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Seven Union wrestlers heading to State
February 14, 2019

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The Union wrestling program will send seven wrestlers to the State Wrestling Tournament at Wells Fargo in Des Moines this week as the Knights took advantage of wrestle backs to keep several seasons alive.

Union will be represented by Lincoln Mehlert at 106 lbs, Kolten Crawford at 113 lbs, Hunter Worthen at 120 lbs, Lake LeBahn at 126 lbs, Stone Schmitz at 132 lbs, Jack Thomsen at 138 lbs and Adam Ahrendsen at 152 lbs as the Knights took second at the Independence Districts on Saturday, Feb. 9. Not moving on this season will be seniors Kaleb Roach and Lane Albertsen, the latter whom qualified last season but a first round pin put the 220 lbs wrestler in a position he was unable to get out of despite two wins.

"These seniors meant a lot for this program these past four years," Mehlert said. "There's ups and downs to the day and that wrestle-back round gave me more hair loss. It hurts to lose those two seniors, but having these seven, mainly underclassmen, advance is great for us."

Ahrendsen and Thomsen were crowned champs of their weight classes and will both return to State this year along with Crawford qualifying in second. For all other wrestlers, this is their first trip to the Well as wrestlers.

"I want a team title this time around," Thomsen said. "It would be awesome to win a traditional state title for the first time in Union history. We did great today, we're all young and hopefully this is just the start for us."

Thomsen had a scare in his first match, down 5-0 and nearly pinned in the first period before coming back to win 11-5 and later secure the bid to State.

"I fought off my back and time ran out," Thomsen said. "I got on top, evened things out and got my head back."

Ahrendsen also had his struggles at Districts despite facing some familiar faces on the mat. The sophomore came through and will head to Des Moines looking to build off his trip last season and help his team take the next step.

"I need to keep the pedal to the metal," Ahrendsen said. "I got a bit too relaxed in my championship match and didn't score as much as I need. Having success for the team this year is great because we haven't performed well as a team in recent years. Having coach Bart here has helped us with our goals this year and we've been working hard."

While Mehlert feels Union could have had all nine District qualifiers heading to State this season, he is proud of the wrestlers that came back through wrestle-backs (Mehlert, Krawford, Worthen, Schmitz) and hopes to see their focus continue into the big week ahead of them.

"The State tournament is a big shiny place, but all of these guys have wrestled at big tournaments before," Mehlert said. "We'll fine tune technique and have some bottom work to do. Once we get down on Wednesday, we'll get acclimated, watch some duals and get comfortable. With seeding this year, I'm not sure what to expect for our guys. I tell them the next thing is the top of the podium and not be scared of heights."

The Dysart Reporter will have coverage of this year's State Wrestling Tournament in Des Moines and post daily updates on the Facebook page. For more coverage, follow Editor CJ Eilers on Twitter (@cjeilers) beginning on Thursday.

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