• Keith Hjelle

Three Charger Grapplers Headed to State Meet!

Updated: Feb 15

It was a bittersweet day for ACGC wresters and fans on Saturday, as the Chargers sent three wresters to the state tournament, but saw two seniors end their careers on the Charger mat in the district tournament.

Freshman Tegan Slaybaugh and seniors Gunnar Larsen and Cale Rowley will continue their seasons at the state meet at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines later this week. On the downside, Seth Danker and Cristian Nolte, two thirty win seniors, failed to qualify for the right to wrestle at state. Danker was vying for a third trip to the "Well." Larsen and Rowley will make return trips to Des Moines as they both qualified last year.

Slaybaugh (35-8, 106 lb) won by an 11-6 decision over Jacob Downey of Logan-Magnolia in his first bout, before falling to Ogden's Kolton Munson, 7-0. Since he was then paired with Downey again and had already beaten Downey once, Slaybaugh claimed second place by no contest and is headed to Wells Fargo.

Larsen's (13-2, 132 lb) route to his second place finish was largely the same as Slaybaugh's. Larsen threw Westwood of Sloan's Derek Gilbert in 1:53 in his first match before losing to Hagen Heistand of Logan-Magnolia by a 19-4 technical fall. Larsen claimed the runner up spot over Gilbert by virtue of his previous win over Gilbert. Larsen heads to Des Moines with a 93-22 career record.

The third Charger headed to Des Moines is senior Cale Rowley (29-8, 152 lb) who started out with a pin of Kaden Broer of West Monona in 2:20. After his initial win Rowley lost by fall to Briar Reisz of Logan-Magnolia in 1:21, and was awarded second place when his next opponent was Broer who he had already defeated. Rowley's career mark now stands at 106-66.

Notably missing from the group headed to Wells Fargo is Danker (34-3, 138 lb). The Charger senior was decisioned 10-6 by Matt Peters of Lawton-Bronson in his first match. After Peters was pinned in the finals by Wyatt Reisz of Logan-Magnolia, it meant that Peters was awarded second place by virtue of his previous win over Danker. Danker finished third after he threw Jaxon Christensen of Nodaway Valley in 1:18. Danker had gone to state twice previously--as a freshman and last year as a junior. He ended his high school career with a glossy 121-34 won-loss record.

Christian Nolte (30-15, 170 lb) was the fifth Charger to compete yesterday and found himself on the losing end of two falls. In first round action Nolte was thrown by Kolby Scott of Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto in 0:54. In the match for third place Nolte was pinned by Brock Meier of Alta-Aurelia in 1:16, ending his Charger career with a 54-32 record.

"We are very excited that we have three state qualifiers". veteran Charger coach Shawn Danker said. "The Charger wrestlers had a tremendous environment to perform in on Saturday. We had some awesome upsets and some heartbreak for our families and fans. I truly respect all of our wresters and the effort they have put in and the way they accepted their wins and losses on Saturday. I am excited to take these three guys to the state wrestling tournament which begins on Thursday at nine o'clock."

The Chargers finished third as a team with 50 points, while Logan-Magnolia ran away with the meet with 156.5 points and crowned five champions.

Team scores: Logan-Magnolia 156.5, South Central Calhoun 76, ACGC 50, West Monona 48, Ogden 45, Alta/Aurelia 40, Nodaway Valley 30, Westwood Sloan 30, East Sac County 28, Audubon 25, Lawton-Bronson 22, Coon Rapids-Bayard 19, Maple Valley 14

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