Knights champs at EM duals
LEGRAND — The Class 2A fifth-ranked Union Knights took their last Saturday before post-season action to compete in the East Marshall Duals on Jan. 23.
The Knights cruised through all three dual matchups and ended the day as the tournament champion, despite being without the services of their three-time state placewinner Kolten Crawford.
Union competed in round robin play with two other schools in pool B before advancing to the first-place match. The team received a first round bye as Benton Community, who were originally scheduled to compete in pool B, canceled their appearance.
The Knights got things going with a sweep over an outmatched Collins-Maxwell squad, 63-6. The Spartans were open at six weight classes and gave up pins in all but one of their matches against Union.
In the absence of Crawford at 132, Dillon Sparks stepped in and captured a 6-3 decision victory against Collins-Maxwell’s Trevor Slinger to set the tone in the opening bout of the dual.
The North Polk Comets were up next with a roster that brought more competitive matches, two which ended in victories for Union against ranked opponents.
At 152 Union’s ninth ranked junior, Stone Schmitz won a gutsy match over North Polk’s Chance Bockenstedt, who has been ranked second this season following a run into the state quarterfinals last February. Schmitz finished with a 6-3 decision win.
Two matches later at 170, Union’s Hunter Worthen defeated tenth-ranked Dylan Meiners by a similarly narrow margin. Worthen ended with a 6-4 victory.
Adam Ahrendsen, Dacoda Marvets, Caleb Olson and Keegan Ellsworth each took wins by fall while Lincoln Mehlert scored a tech fall and Brady Hilmer earned a 12-3 major decision over Ethan Reed.
In the championship round the Knights again faced a team with two ranked opponents but were unable to grab wins against No. 2 Dominic Ridout at 132 or No. 4 Conner Murty at 285.
Mehlert, Schmitz, Ahrendsen, Marvets and Olson each came through with pins and it was Worthen who nailed down another close match against, this time a 6-5 decision win over Sam Bandstra.
The Knights will travel to Sumner-Fredericksburg on Saturday to compete in the NICL wrestling tournament and are scheduled to attend the Class 2A sectional tournament at Independence the week following.
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