Despite injury and loss, Redhawk wrestling keeps eye on state

Redhawk wrestler Gavin Rausch begins his takedown of Ryder Larson of Sumner-Fredericksburg on Thursday, Jan. 12, in Traer. Rausch orchestrated the pin in 3:09. PHOTO BY SOREN M. PETERSON

What started as a season full of promise for Redhawks wrestling with a newly sanctioned girls team and two ranked boys wrestlers, has hit a few hurdles due to injury in the final weeks but the athletes are remaining focused and still banking on several state appearances.

“The girls did have an awesome season going. I was proud of all of them [for putting] on the singlet and going out there [to] compete,” head coach Andrew Knaack said of his four female wrestlers – senior Jade Rausch, sophomores Briar Blake and Faith Dvorak, and freshman Addy Hochstetler – in a recent interview with the North Tama Telegraph.

Unfortunately, injury has plagued three of his four girls wrestlers in recent weeks with Blake tearing her ACL during a non-wrestling-related incident over winter break, Dvorak tearing her meniscus, and Rausch also experiencing health issues. Blake is out for the season with the same likely for Dvorak.

“Jade is trying to get healthy,” Knaack said. “Right now I am hoping she is ready to go for regionals. We are preparing as though we are going to compete.”

That leaves Hochstetler as the lone Redhawk female grappler competing at the moment – a role she does not take lightly.

“She just keeps on going and doing what is asked of her,” Knaack said.

On Friday, Jan. 13, Hochstetler traveled to Denver for the Denver Girls Wrestling Tournament which featured 16 area teams. She took third place in the 135 pounds bracket, going 2-1 with pins over North Butler-Clarksville’s Savannah Pierce in 1:16 in the third round, followed by a pin in the final round over Ashlynn Boldt of Tripoli in 1:11.

Following their home tournament this Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. in the Redhawks Nest, the girls will head to the postseason regional qualifier. North Tama has been assigned to Region 3 in Des Moines at the Iowa Events Center on Friday, Jan. 27 beginning at 11 a.m.

In the 135 pounds bracket, ranked wrestlers from Ankeny, Ballard, and Dallas Center-Grimes will be competing in Region 3 along with Hochstetler.

Redhawks boys’ wrestling

The Redhawk boys’ wrestling team has mostly avoided injury this season but they have had to overcome a few frustrating losses including this past Thursday night during their last home meet of the season in Traer — a double dual with Sumner-Fredericksburg and Wapsie Valley.

Sophomore wrestler Kolt Knaack – ranked No. 4 in Class 1A in the 138 pounds bracket by IAWrestle last week – suffered a loss in overtime to fellow 2022 state qualifier Kanen Decker of Wapsie Valley. Earlier in the evening against Sumner-Fredericksburg, however, he pinned his opponent Antonio Gitch in a brisk and formidable 16 seconds for the win.

Knaack’s teammate Case Monat – ranked No. 5 in Class 1A in the 113 pounds bracket – won by forfeit against Sumner-Fredericksburg and then by fall over Landan Frost of Wapsie Valley in 4:53, while Redhawk Gavin Rausch pinned his Sumner-Fredericksburg opponent in 3:09 but was pinned himself by Wapsie Valley.

“Kolt will bounce back and the goals and expectations have not changed for him. He just has to compete like he was at the beginning of the year. … [Case Monat] is wrestling well also and continues to win,” Coach Knaack said of his athletes. “The goal is the same as it was at the beginning of the year – get to the state tournament and be wrestling Saturday night. They both have had some losses but the focus has to be the same. Not just for those two guys but the team as a whole. There are guys projected to make the state tournament that have to keep improving [including] Gavin Rausch.”

The push continues.

The Redhawk boys’ squad was next set to compete in Denver this week Thursday, followed by their home tournament on Saturday, Jan. 21, beginning at 10 a.m.

North Tama has been assigned to District 7 in Ogden in the Class 1A postseason which is set for Saturday, Feb. 11 beginning at 10 a.m. The top two from each weight class are guaranteed to advance to the state tournament.

Other District 7 teams include AGWSR, Collins-Maxwell, Emmetsburg, Manson Northwest Webster, Ogden, Saint Edmond Catholic, South Hamilton, West Bend-Mallard, and West Hancock.