By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
It was as if a light switch went on.
Trailing by a score of 7-2 in the second period, Logan McQuillen of Monticello began to take control of his 160-pound championship match against third-ranked Sawyer Anderson of New Hampton.
McQuillen pulled to within 7-4 by the end of the period. After a takedown, he let Anderson back up with 1:40 left to trail 8-6. Another takedown, with 1:08 left, tied the score.
Then, seemingly as suddenly as the comeback began, McQuillen pinned Anderson with 52.4 seconds left.
The win came in the 160-pound finals at the Class 2A district meet, held Saturday, Feb. 9 at West Delaware in Manchester. It earned McQuillen a trip to Des Moines for the state tournament.
“By the third period, I could see he (Anderson) was getting tired,” the Panther senior explained. “All year, wrestling on my feet has always been my best position. I just kept shooting, and kept getting takedowns.”
“He did a good job of staying composed,” Monticello coach Ryan Luensman said. “Then he got the feel. When you’ve got that feel, you just know. And he beat a really good kid.”
McQuillen, who is now 39-5 on the season, will face Dylon French of Bedford/Lenox (40-14) in the first round of the State Class 2A Wrestling Tournament. The opening session for 2A begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14 at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
The results weren’t as fulfilling for the rest of the Panthers who competed in Saturday’s district meet, although none of them went down without a fight.
“The boys fought hard,” Luensman said. “They didn’t back down to anybody all day. It is one of the toughest 2A districts in the state.”
Daniel Pike was a prime example. Wrestling at 285 pounds, he faced fourth-ranked Austin Ashbacher of Decorah in the semifinals, and lost 13-7. In the third place match, Pike pinned Jade Miller of Crestwood.
Just a few seconds later, Pike looked over to the other mat to see Ashbacher get pinned by top-ranked Dean Broghammer of West Delaware. Ashbacher’s loss meant Pike didn’t get the chance to wrestle back for true second, and had to settle for third place.
The other two Panthers also had tough brackets. At 120, freshman Dalton Husmann faced top-ranked Leighton Gaul of New Hampton, and was pinned in the second period. He then lost to Sam Phillps of West Delaware in the third place match.
Ben Ahlrichs, at 126 pounds, battled gamely before losing a 5-2 decision to ninth-ranked Caleb Studebaker of Independence. Ahlrichs then lost by major decision in the third place match.
Pike finished the season with a 30-9 record, Husmann was 33-14 and Ahlrichs was 29-14.
Class 2A District Meet
1, West Delaware 174; 2, Independence 74; 3, Crestwood 63; 4, Decorah 62; 5, New Hampton 60; 6, Dubuque Wahlert 57; 7, Monticello 29; 8, Dyersville Beckman 26; 9 (tie) Oelwein 12 and Waukon 12.
(state qualifier in bold)
120 – Dalton Husmann (fourth place) was pinned by Leighton Gaul, NH, 2:12; lost by major dec. to Sam Phillips, WD, 14-2.
126 - Ben Ahlrichs (fourth) lost to Caleb Studebaker, IND, 5-2; lost by major dec. to Dallyn Putz, WD, 14-4.
160 – Logan McQuillen (champion) won by major dec. over Nathan Suhr, DEC, 16-7; pinned Sawyer Anderson, NH, 5:08.
285 – Daniel Pike (third) lost to Austin Ashbacher, DEC, 13-7; pinned Jade Miller, CR, 5:19.
PHOTO: Logan McQuillen stands proudly on the podium after winning a district championship to qualify for State. (Photo by Pete Temple)