DES MOINES - It looked bleak for Tanner Hild, it really did. And as the seconds ticked down on his prep wrestling career - 8 ... 7 ... 6 ... 5 ... - he realized it was time to go for broke.
He had no idea that he was going to hit the jackpot.
Facing elimination in the Class 2A consolation first round and staring into the eyes of one of the state's elite grapplers, Hild hit a lateral drop and scored four points in the waning seconds to stun top-ranked Drew Buster of Mediapolis, 6-4, at 152 pounds during yesterday's opening day of the Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
A stunned Tanner Hild celebrates his 6-4 upset win over No. 1-ranked Drew Buster of Mediapolis in the 152-pound consolation round.
"This never happens to us," a still shocked Hild said moments after the upset. "There are a lot of emotions right now. I get one more day, that's the most important thing."
The senior was one of three Webster City grapplers to advance to today's next stage of the competition. Senior eighth-ranked 160-pounder Alex Oswald advanced on the front side of the bracket, while No. 4 195-pounder Dylan Fielder, also a senior, stayed in medal contention with a consolation-round win.
Junior Freddie Seeley (120) and senior Jacob Powers (145) saw their seasons end after a pair of losses.
Hild (32-9) admits he spent 5 minutes, 50 seconds getting beat up by Buster (48-6), but those last 10 seconds made the punishment worth it. Rather than protect his 4-2 lead, Buster went on the attack and fed right into Hild's throw. The referee actually slapped the mat, signaling a fall, but it was determined the fall came after time expired. Still, the takedown and two-point near-fall were all Hild needed.
"I kept looking over at the coaches and they just kept telling me to keep battling, keep battling," Hild said. "When it comes down to the last few seconds you've got to do something. It was there, so I went for it."
WCHS head coach Ted Larson wasn't actually in Hild's corner during the match, but he immediately joined the celebration on the mat afterwards.
"We kept wrestling until the end and, doggone it, that's what you've got to do," Larson said. "Tanner hit that move perfectly."
It was poetic justice after Hild's late-match throw didn't pay off in a 7-3 first-round lost to 10th-ranked Jeremy Scheuermann (42-5) of Greene County. Trailing 5-3, Hild hit a headlock throw with - are you seeing a pattern here? - under 10 seconds left, but Scheuermann was able to roll through to secure the win.
Hild will face the loser of the quarterfinal bout between No. 2 Brody Beck (50-1) of Grinnell and No. 4 Danny Bush (43-3) of Davenport Assumption in today's consolation second round. Hild lost to Bush by major decision, 10-0, in Wednesday's state duals.
Fielder (41-4) regrouped mentally and physically after a first-round loss by fall in the first period to top-ranked Steven Holloway (36-1) of Mediapolis. He wasted no time in racking up a pair of takedowns before decking Chase Kraklio (33-13) of Central Clinton in 1:12.
"Obviously I wanted to win a state championship, but now the goal is to get third," Fielder said. "That's the next best thing right now."
Holloway hit a double-leg shot on Fielder and planted the WCHS four-time state qualifier hard on his back; it only added to Fielder's lingering rib ailment.
"I'm sore, but I'm not going to give up just because of that," Fielder said. "The pain actually kept my mind off that loss (before the consolation round)."
Like Hild, Fielder needs one more win to clinch a third straight state medal. He'll tackle either sixth-ranked Cale Stork (46-3) of Harlan or Darin Greenfield (21-6) of Sheldon/South O'Brien in the next round this morning.
Powers (42-9) was unable to complete a late-match takedown attempt near the edge of the mat in a 6-5 loss to Grinnell's Garret Jay (39-7) in the first round. He appeared to reverse fifth-ranked Steven Garcia (48-8) of Sergeant Bluff-Luton to his back in the consolation round, but time ran out on him there, too, in the second period. Garcia went on to pick up a 12-5 win.
"This is always tough because you've got kids that are done now, not only for this year but for their career," Larson said. "Jake, that's tough to see him go through the emotion that he's going through. But he's had four good years and a great senior year."
Seeley (33-24) fell to No. 7 Elliot Henderson (40-4) of West Liberty, 10-4, in the first round and then to No. 8 Mason Buster (40-13) of Mediapolis by fall in the consolation round.
"Freddie has been here now and now he can start working for next year," Larson said.
Today's quarterfinals and consolation second round will get underway at 9 a.m. The semifinals and consolation third round are set for 3:30 p.m.