‘Gem of a finish’ for two Redhawk wrestlers in Jewell

Knaack, Monat headed to state wrestling tournament

Redhawk wrestlers and 2024 state qualifiers Max Monat, left, and Kolt Knaack pictured in the South Hamilton High School gym last Saturday in Jewell following the Class 1A District 10 championship. Monat, a first time state qualifier, earned runner-up at 113 pounds, while three-time state qualifier Knaack – who remains undefeated this season – took the district championship at 144 pounds. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

JEWELL – Undefeated North Tama junior Kolt Knaack mined his third trip to state in as many years with his Class 1A District 10 championship on Saturday at South Hamilton High School in Jewel.

Knaack claimed the 144-pound title and will be joined at state by first-time qualifier Maxon ‘Max’ Monat, a sophomore, who was district runner-up at 113.

Knaack (43-0) won his first two matches by fall, pinning Brady Schuman of Waterloo Columbus in 45 seconds and Karter Thiessen of Iowa Valley in 24 seconds.

In the finals, Knaack notched a 9-2 decision over No. 12 Dawson Becker of Alburnett (37-12) – the first match he’s wrestled the full three periods since before the winter break in December.

“It wasn’t too bad,” Knaack said on of his final match after clinching the championship. “I just got a little tired toward the end.”

Redhawk grappler Kolt Knaack, left, pictured mere seconds before sealing his 9-2 win by decision over Dawson Becker of Alburnett for the 144 pound Class 1A District 10 championship last Saturday in Jewell. Knaack is now a three-time state qualifier and was seeded fourth heading into this week’s state tournament in Des Moines where he will be looking to earn his second state medal. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

Last winter in his sophomore season Knaack earned a fifth place medal at state at 138 pounds.

Max Monat (32-8) placed second in his bracket with only a finals loss to No. 5 Dallas Canoyer of Earlham (38-5) who claimed his 100th career win over Monat.

Monat pinned his way into the finals and thus didn’t have to wrestle-back to claim second place.

Redhawks Drayke Dvorak (106) and Case Monat (126) – Max’s older brother – both just missed the cut for state on Saturday, placing third in their respective brackets.

Sophomore Dvorak (28-13) was defeated in the semifinals by third-ranked Atlee Dewitt of Alburnett, and was then pinned by No. 9 Max Millage of Earlham in the match for true second.

North Tama wrestler Max Monat, right, pictured at the start of the 113 pounds championship match at districts last Saturday in Jewell. Monat earned runner-up and his first trip to the state tournament for his efforts. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

“Drayke wrestled a heck of a tournament,” Redhawk head coach Andrew Knaack said after the tournament. “He pinned a ranked kid to give himself a chance to make the state tournament.”

The elder Monat, a two-time state qualifier in his senior season this year, took bronze in a difficult bracket that included No. 2 Tayten Coufal of Alburnett. Monat fell to No. 4 Payton Harger of Earlham in the semifinals and didn’t get to wrestle back for second after Harger was defeated in the finals by Coufal.

The loss to Harger was particularly tough, Coach Knaack said, choking up at one point while speaking to the Telegraph.

“We knew it was going to be a tough one coming in. There were so many ways he could have won that match. We had a headlock (early) … Just little things. It definitely hurts. … You hate to see a leader like [Case] not make the state tournament after making it the previous two seasons.”

For the younger Knaack’s part, wrestling at state without his teammate and friend is not something he necessarily relishes as the pair has been wrestling together since they were in early elementary school.

North Tama senior wrestler Case Monat, left, pictured toward the end of his final high school bout at the Class 1A District 10 championship in Jewell last Saturday. Monat beat AGWSR senior Jaedrek Bowles, right, by technical fall 22-7 for a district bronze, just missing out on what would have been his third trip to the state tournament. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

“It’s going to be weird ’cause I’ve gone with him to every (state) meet. And I warm up with him before every meet. We’ve wrestled together since third and fourth grade.”

Monat ended his senior season in Jewell with a win by technical fall 22-7 over AGWSR senior Jaedrek Bowles.

As he made his way off the mat toward Coach Knaack and assistant coach Rick Samuelson, Monat struggled to contain his emotions.

Despite missing out on punching his third ticket to the state tourney, the final bout of Monat’s high school career was another gem of a finish for the Redhawk wrestling program which was only revived by Coach Knaack to independent status in 2017-18 following a 25 year absence. Previously the program was shared with Gladbrook-Reinbeck.

In his sophomore season (2021-22), the top-ranked Monat was one of three wrestlers along with Kolt Knaack and Aiden Zook to break North Tama’s 20-year state qualifier drought and one of two to subsequently break the program’s 22-year medal drought.

Redhawk wrestler Case Monat has his hand raised by the official, Tama Co. Supervisor Curt Hilmer last Saturday in Jewell following his third place win at 126 pounds. Monat, a senior, just missed the cut for state and ended his high school wrestling career on the South Hamilton mats. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

“When he reflects on what he has done, he can still hold his head high,” Coach Knaack continued. “Not many people can say they are a placewinner and two time qualifier.”

State tourney brackets

Heading into the state tournament which began Wednesday this week, Knaack was seeded fourth and will receive a bye in his first round before facing the winner of the bout between No. 13 Colton Torres of East Buchanan (44-12) and No. 20 Isaiah Malm of Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire (33-12) for a Thursday trip to the quarterfinals.

Ahead of his first state appearance, Max Monat was seeded No. 16 and will face No. 17 Kenny Colsch of Clayton Ridge (36-12) on Wednesday in the opening round.

If he wins his first round bout, Monat will have to take on No. 1 seed Mason Shirk of Wilton, a sophomore, who has only lost one match this season while notching 46 wins.

Redhawk wrestler Drayke Dvorak, right, wrestles third-ranked Atlee Dewitt of Alburnett in the 106 pound semifinal last Saturday during the Class 1A District 10 championship at South Hamilton High School in Jewell. Dvorak placed third in the district tournament - just shy of a trip to state. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

The Telegraph will feature full coverage in next week’s edition of the Redhawks’ run at the 2024 IHSAA State Championships which concludes Saturday evening at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.