HIS SWAGGER BACK, SWENSON ROLLS TO A HOIC TITLE
Hawks’ 170-pounder avenges loss in finals; Thompson dealt championship-round setback
JEWELL — It was just a year ago when Lane Swenson didn’t know if his body was ever going to cooperate. Linger elbow injuries crippled his confidence, crushed his aggression and, quite frankly, took the joy out of wrestling.
“I was always questioning if I could go full-bore on my arm,” Swenson, a South Hamilton junior who went 37-31 as a freshman and sophomore while he dealt with the various ailments, said. “I was afraid I would always have to take it easy.”
But that’s all a part of his past. Now he’s healthy, both physically and mentally. That spark of intensity has returned to his eyes too, and it shows when he steps onto the mat.
Another chapter was added to Swenson’s personal comeback story Friday night, as he became the first South Hamilton grappler since 2017 to win a Heart of Iowa Conference title. In front of the home crowd, Swenson owned Gilbert’s Aiden Carr in the 170-pound championship bout and led 7-2 midway through the third period when Carr was forced to default due to a leg injury sustained while fighting off a shot near the edge of the mat.
It didn’t matter to Swenson (27-2) or Hawks’ head coach Dan Brodie that the win came officially by a medical forfeit. That match was Swenson’s, whether it went six or 60 minutes.
“Lane dominated that match and he really stuck to his game plan,” Brodie said. “Moving forward, he knows that when he sticks to his guns, he’s going to be really successful.”
Swenson was able to avenge a 7-4 loss to Carr just three days earlier and he did it by taking charge early. He hit a single-leg takedown midway through the first period and sunk in a half nelson that led to a two-point turn and 4-0 lead. A quick escape and another takedown in the second upped his cushion to 7-0.
“Going into the match I knew I needed to be smarter with my moves and work my offense,” Swenson said. “This is a big deal and it helps my confidence moving forward.”
Swenson reached the finals by decking North Polk’s Cale Engebretson in 1:30 in the semifinals.
Trevor Thompson (195) also reached the finals for South Hamilton, but had to settle for the silver medal following a 4-0 loss to 10th-ranked (Class 2A) Jacob Steenhoek of Gilbert. Steenhoek broke a scoreless tie with a second-period escape and then connected for a takedown later in the stanza. He then rode Thompson out in the third and added a stall point.
It was Steenhoek’s second win over Thompson (26-5) this season.
“That was a great match for Trevor,” Brodie said. “Steenhoek is very solid on top and this going to teach Trevor what he needs to work on.”
Thompson got to the leg of Steenhoek in the first period and was on the cusp of scoring the initial points, but Steenhoek was able to break free and avoid the takedown.
“It was tough not to see him land that takedown,” Brodie said. “If you get that takedown, it gets everything rolling in your favor.”
Thompson breezed into the gold-medal round with a 10-0 major decision over Roland-Story’s Jimmy Philipsen.
Gilbert crowned four champions and scored 238 points to secure the team title by a comfortable margin over runner-up North Polk (209). South Hamilton settled for sixth with 99 points and eight place winners.
North Polk and PCM both had three champions and the Mustangs’ Payton Drake (138) became a three-time league gold medalist. Greene County crowned two champions, and Roland-Story had one.
Brent Greenfield (160) and Colton Willis (220) both finished fourth for the Hawks. Jose Galdeano (132), Sheldon Tapper (152) and Elijah Balderas (182) were all fifth. Stellen Willis (285) took sixth.
“You’re going to drop some matches every tournament, but I thought we competed well,” Brodie said. “Lane being a conference champ is fantastic. Trevor being a finalist is awesome. And to see the Tapper’s and Balderas’s of the world reach the podium … it was just a really good day.”
Balderas and Colton Willis both won two matches. Balderas pinned PCM’s Tristan Giles twice, while Willis took out PCM’s Donovan Nickelson and North Polk’s Benjamin Ewing by fall.
Friday at Jewell
1. Gilbert 238; 2. North Polk 209; 3. PCM 150; 4. Greene County 148 1/2; 5. Nevada 113; 6. South Hamilton 99; 7. Roland-Story 85; 8. Saydel 67 1/2.
106 — McKinley Robbins (GC) pinned Drew Robinson (NEV), 3:36. 113 — Joe Hovick (R-S) maj. dec. Brenner Gallagher (GC), 15-5. 120 — Isaac Larson (NP) pinned Kekoa McKinney (GIL), 5:24. 126 — Cael Ihle (GIL) dec. Ryan Davidson (NP), 6-1. 132 — Landon Fenton (PCM) pinned Easton White (NP), 1:52. 138 — Payton Drake (PCM) dec. Brady Stauffer (GC), 5-2. 145 — Nicholas Bockenstedt (NP) maj. dec. Austin Pyles (SAY), 12-3. 152 — Colby Tool (PCM) dec. Logan Engebretson (NP), 8-7. 160 — Carson Johnson (GIL) dec. Parker Frey (NP), 6-0. 170 — Lane Swenson (SH) inj. def. Aiden Carr (GIL). 182 — Dylan Meiners (NP) pinned Joe Larimore (GIL), 2:44. 195 — Jacob Steenhoek (GIL) dec. Trevor Thompson (SH), 4-0. 220 — Sawyer Schlitz (GC) pinned Caden Jones (NEV), 2:53. 285 — Jacob Torresi (GIL) pinned Camdan Vincent (NEV), 1:03.
South Hamilton Results
126 — Alan Gandara 0-2, DNP. 132 — Jose Galdeano 0-2, 5th. 138 — Kaelen Miller 0-2, DNP. 145 — Connor Caudle 0-2, DNP. 152 — Sheldon Tapper 1-2, 5th. 160 — Brent Greenfield 1-2, 4th. 170 — Lane Swenson 2-0, 1st. 182 — Elijah Balderas 2-2, 5th. 195 — Trevor Thompson 1-1, 2nd. 220 — Colton Willis 2-2, 4th. 285 — Stellen Willis 1-3, 6th.