Harvey (SE) pinned Austin Lentz (OG), 2:52; 152 - Tanner Arnold (WM) pinned Taylor Clough (PV), 2:47; 160 - Dale Hilleman (WM) pinned Brady Wheelock (OG), 0:59; 170 - Devin Chesler (WM) pinned Henry Haglund (OG), 3:05; 182 - Dillon Nelson (SE) dec. Brandon Overman (WM), 3-1; 195 - Matt Streit (PV) dec. Christopher Sjoblom (WM), 8-2; 220 - Vinnie Harvey (SE) pinned Grant Bockoven (PV), 1:33; 285 - Josh Lutter (SH) pinned James Long (WM), 2:00.
106 - Szalat (SE) pinned Spencer Johnson (PV), 5:50; 126 - Haglund (OG) pinned Jake Goecke (WM), 3:20; 132 - McCloud (OG) dec. Jordan Toillion (SH), 2-1; 138 - Ure (PV) major dec. Austin Roys (SH), 10-2; 152 - Clough (PV) major dec. Ian Soder (OG), 12-4; 195 - Sjoblom (WM) pinned Logan Koopman (SH), 3:16.
Lutter and sixth-ranked 120-pounder JD Rader will both wrestle in front of their home crowd in Jewell at Saturday's district meet. Rader (32-4) finished second after dropping a nail-biting, albeit low scoring 1-0 decision to top-ranked Kyler Kiner of Ogden in the gold-medal round.
South Hamilton placed fifth in the team hierarchy with 136 points. Fifth-ranked West Marshall pushed a meet-best eight individuals through to districts and won the team crown with 244 points. Fort Dodge St. Edmond (2021?2) was second with six qualifiers, and Ogden (181) sent seven men on and took third.
The Hawks had opportunities to advance several more individuals, but Jordan Toillion (132), Austin Roys (138) and Logan Koopman (195) all dropped wrestle back matches. Still, it didn't deter from what head coach Dan Brodie felt was a peak performance.
"This was by far our best tournament," he said. "All of our guys got after it and busted their butts, so it was a pretty cool day."
Lutter, the top seed, pancaked Justin Ure of Prairie Valley in the semifinals in 34 seconds after sinking in a cradle. James Long of West Marshall threw a scare into Lutter in the final; Lutter was on his back briefly before rolling through and planting Long for good in 2:00.
"Josh went out and took care of business," Brodie said. "It's going to be nice for him to wrestle at home one more time."
Rader had no issues disposing of Keaton Jondle of Prairie Valley by fall and Colten Lastine of St. Edmond by major decision in the preliminary rounds.
Rader and Kiner - who met once last year in a bout Kiner won, 5-1 - spent two minutes feeling each other out. Kiner rode Rader the entire second period and scored the only point of the match on an escape with 1:13 left in the third period.
Rader went on the attack during the final minute. He shot in on a single and had Kiner's leg in the air with less than 20 seconds left, but action was stopped near the boundary line before Rader could finish the potential winning takedown.
"I don't know if I stepped out (of bounds) at the beginning, but when they blew the whistle I thought I was definitely in," Rader said. "It was a tough call, but that's the way it goes sometimes."
The setback didn't seem to faze Rader one bit; just 20 minutes after the match he was already looking to the future.
"It's disappointing for sure, but I'm not too worried about it because I'm more focused on two weeks down the road," he said. "Just as long as I move on I'm good because I know I'm going to get another shot at (Kiner) in a week."
Saturday's district meet from South Hamilton High School will get underway at noon. The top two place winners at each weight will advance to the state tournament in Des Moines.