Hawks see state as an opportunity to bring home four medals
JEWELL — South Hamilton’s four state qualifying wrestlers — Keyton Remsburg (113 pounds), second-ranked Lane Swenson (170), Brent Greenfield (182) and fourth-ranked Trevor Thompson (195) — were either kneeling on the mat or completely sprawled out, and all were drenched in sweat as practice wound down Monday afternoon.
They were tired, but they were listening. Head coach Dan Brodie’s voice boomed throughout the room, as he explained all of the hard work was for one reason — state medals.
Brodie thinks his program can bring four home from the state tournament this week. And he’s got his grapplers believing it too.
South Hamilton’s quartet will start their hunt for the podium Thursday morning when the Class 1A first round kicks off the tournament at 9 a.m. inside Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. The goal is quite simple too: win two matches before you lose two.
“We’re going to have a fun time down there, and having a fun time is going to make us wrestle better,” Thompson, who like Swenson is a returning state qualifier, said. “It’s really cool.”
Swenson (38-2) returns in an attempt to win a second state medal at 170. He was seventh a season ago and has spent the entire season ranked in the top three.
Swenson hit a speed bump at districts when he fell in the finals, but he thinks he can use that to his advantage as he embarks on the last leg of his wrestling journey.
“There was a little pressure because I was worried about what seed I would get, but that’s off my back now,” Swenson who is the No. 6 seed, said. “I think I’m in a good spot for a good run and hopefully I can get it done.”
Swenson will face 10th-ranked and first-time qualifier Carson Hartz (36-7) of Waterloo Columbus in the first round. Hartz lost at sectionals and districts to top-ranked and top-seeded Cade Tenold of Don Bosco, and both he and Swenson fell to Kaden Jacobsen of Central Springs.
Thompson (29-4) will face one of the more intriguing first-round match-ups against second-ranked Matthew Francis (38-1) of West Hancock. How did that come about? Somehow, Thompson slipped all the way to the No. 13 seed despite a strong season, and it’s given him added motivation.
“It kind of puts a fire under my butt,” Thompson said. “I know that I’m one of the best wrestlers in the state and my mentality is I’m going to beat whoever I face on the mat.”
Francis is also a returning state qualifier. His lone loss this season came against top-ranked and No. 1 seed Tristan Mulder of Western Christian, 7-3, at districts.
Remsburg (23-13) and Greenfield (37-7) are the Hawks’ wildcards this week. Both battled under the radar throughout the season, but both have turned heads.
Greenfield, the team leader in pins, qualified for state by hitting a headlock throw and decking fifth-ranked Drew Fox of Riceville in the wrestleback round at districts. With his length and aggressive tendencies, he’s a threat against anyone he faces.
“I’m ridiculously excited,” Greenfield said. “It was a great weekend and my family has been talking about it a lot. My dad has replayed the video (of the win over Fox) non-stop, so we’re all still pretty excited about it.”
Greenfield, seeded eighth, will tangle with Collins-Maxwell freshman Brody Sampson (33-8) in the first round. The two met back on Dec. 17, a bout Greenfield trailed until he hit a switch and pinned Sampson. Being behind is the norm, Greenfield says.
“In 95 percent of my matches, I’m down first,” he said. “Both matches I won on Saturday I was down, so I’ve just got to keep telling myself that I’m in the match and give myself chances.”
Like Thompson, Remsburg will tie up with a proven commodity in his opener. The freshman drew fourth-ranked Dawson Schmit (28-3) of Wapsie Valley in the first round. Schmit, seeded third, placed fourth at 106 in 2020 and his three losses are all to top-three ranked individuals.
But Remsburg isn’t concerned with his opponent’s accolades. Well, not anymore. He admits that he began the season scouring for information on his opponents, but over the past month he’s focused on himself and it’s paid off.
“At the beginning of the year, this wasn’t even a thought,” Remsburg said of making it to state. “But now I’m just taking it one match at a time and focusing on myself, and it’s working for me. I just go out there with intensity.”
Thursday’s first-round winners will return to the mats for the quarterfinals on Friday. First-round losers will have to wrestle a second time on Thursday where the winners will advance and the losers will be eliminated.
What: Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament.
Where: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines.
9 a.m. — Class 1A first round and consolation first round.
1:30 p.m. — Class 3A first round and consolation first round.
6 p.m. — Class 2A first round and consolation first round.
9 a.m. — Class 1A and 3A quarterfinals and consolation second round.
2:30 p.m. — Class 2A quarterfinals, 1A semifinals, 2A consolation second round and 1A consolation third round.
7:30 p.m. — Class 2A and 3A semifinals and consolation third round.
10 a.m. — All classes consolation semifinals and finals.
6 p.m. — All classes finals.
S. Hamilton First Round Matches
(Ranked wrestlers noted)
113 — Keyton Remsburg (23-13), fr vs. No. 4 Dawson Schmit (28-3), soph, Wapsie Valley.
170 — No. 2 Lane Swenson (38-2), sr vs. No. 10 Carson Hartz (36-7), soph, Waterloo Columbus.
182 — Brent Greenfield (37-7), jr vs. Brody Sampson (33-8), fr, Collins-Maxwell.
195 — No. 4 Trevor Thompson (29-4), sr vs. No. 2 Matthew Francis (38-1), jr, West Hancock.