Battling illness, Knights still take fifth at Bobcat Invite
Worthen, Hedeman earn champion titles
On Saturday, Jan. 8, the Class 2A No. 8 ranked Union Knights made the quick trek down to Van Horne for the much anticipated Bobcat Jerry Eckenrod Invitational, coming away with a fifth-place team finish and several individual titles despite medical difficulties.
Several medical forfeits due to sickness played out across the tournament’s brackets including Union’s No. 6 Stone Schmitz (160) who prior to forfeiture managed to make it to the fifth place match.
No. 11 Brock Ruzicka (170) also was forced to drop due to a medical forfeit in the fifth-place round.
While their teammates took some unfortunate hits due to illness, freshman Jace Hedeman at 106 and senior Hunter Worthen at 152 both wrestled their way to champion titles.
Hedeman – ranked No.2 in Class 2A as of January 4 – began the day with a bye followed by a quarterfinal win by fall over Williamsburg and a semifinal win by decision 9-6 over West Delaware.
In the champion match, Hedeman won by fall over West Liberty’s No. 8 Colin Cassady in 3:47.
Worthen – ranked No. 3 in Class 2A as of January 4 – also began his morning with a bye followed by a quarterfinal win by fall over Don Bosco and a semifinal win by decision 6-0 over Dallas Center-Grimes.
In the champion match, Worthen won by medical forfeit over Vinton-Shellsburg’s senior Gabe Sanders – currently ranked No. 1 in Class 2A – who was forced to drop due to a head injury he sustained during his semifinals match, according to a Facebook posting made by his mother, Angie Sanders.
The Knights placed fifth overall with 141 points just behind Class 2A No. 4 ranked Davenport Assumption Catholic with 142.5 points.
First place went to Class 2A No. 1 West Delaware with 224.5 points.
Following the Bobcat Invite, the Union grapplers faced a busy week with plans to travel to New Hampton on Tuesday, Jan. 11 for a quad dual with Central Elkader, New Hampton and Osage and then to Cascade on Saturday, Jan. 15 for the Cascade Tournament which is set to feature 15 teams.
Tournament action begins at 9:00 a.m. at Cascade High School.