Redhawk three-peat! – North Tama sends three to state wrestling two years running

Monat, Knaack, Rausch state bound

Members of the Redhawks wrestling coaching staff including head coach Andrew Knaack (right), Brice Girkin (center), and Luke Dvorak (left) celebrate Gavin Rausch’s second place district win in the 132 pound bracket last Saturday in Ogden. Rausch’s wrestleback win ensured three North Tama wrestlers would be heading to the state tournament again this year. PHOTO COURTESY CRAIG SHULTZ/OGDEN REPORTER

Three seems to be the magic number for Redhawk wrestling.

In the wake of a two decade drought, the North Tama wrestling program sent three wrestlers to the state tournament last season and following Saturday’s district tournament in Ogden, the team will be doing the same this year with junior Case Monat and sophomore Kolt Knaack set to make repeat appearances alongside their teammate, sophomore Gavin Rausch who will be making his first state appearance.

At the Class 1A District 7 postseason tournament in Ogden last Saturday, North Tama churned out two district champions and a runner-up with Monat claiming first place in the 113 pounds bracket and Knaack doing the same in the 138 pounds bracket, while Rausch took second following an intense wrestleback in the 132 pounds bracket which saw him win by fall over AGWSR’s Noah Clikeman in 3:23.

“Gavin’s match was a true second match,” Redhawks head coach Andrew Knaack told the Telegraph. “He was down 10-4. Then pinned the kid! So, it was about as intense as it could get. The fans that were there and the teammates he had cheering him on were awesome.”

Heading into the Ogden tournament, Monat was ranked No. 4 in Class 1A. Following an opening round bye, Monat pinned West Hancock’s Carlos Calles in 2:28 in the semifinal round. During the champion round, Monat swiftly outworked No. 12 Kinnick Munson of Ogden – pinning him in 59 seconds for the title.

Redhawk wrestler Gavin Rausch (top) grapples with AGWSR’s Noah Clikeman during the 132 pound second place match in Ogden last Saturday, Feb. 11. Rausch’s pin of Clikeman punched his ticket to state for the first time. PHOTO COURTESY CRAIG SHULTZ/OGDEN REPORTER

Knaack, ranked ninth ahead of districts, went 3-0 with pins over West Bend-Mallard’s Micah Fehr, Ogden’s Simon Hickingbottom, and lastly South Hamilton’s Keyton Remsburg in 3:32 for first place.

This week the team will travel to Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines for the state tournament. All three wrestlers will hit the mats Wednesday. Coach Knaack said to prepare, his wrestlers will treat Monday like any other practice. Following Tuesday’s practice, the team will head for the Well in anticipation of a 7 a.m. Wednesday weigh-in.

Monat (35-3) is seeded No. 3 and will receive a bye in the first round. Knaack (39-2), seeded eighth, will also receive a first round bye.

In the second round, Monat will face either No. 14 seed Kinnick Munson of Ogden – whom he beat on Saturday for the district championship – or No. 19 seed Mason Fogt of Hudson. Knaack will face either No. 9 seed Tyler Orzechowski of Kingsley-Pierson or No. 24 seed Jack Peiffer of Highland in his second round – he has never faced either wrestler before.

Rausch (25-14), seeded 22nd, will face No. 11 Iowa Valley’s Zane Keim – whom he has wrestled and lost to previously – in the opening round.

Redhawk wrestlers punching their tickets to the state tournament this year include (l-r) district runner-up Gavin Rausch (132 pounds), district champion Case Monat (113 pounds), and district champion Kolt Knaack (138 pounds) pictured in Ogden last Saturday. PHOTO COURTESY ANDREW KNAACK

Despite feeling exhausted following districts on Saturday, coach Knaack said he and his athletes – athletes he has coached for years – are ready.

“I am proud of all three of these guys,” coach Knaack said. “I have coached all three of them since they were little. I feel like I am taking three sons to the state tournament. It is stressful every time they step on the mat.”

Last year Monat took sixth place in the 106 pound bracket at state while his teammate, senior Aiden Zook took fourth place. Kolt Knaack did not medal. But coach Knaack is hoping all that changes this year.

“I know Kolt wants to be on that podium Saturday night. Case wants to improve on his finish from last year. It is go time – we have to leave it out there and have fun. It is exciting and [we’re] hoping to come home with three medals.”

The boys state wrestling tournament begins Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 9 a.m., and lasts through Saturday. The North Tama Telegraph will feature full coverage of the Redhawks in next week’s edition.

North Tama wrestler Case Monat celebrates following his 59-second pin of Ogden’s Kinnick Munson for the 113 pound district championship last Saturday, Feb. 11 in Ogden. PHOTO COURTESY CRAIG SHULTZ/OGDEN REPORTER

Redhawk sophomore Kolt Knaack (right) pictured during the Class 1A District 7 138 pound champion match last Saturday, Feb. 11 in Ogden. Knaack, ranked ninth ahead of districts, went 3-0 with pins over West Bend-Mallard’s Micah Fehr, Ogden’s Simon Hickingbottom, and lastly South Hamilton’s Keyton Remsburg (pictured) in 3:32 for first place and a ticket to the state tournament this week. PHOTO COURTESY CRAIG SHULTZ/OGDEN REPORTER