Taven Rich and Abe Michel stood on the podium Saturday night to receive their state wrestling medals.
A Maquoketa High School senior, Rich upgraded his third-place finish last season to a second-place finish this year. Michel also improved from last year, going from no medal to fourth place.
Rich only had to wrestle four times at the state meet, going 3-1. All three of his wins came from pins; the quickest fall was 1:30. Rich’s only loss was a 4-2 decision in the championship match.
Rich said he had a few nerves leading into the championship match, but he said waiting more than three-and-a-half hours to wrestle was the worst.
Head coach Colton Feller and assistant Paul Koob said they were “more nervous that Rich was during that long wait” to get the championship started.
Rich ended his senior season with a 41-2 record, losing to Kaden Sutton of ADM in the championship match.
Michel, who finished his senior season 38-7, said he was “a little nervous” going into his first match Thursday. But once the match started, he just “wrestled the way I have all season.”
Feller said he thought Michel was “a little tight, but once he got wrestling he was fine.”
Michel thought the Class 2A 170-pound class might have been one of the toughest classes at state. “If we wrestled five times the medal stand would look different every time,” he said.
Michel’s dad, Matt Michel, echoed that sentiment, saying that “every wrestler in the 170-pound class are very good wrestlers.”
At first Abe Michel was a little disappointed on his finish, but he realized that fourth place was still good. A lot of wrestlers don’t even get to state, so fourth and second are “pretty awesome finishes for our wrestlers,” the coaches said.
Michel lost matches by a close score of 4-3. He wrestled six times in Des Moines, including three on Friday. Those were the most physically challenging, Michel said, because of the quality of the wrestlers he faced.
The WaMaC placed four wrestlers in the top seven at 170 pounds: Michel in fourth, Jax Flynn of Solon in first, Jared Voss of West Delaware in fifth, and Cole Davis of Independence in seventh.
170 — Abe Michel (Maquoketa) over Aiden Carr (Gilbert) (3-0); Blake Liebe (Sergeant Bluff-Luton) over Michel (4-3); Michel over Kale Rodgers (North Fayette Valley) (MD 9-1); Michel over Cole Davis (Independence) (11-4); Michel over Jared Voss (West Delware) (7-2); Caleb Swalla (Van Meter-EarlHam) over Michel (4-3).
285 — Taven Rich (Maquoketa) over Wyatt Scheidel (Crestwood-Cresco) (Fall 3:14); Rich over Jacob Torresi (Gilbert) (Fall 3:12); Rich over Cale Roller (Atlantic) (Fall 1:30); Kaden Sutton (ADM) over Rich (Dec 4-2).