1.) Julien Broderson- Davenport Assumption
2.) Gabe Christenson- SE Polk
3.) Zach Ryg- Central Springs
4.) Brayden Wolf- Waverly-Shell Rock
5.) Chase McCleish- Newman Catholic
6.) Ashton Stoner-Degroot- CR Prairie
* This weight has what I would consider the best state champs. All 3 state champs are total studs with unbelievable talent and bright futures. It would be great to see a bracket where all three of these guys (Broderson, Christenson and Ryg) wrestled each other.
* Julien Broderson is this year’s 2A captain and for good reason. He won state as a Sophomore, Junior and Senior. He never lost a match since the middle of his Sophomore year. He lost two that year…close losses to Luke Hageman from Beckman and Ryan Gorman of New Hampton. He avenged both losses that season. He beat Hageman in the district finals and Gorman in the state finals. Broderson has been successful on the Freco circuit as well and more or less, destroyed everyone he wrestled his HS Senior year. Iowa State got a good one… and he’s a star baseball player to boot! An extremely talented pitcher.
* Gabe Christenson had one close loss to an “outta stater” I believe at the Cheesehead. That kid went on to win state in IL. Gabe won everything else. If you want to talk about the state’s pound for pound best wrestlers, you have to mention Gabe Christenson. He was a Junior this year who won state. He placed 6th as a Freshman and 4th as a Sophomore. Both years he was a big underclassmen and the majority of his losses at state came to upperclassmen, Tyrell Gordon, a guy who has flashed big time at UNI. Christenson is the son of Jason, the SE Polk head coach. It’s pretty much common knowledge at this point, the dynasty that Coach Christenson has put together and maintained so well. Gabe beat a Nebraska state champ as well as an Arkansas state champ this season. He also defeated a Mizzou runner-up. This isn’t including all the stud Iowans he beat this year, his most notable one being against Brayden Wolf from Waverly-Shell Rock. A lot of people have expressed their desire to see a Gabe vs. Julien match. I am of the crowd who would love to see this happen, but I’d throw the underrated Zach Ryg in there as well. We may see Christenson vs. Broderson in college. Christenson is a Hawkeye and Broderson is a Cyclone.
* While several people have mentioned the desire to see a Broderson vs. Christenson match, they sometimes forget that Zach Ryg is in the mix as well and it would be great to see this often times overlooked guy wrestle both Julien and Gabe in a round-robin bracket. Zach Ryg seems like this year’s Taylan Entriken…Entriken is a 1A guy from Hudson that graduated in 2017 who won a stacked state bracket his Senior year that included Alburnett’s Tanner Sloan and was pounced on as a sleeper recruit by Iowa State. Ryg qualified for state 4 times, placed 6th, 5th and won 1A 195 as a Senior this year. He and Broderson have met twice that I know of this offseason and have split. Granted, offseason wrestling is different than in season, for some guys stay in wrestling shape, while others take a break or start another sport and may become out of wrestling shape in the process. So sometimes it’s hard to know what to take from those types of matches, but I tend to think that this kid is the real deal and should definitely be mentioned while discussing some of the state’s best wrestlers. He won some big matches this year… several against Chase McCleish, a match against Dalton Chipp, Logan Koedam, etc. If he wrestles in college, then I think we will hear his name a lot in the future.
* Brayden Wolf has been a standout in his grade for over a decade. He only lost a couple times, once to Christensen in the state finals and the other to Broderson… so his losses were obviously against good competition. He placed last year and followed up this year as a Junior placing 2nd at state. He wrestled a phenomenal match vs. fellow 3A 195 standout, Ashton Stoner-Degroot from CR Prairie in the semis. Hopefully Christenson, Wolf, Stoner-Degroot and Cade Parker from CR Kennedy all grow apart to an extent next season, for all 4 of those guys are good enough to be state champs and all 4 of them have a season or two left in their HS careers. Wolf is the man.
* Ashton Stoner-Degroot was nothing short of completely dominant all season with an exception of his semifinal match against Brayden Wolf…a guy who has always had Stoner-Degroot’s number. ASD placed the last two years and expect him to keep building on that… the kid is very deeply entrenched into this mix of top tier 195 lbers.
* Chase McCleish had 5 losses on the year. And they were all to one guy…Zach Ryg…who he lost to in the state finals. He gave Ryg some good matches, though. His best of the year. McCleish placed 6th and 2nd at state and is still doing well in offseason work. The kid is a stud.
* IN THE HUNT: Cade Parker from CR Kennedy. Parker is probably more well known for his football accolades, for he led the state in tackles this year and is playing football in college. However, don’t sell him short on his wrestling abilities. He had a great Junior season in which he placed 4th at state. He had a few losses to Stoner-Degroot. He had 5 losses on the year…to Christensen, Wolf and 3 to Stoner-Degroot. He was dominant other than that. Watch for him next year on the field and the mat.