(KMAland) -- KMAland had 96 wrestlers from 34 different schools at the state tournament. Forty of the wrestlers left with some hardware while six of them wrestled for a title and two of them finished the season state champions.
The third annual All-KMAland wrestling team features 16 wrestlers, all of whom medaled. This year's team also features the four runners-up and two champions. The team was compiled by yours truly and features one wrestler from each weight as well as two at-large selections. Eligible candidates include wrestlers from the Corner, Western Iowa, Pride of Iowa, Rolling Valley and two Council Bluffs public schools (Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln). Criteria considered included overall record, head-to-head results and postseason performance.
This year's team includes six repeat selections, seven seniors, four sophomores three juniors and two seniors. Here they are:
106 Pounds: Gable Porter, Freshman, Underwood
The highly touted high school debut of Porter was as good as advertised. He finished the season 35-0 and captured the state title. He grinded out a trio of decision victories on to his first title. Coach Joe Stephens told me at the start of the year that Gable Porter could be as good as anybody. Turns out he might be right.
113 Pounds: Jace Rose, Sophomore, Riverside
Rose was excruciatingly close to making the finals. He finished the season 41-4 with two of those losses coming in the semifinals and third-place match by a combined two points. He led his semifinal in the waning seconds, but was reversed and unable to escape. He made leaps and bounds this year and I would not be shocked if he's wrestling for a title next season.
120 Pounds: Hagen Heistand, Sophomore, Logan-Magnolia
Heistand lost twice this season and they were both to eventual state runner-ups. He battled injuries this season and battled back from a quarterfinal loss to place third. He's been extremely close to getting over the hump and into the finals. It could just be a matter of time.
126 Pounds: Wyatt Reisz, Freshman, Logan-Magnolia
The freshman had a stellar high school debut and posted a 46-5 record en route to a fifth-place finish at the state tournament. Spoiler alert.....Reisz is one of three Lo-Ma underclassmen on this team. The future is bright for Coach Dan Thompson and the Panthers.
132 Pounds: Cole Cassady, Senior, Martensdale-St. Marys
Cassady concluded his phenomenal high school career by finally getting to the state finals, unfortunately he ran into a buzzsaw named Robert Avila from Lisbon but Cassady's finals defeat does not take away from his tremendous senior season, where he went 45-2.
138 Pounds: Logan James, Senior, Underwood
James had the misfortune of being on the wrong end of history. James made the finals twice in his career, only to fall victim to Lisbon senior Cael Happel's quest for four state titles. However, James battled fiercely with Happel for the first minute Saturday night and wrestled better against Happel than anybody else did during the tournament. James finished his senior campaign with a 28-3 record.
145 Pounds: Nick Hamilton, Sophomore, Underwood
Hamilton took on all challengers this season and the it resulted in a 54-0 record and his first state championship. He cruised to the semis, pulled away late in his semifinal match and won a thrilling 7-5 decision over Don Bosco's Cael Rahnivardi to claim his first title. I don't think he's done winning titles.
152 Pounds: Briar Reisz, Junior, Logan-Magnolia
I know I'm supposed to be impartial and I try to be all the time, but I hurt for Briar Reisz Saturday night. The junior has made it to the finals three times and fell short each time. He nearly got his first title this year and might have if the match went another 30 seconds. After his match, Reisz handled his interview with grace and told Ryan Matheny that he'd been wrestling with a torn ACL. That takes guts.
160 Pounds: Justin McCunn, Senior, Red Oak
McCunn did not have the tournament he was hoping for, but that doesn't take away from his awesome season. He lost just four times, two of which came in the state tournament. He battled through injuries, was a force when at full strength and has possibly started a new trend of wrestlers at Red Oak.
170 Pounds: Drew Venteicher, Senior, Bedford-Lenox
Venteicher lost just twice this season and they were both at the state tournament to the same opponent. He finished the season 35-2 and with a fourth-place medal. He also posted exciting wins over McCunn and Tri-Center's Bryson Freeberg.
182 Pounds: Jackson Kinsella, Junior, Creston-OM
Oh what could have been if Jackson Kinsella's attempted throw late in his finals match could have stuck. Kinsella went toe-to-toe with Sage Walker (Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont) and came up one-point shy of beating Walker. His two losses this year came to Walker in the finals and to the seventh-ranked wrestler in the nation. That's a pair of quality losses that I'm sure he'll be able to build off.
195 Pounds: Carter Maynes, Senior, Red Oak
Maynes was one of my favorite wrestlers to watch this season. The majority of his matches featured a throw, it was just a matter of who was on the giving or receiving end. Maynes threw more than he was thrown and ended the season at 40-5 with a fifth-place medal.
220 Pounds: Crew Howard, Junior, Clarinda
Howard was a beast all season. He returned from an injury sustained during football season and came into the state tournament undefeated. He made it to the semis before losing. He then calmly responded with a pin in his consolation match to earn the right to wrestle for third. That match didn't go how he'd hoped, but he still took fourth and now has some more fuel for next year, which I think will be a monster year for him.
285 Pounds: Cale Roller, Senior, Atlantic-CAM
First off, I don't think I've taken the rightful time I should have to pay respects to Roller's mustache. As someone who cannot grow a mustache, I respect an impressive one and Roller had just that. He had an impressive season, too, going 48-8, making the semis and finishing fourth. He now holds the honor of being the highest place-winner in his family.
At-Large: Stevie Barnes, Sophomore, Underwood: We don't like leaving deserving wrestlers off this team, so we created a pair of at-larges for this year. One from the 106 to 145 divisions and another for 152 and up. Barnes had the best argument in the lightweights, going 57-3 on the season with two of his three losses coming in the state tournament. His two seasons of high school wrestling have featured a runner-up and third-place medal. That's pretty good.
At-Large: Blake Thomsen, Senior, Underwood: Thomsen had the type of year you'd never wish upon anybody and I honestly did not expect to be writing about him a month ago. But, like he's done his whole career, Thomsen overcame the adversity in front of him and grew from it. He reached the semifinals and had his opponent on their back, but for only a second. He fell in the semis and ended up taking sixth. I know it's probably not the result he was hoping for, but the fact he overcame what he did and accomplished what he did is nothing short of remarkable. I tip my cap to him and his stellar career.
Our KMAland Coach of the Year and Wrestler will be announced in the upcoming days. Who could they possibly be?