Taking the stand: Luensman reaches state tournament podium with fifth place finish

Chase Luensman of Monticello (top) puts his weight on Wyatt Dale of Central Decatur in a first round match at the State Wrestling Tournament Thursday, Feb. 16 at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Chase Luensman (right) goes head-to-head with Wyatt Dale at State. Luensman eventually went 3-2 in the tournament and finished fifth in Class 2A at 113 pounds.

Chase Luensman has Wyatt Dale in trouble in the first round match.

Chase Luensman of Monticello (second from right) stands on the podium Feb. 18 after taking fifth place at State. (Photo courtesy of the Iowa Newspaper Association Photographers’ Pool)

Panther head coach Ryan Luensman (right) and assistant coach Chuck Luensman encourage their nephew, Chase, during the state tournament.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     If last year’s State Wrestling Tournament was a stepping stone for Monticello’s Chase Luensman, this year’s represented a different kind of step – up to the medals podium.

     Luensman won his first two matches at the State Class 2A Wrestling Tournament before losing in the semifinals, and then split two consolation matches to finish fifth overall at 113 pounds.

     The tournament was held Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 16-18 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

     The sophomore said he benefitted from competing in the 2016 state tournament.

     “Last year’s experience was huge,” he said. “Just getting the nerves out of the way is the biggest thing.”

     His coach and uncle, Ryan Luensman, agreed.

     “I felt Chase was relaxed and ready to go throughout the whole tournament,” coach Luensman said. “He knew what to expect and how to respond to different situations that he faced.”

     Luensman opened the tournament with a pin, stopping Wyatt Dale of Central Decatur at 3:13. With the score tied 2-2, Luensman started the second period on top, and caught Dale with an arm bar in order to turn him and get the fall.

     “It’s just a great move to use on top,” Chase said. “I practice it every single day, multiple times.”

     In the quarterfinals against Kole Hansen of Atlantic/CAM Friday afternoon, Luensman scored a takedown almost immediately, recorded near falls in the first and third periods, and won 10-0.

     “His second match was a perfect example of what he can do when he takes control, beating a returning fifth place finisher from 2016.”

     That put him in the Friday evening semifinals, against Drake Doolittle of Webster City. Doolittle won that match 8-2, taking a 4-0 lead after the first period, maintaining it through the second, and extending it to 6-0 before Luensman scored a takedown for his two points. A reversal late in the match sealed it for Doolittle.

     “Chase wrestled tough in the semifinal round but came up short in a few critical positions,” the coach said.

     Reaching the semifinals means guaranteeing a spot on the medals podium, and Luensman went into Saturday afternoon’s consolation semifinals knowing he could finish anywhere from third to sixth.

     He lost a consolation semifinal match to Kaleb Olejniczak of Perry 6-4, falling behind 6-2, scoring a takedown with 13 seconds left, but falling just short.

     Luensman bounced back a couple of hours later to defeat Ashton Meyers of Keokuk 9-2 in the fifth place match. Luensman led 4-2 heading into the third period, then took advantage of a missed shot by Meyers to score a takedown and near-fall for his final points, with about 1:20 left in the match.

     “Saturday he started off a little slow, but he refocused his mind and responded well by beating a very tough opponent from Keokuk,” coach Luensman said.

     Luensman finished with a 32-5 record.

     “Chase wrestled smart and hard throughout the tournament,” coach Luensman said. “He was battle tested and ready. As a competitor you always want more, but for the circumstances we were dealt, I felt Chase performed very well.

     “One month ago we didn’t know if he was going to be able to compete at all (due to a foot injury). We had to modify training methods and hope for the best. He did a great job pushing through the pain and keeping the focus on his goals.

     “We are very proud of him and all that he has accomplished so far in his career.”


Feb. 16-18

State Class 2A


(at Wells Fargo Arena,

Des Moines)


     113 – Chase Luensman (fifth place) pinned Wyatt Dale, Central Decatur, 3:13; won by major dec. over Kole Hansen, Atlantic/CAM, 10-0; lost to Drake Doolittle, Webster City, 8-2; lost to Kaleb Olejniczak, Perry, 6-4; dec. Ashton Meyers, Keokuk, 9-2.


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