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Three Nights at “The Well”

February 20, 2019
By Josh J. Zigrang , Emmetsburg News

by Josh J. Zigrang

Arguably, in the world of high school sports, there are a few states and regions that are known for a particular sport.

For example, the South has football. The Northeast has lacrosse. Colorado has mountain lion fighting. But Iowa. . . Iowa is known for its wrestling.

Article Photos

LOCKING THE LEG - Mason Griffin gets his opponent in a log lock to get some points toward winning his match.

Iowan wrestlers are often times thrown into the sport at a very young age. Some, participate for a few years, maybe one, and then will eventually either quit early on after realizing how difficult it is and not go out the following year.

There is no question about the sheer difficulty that is associated with a single wrestling season, let alone years and sometimes a decade or more. But, if you ask any of your Emmetsburg E-Hawk wrestlers, they will tell you the pain of it is all worth it when you get to Wells Fargo Arena or what is also being called "The Well".

"It feels great", Spencer Griffin had told reporters heading into the championship round of the Class 1A Iowa State Wrestling Tournament Championship round. "I've been working my whole life for this".

This 2018-19 season has brought a great deal of excitement to the fans who follow this team. Before the traditional tournament began, the team competed and placed 6th at the State Duals that they had qualified for after defeating both Adair-Casey/Guthrie Center and Graettinger-Terrill/Ruthven-Ayrshire at the Regional meet in Emmetsburg earlier in the month.

To go along with the team's success, Head Coach Tyler Bjustrom was recognized as a 1A Coach of the Year.

These successes also brought five of the E-Hawks to compete for a state title. Calvin Hart, Ethan Berven, Sean Brennan, Mason Griffin and Spencer Griffin all earned their way to what many see as the biggest stage of Iowa sports.

In the first night of competition, in the 285-pound matchups, Calvin Hart (11-21) was put away by Ryley Snell (40-12) after a technical fall score of 17-2.

Hart later went into the first wrestleback and was beaten again by Brock Farley (46-9) of Denver High School after a fall in the first period.

At 132-pounds, Ethan Berven also met stiff competition against Joshua Tibbits of Martensdale, St. Mary's who had a 42-2 record on the year.

Berven (34-6) was beaten after a decision score of 8-2 and was sent to the first wrestleback where he found his groove and won by a pin fall over Geoff Streb of Highland, Riverside 30 seconds into the 2nd period.

But in the 2nd wrestleback, Berven was defeated by Gabriel Lewis of Denver by a decision of 6-1 keeping Berven of standing on the podium.

In the 113-pound bouts, Sean Brennan (32-9) was defeated in the first round by Brooks Meyer (37-10) of Denver by a fall in the first period.

Brennan was sent to the 1st wrestleback and was again defeated by Cullen Koedam (50-7) of West Sioux, Hawarden by a decision score of 8-3.

Mason Griffin (39-9) began an onslaught early on by a close 3-1 decision win against Dan Burton (24-12) of Highland, Riverside.

In the quarterfinal round, Mason met tough competition from a hungry Bryson Freeberg (43-7) of Tri-Center. After regulation and through one tie-breaker with the score stuck at 3-3, Mason was able to come away with the upset win with a final score of 5-3.

But, his first loss would come in the semifinal round against Don Bosco's Carson Tenold (42-5) after an 11-5 decision.

Mason would go on to lose two more close matches, but earned his 8th place spot on the podium.

The story of the event came with Spencer Griffin at the 145-pound bouts. Spencer, a senior with Emmetsburg, has been putting his talents on display all year long and he did not disappoint making it all the way to the championship round.

In the semis, Spencer matched up against Highland, Riverside's 36-6 Brady Hahn.

The two battled the entirety of the match, but early into the 3rd period, Spencer found a double leg takedown on Hahn and was able to transition himself on top to secure a fall after 4:34.

Spencer said, "I got into my set up, got into my shot and put it away."

For the top spot on the podium, Spencer faced Wade Mitchell (42-1) of Woodbury Central.

The two gladiators battled it out under the lights; neither giving into the other. But when the time had expired, Mitchell had claimed victory by a decision score of 12-7.

Spencer would round out his high school wrestling career with a 43-2 record, 150 career wins, and the title of State Runner Up Champion.



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