Chase Luensman is third at State; all reach quarterfinals

Chase Luensman of Monticello (top) works for back points in a consolation match against Isaiah Spencer of Spencer Feb. 15 at the State Wrestling Tournament in Des Moines. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Chase Luensman gets his arm raised in victory after one of the five wins that led him to a third place finish at State.

Kain Luensman of Monticello (left) works to keep control of his state quarterfinal opponent, Mason Cleveland of New Hampton/Turkey Valley.

Lake Stahlberg of the Panthers (top) tries to keep Clear Lake’s Kade Hambly in bounds in Friday’s state quarterfinals.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Monticello earned a presence on the State Wrestling Tournament awards podium for the third straight year, as senior Chase Luensman secured a third place finish at 145 pounds during the Feb. 14-16 event, held at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

     The Panthers’ other two entries, Kain Luensman at 126 and Lake Stahlberg at 220, scored dominant first round victories before losing both in the quarterfinal round and in the consolation round.

     Chase Luensman wound up wrestling six matches, winning five of them. He opened with a 19-2 technical fall victory over Roberto Cardenas of Sioux Center.

     That placed him in a quarterfinal match against Will Esmoil of West Liberty. Esmoil had handed Chase his only loss of the season, a 7-5 defeat in the River Valley Conference Tournament finals in January.

     “We knew that match was going to happen all year,” Chase said of meeting Esmoil. “I arguably wrestled one of my best matches against him, but sadly I didn’t get it done. I did everything I could.”

     Coach Luensman said: “We thought Chase had the initial takedown of the match, and there was a missed locked hands call as well. It was a tough match, and in the end, we fell short.”

     Chase handled the loss in the best way possible: winning four straight matches to end up with the highest state tournament finish of his storied career, third.

     “I think one of the most important things you can do is show you’re able to bounce back after a loss, and I think I displayed that very well (last) weekend,” the senior said. “That one match didn’t define me as a wrestler, or as a person, or as a student.”

     Chase won his first consolation match 7-2 over Isaiah Spencer, of Spencer, Friday afternoon. That win clinched a third straight trip to the awards podium.

     On Friday evening, Chase pinned Max Babcock of New Hampton/Turkey Valley in 4:56, clinching at least a top-six finish.

     He won twice more on Saturday, an 8-1 decision over Colby Tool of PCM, Monroe to reach the third place match. Chase won that one as well, 3-2 over Jack West of Winterset.

     In that match, Chase scored a takedown just 15 seconds into it, and led 3-1 after two periods. He allowed an intentional escape with 1:22 left to make it 3-2, and neither wrestler was able to take down the other one the rest of the way.

     “Chase did a great job grinding through the backside of the tournament,” the coach said. “Going 5-1 in the state tournament and placing third is a huge accomplishment.”

     Chase finished the season 44-2, as a four-time state qualifier and three-time medalist, and is Monticello’s all-time career wins leader.

     “I’m very proud of Chase and everything he has accomplished on and off the mat,” coach Luensman said. “As his uncle and coach it has been an honor to watch him grow and strive in this tough sport. Chase earned everything he achieved in this sport, and that makes it a really special journey.”

     “Chase’s goal was to be a state champion, but I know he is still proud of his accomplishment.”

     Kain Luensman dominated his first opponent, Trestin Sales of Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, pinning him in 1 minute, 12 seconds in the first round on Thursday evening.

     In the semifinals, he faced Mason Cleveland of New Hampton/Turkey Valley, and lost a 6-5 decision. In the third period, leading 5-4, Kain was penalized a point for stalling, and then Cleveland was able to take a 6-5 lead with an escape with 45 seconds left. Kain was unable to secure a takedown, and lost by a point.

     “We had some controversial calls that didn’t go our way,” coach Luensman said, “but in the end we need to stay offensive and keep the match in our hands.”

     In the consolation round, Kain had a rough landing just 18 seconds into his match and suffered a broken leg. He attempted to continue but could not, and lost by injury default.

     “He was on a single leg and went to swipe his opponent’s foot, and came down in a weird position landing on his leg,” the coach said. “This was a tough deal due to the high emotions that go with the sport of wrestling, not reaching his goals, and especially with it happening at the state tournament. I had no doubt that Kain was going to make a good run in the (consolation rounds).”

     Kain Luensman finished 40-2.

     Lake Stahlberg had a similar path, scoring a quick pin, just 25 seconds into his quarterfinal match against Joseph Arkfeld of Harlan. In the quarterfinals against Kade Hambly of Clear Lake, Stahlberg was tied 2-2 before Hambly took him down with 10 seconds left in the second period. An escape and takedown by Hambly in the third period, ended Stahlberg’s 7-2 loss.

     Stahlberg then faced Jarrett Meyer of Central Lyon/George-Little Rock, and lost a tough 3-2 decision. A takedown by Meyer late in the first period, and an escape to start the third, made the difference.

     “Lake wrestled tough in all of his matches,” coach Luensman said. “We had some style matchups that didn’t go his way, which made it tough to get his offense going.”

     Stahlberg had a 39-5 record.

     “Lake had a great career at Monticello. He is a conference champion, two-time state qualifier, one-time medalist and finished with over 100 wins. He has bounced back from many different injuries to keep getting stronger and better each year. His leadership and presence will be missed next season.”


Feb. 14-16

State Class 2A


(at Wells Fargo Arena,

Des Moines)


     126 – Kain Luensman pinned Trestin Sales, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, 1:12; lost to Mason Cleveland, New Hampton/Turkey Valley, 6-5; lost to Averee Abben, Osage, injury default.

     145 – Chase Luensman (third place) won by tech. fall over Roberto Cardenas, Sioux Center, 19-2, 6:00; lost to Will Esmoil, West Liberty, 4-3; dec. Isaiah Spencer, Spencer, 7-2; pinned Max Babcock, New Hampton/Turkey Valley, 4:56; dec. Colby Tool, PCM, Monroe, 8-1; dec. Jack West, Winterset, 3-2.

     220 – Lake Stahlberg pinned Joseph Arkfeld, Harlan, 0:25; lost to Kade Hambly, Clear Lake, 7-2; lost to Jarrett Meyer, Central Lyon/George-Little Rock, 3-2.




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