Redhawks’ Knaack headed for a medal
The pride on Andrew Knaack’s face was evident as the North Tama boys’ wrestling coach jumped for joy once the final whistle blew Friday morning at boys’ state wrestling.
His son, Redhawks sophomore Kolt Knaack (No. 8 seed at 138 pounds), had just completed a 2 minute, 43-second pin of No. 5 seed Tiernan Boots of Lisbon, bumping him into the consolation quarterfinals and putting him on the medal stand at the state tournament for the first time in his career.
One year after making it to state but coming up empty, Kolt had made the next step in his career.
Going into the match against a fifth-place finisher at 2022 state, Kolt said he needed to have confidence in himself to see the match through.
“Confidence, it was everything in that match,” Kolt said. “If you weren’t confident, you weren’t going to keep wrestling. I felt pretty confident going in and it paid off.
“It felt great, that’s what you work the whole season for, is to win big matches like that.”
Putting Boots in a cradle hold, Andrew said some of Kolt’s adrenaline probably kicked in to help him see out the pin and finish the match. In the next round, feeding off the high of his last win, Kolt came in as the favorite against No. 16 seed John Helton of St. Albert. It was the first match since the first round in which Kolt was an unequivocal favorite.
He wrestled like it, getting a takedown in the first minute of the match and maintaining control of the match afterward. He didn’t allow a point and didn’t put himself in any difficult positions, managing the six minutes en route to a 7-0 decision and a spot in the consolation semifinals on Saturday, where he will take on Alburnett’s Brody Neighbor (the No. 6 seed) to decide the third and fifth-place matches. His record improved to 42-3 on the season.
Andrew got choked up when talking about what it meant to see his son have this success. He mentioned Kolt’s cousins, Kaiden (145 pounds) and Kyler (152), who made the state finals this year for Don Bosco.
“That hits a little different,” Andrew said. “I’m proud of him. I got two nephews that are wrestling here as well, It’s different.
“You gotta feel good for Kolt, too, coming out and beating the fifth seed. The kid was a fifth-place finisher last year and we took it to him. It felt good.”
Case Monat’s tournament ended in frustration, as a tight match in which the junior was losing 3-2 in the second period turned into a quick pin by No. 10 Cole Frost and his elimination in the fourth consolation round. Entering as the No. 3 seed, Monat went 1-2 and after sixth in 2022 will not medal in 2023.
He ends the year with a 36-5 record.
Andrew said he’s hurting and that the weakness Frost capitalized on is something they hope to work on in the summer.
“I’m hurting for Case right now,” Andrew said. “We’ve just gotta take the summer for him and get him better in positions. Gave up his wrist too many times today, that’s kind of where his fault has been throughout the season. We’ve worked on it, we’ve tried to improve in that position but it’s a hard position to get out of.”
Saturday’s consolation fifth round begins at 9 a.m.