Two go on: Luensman, Sunlin advance to district tournament

Monticello’s Chase Luensman (left) was champion at 113 pounds and Alaina Sunlin was runner-up at 106 at the sectional meet Feb. 4 in Manchester. Both advance to districts. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Alaina Sunlin of Monticello scores back points in her match against West Delaware in a wrestleback at the sectional meet Feb. 4 at West Delaware in Manchester.

Chase Luensman of the Panthers (top) closes in on a pin during the semifinal match against Dubuque Wahlert.

Andrew Wall of the Panthers (top) holds the ankle of his Mount Vernon opponent at sectionals.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     The two Monticello Panthers who advanced to Class 2A district wrestling competition represent a couple of different characteristics: one is familiar, one is historic.

     Sophomore Chase Luensman came off a two-week layoff to win the championship of the 113-pound division during the Class 2A Sectional Tournament Saturday, Feb. 4 at West Delaware High School in Manchester.

     It’s a familiar spot for Luensman (27-3), who went on to wrestle at the state tournament a year ago.

     Freshman Alaina Sunlin had to fight through four matches Saturday, but won the third place title and then a wrestleback for the true second spot to qualify for districts.

     Her spot in the district meet is historic; she is the first Monticello girl to reach that pinnacle in wrestling.

     In all, the Panthers sent seven wrestlers to the sectional tourney. Lake Stahlberg finished fourth at 195 pounds after withdrawing from a third place match due to injury. Andrew Wall and Travis Heinrich took fifth place; Jordan Smith and Mason Reuter were sixth.

     Luensman hadn’t wrestled since the Marion tournament on Jan. 14 due to a foot injury, a layoff of three weeks. It didn’t show in the first match; a 56-second pin of Liam Dolehide of Dubuque Wahlert. Luensman then had to fight off Ryan Clark of Mount Vernon, winning 6-3 to take the title.            
     “Chase is a tough kid that wants to win,” Monticello coach Ryan Luensman said. “Wrestling is a sport that will give you obstacles throughout your career. He chose to fight that challenge head-on. I thought he looked good for the limited mat time he has had throughout the past three weeks.”

     Chase said the layoff wasn’t all bad.

     “It did give me a lot of time to think about what I was going to do and how I was going to do it,” the sophomore said. “I had to keep the right mindset.”

     Sunlin pinned her first opponent, got pinned by her second, then scored a pin in 29 seconds in her third place match. Because her semifinal opponent, Jack Streitcher of Mount Vernon, went on to win the title, Sunlin got the chance to wrestle Luke Farmer of West Delaware for the true second spot.

     Sunlin took a quick 6-2 lead, then fell behind 8-6 after two periods. Late in the third, Sunlin put Farmer on his back with a sudden move, and pinned him at 5:25.

     “It was kind of a bad headlock that I threw, he got me on my back, and then I reversed it by pulling down on the elbow, and we fell in a good position,” Sunlin said. “I’ve been working on a lot of conditioning. At the beginning of the year I was really out of shape.”

     Coach Luensman said, “Alaina never quit. She kept battling throughout the entire day and throughout this entire season. That continuous fight is what took her to the next level. It was a proud moment.”

     Stahlberg was the hard-luck wrestler of the day for the Panthers. He held a 3-0 lead in his semifinal match before aggravating an earlier injury. He fought on, was pinned, and it was determined he shouldn’t continue.

     “This injury has been very frustrating for Lake, but I feel it will fuel him to become better in everything he does,” the coach said.

     Luensman added that the experience of sectionals will help the Panthers’ other four competitors.

     “They got to see and feel the atmosphere of sectionals, and next time it will be easier for them,” he said. “They need to stay on the mat in some capacity and get stronger in the off-season.”

     The district meet will be Saturday, Feb. 11 at Maquoketa High School, starting at noon.


Feb. 4

Class 2A Sectional

(at West Delaware,



(top two teams advance to Regional Duals)

     1, Mount Vernon 240; 2, West Delaware 196; 3, Dyersville Beckman 187; 4, Dubuque Wahlert 177; 5, Anamosa 101; 6, Monticello 72.


     106 – Alaina Sunlin (runner-up) pinned Adam Schmit, DB, 2:45; as pinned by Jack Streicher, MV, 0:30; pinned Dylan Digman, DW, 0:29; pinned Luke Farmer, WD, 5:25.

     113 – Chase Luensman (champion) received a bye; pinned Liam Dolehide, DW, 0:56; dec. Ryan Clark, MV, 6-3.

     126 – Andrew Wall (fifth place) was pinned by Garret Akers, MV, 5:48; received two byes.

     132 – Travis Heinrich (fifth) was pinned by Brad Rausch, WD, 0:37; received two byes.

     170 – Jordan Smith (sixth) was pinned by Coy Martin, MV, 0:20; was pinned by Owen Moore, A, 0:24.

     195 – Lake Stahlberg (fourth) received a bye; was pinned by Luke Funke, DB, 5:53; lost by injury default to Brady Antons, WD.

     220 – Mason Reuter (sixth) was pinned by Ben Ridenour, WD, 0:35; received a bye; was pinned by Spencer Schlarmann, DB, 1:38.



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