220 Best of the Best, Garet Simms, Iowa Valley, Marengo

By Joshua Swafford for The Predicament

1.) Garret Sims- Iowa Valley Marengo
2.) Kody Fisher- Woodward Granger
3.) Beau Lombardi- Valley
4.) Cam Baker- CB Thomas Jefferson
5.) Nick Gaes- Alta-Aurelia
6.) Kaden Sutton- ADM- Adel

* It was very difficult to put the top 3 in order at this weight. They seem so evenly matched. Sims got the edge, for he was undefeated on the year. Capped off a brilliant HS career that consisted of 3 trips to the podium and 2 appearances in the state finals, one of them which he won. Fisher and Sims have met in the offseason and Fisher won, but to reiterate, this list is based on HS sanctioned event performances. Sims was flawless this year. He and Hagan were the only 220 lbers who went undefeated this season.

* Kody Fisher is only a Junior and wrestled in the finals for the 3rd straight year and won for the first time this year. Finally, he was able to get away from upperclassmen phenom, Bryce Esmoil, who defeated him in the finals both years. This kid made the finals as a Freshman and Sophomore at 195 lbs!!! That is incredible. Generally, it is not common for an underclassmen to perform so well at a heavier, upperclassmen-riddled weight like 195. And he has one more year. If D1 coaches aren’t chasing him down already, then well….they should be. `

* One of the coolest moments of this year’s state tournament for me was watching Beau Lombardi hugging his older brother, Rocky, after he won his finals match. Rocky made it to the finals his Senior year, but had some tough luck in the finals to put it lightly. Beau has been a standout in his grade for over a decade and he worked his butt off to win the state title this year. He had some losses at 285 that made you scratch your head a bit and that’s why he is at #3, but he is right there with all of them. He will be playing football for the Army next year.

* The 3A 220 lb. state finals match was a battle between two of Iowa’s most highly touted football players. Baker will be playing football at UNI next year. He finished his wrestling career as a 3 time state qualifier and 1 time runner-up. He did a great job and was flawless this year with an exception of his finals match and a 6-2 loss to Cody Fisher. And that finals match with Lombardi was about as close as a match could be. Baker is a long-time member of the Cobra Wrestling Club and represented that awesome club and the scrappy and criminally underrated HS team he wrestled for (CB Thomas Jefferson) very well.

* Nick Gaes pinned every guy who stepped on the mat with him this year, all the way until the state finals, in which he met Garret Sims and was beaten 13-4. Really impressive, though. He also placed 5th at state in 2018. Kid is legit.

* Kaden Sutton tooks some lumps during the season, for he lost close matches to guys like Nate Heckart, Cam Baker, Zach Beason, etc. All talented kids. However, this kid really stepped it up at the end of the year and if the eye-test can be depended upon, then I would confidently state that this kid was right in the mix with everyone at the weight when the season concluded. And he has another season to get it done next year!!!

* To be honest, and this is just MY opinion…but I don’t think the best of the best 220 lbers made the list. I believe Greg Hagan from Dowling was the best 220 lber this year. He beat Fisher in the season among several other nice wins where he didn’t appear to be beatable. He placed 2nd in 2018 as a Junior and won the prestigious Dominate in the Dells and Folkstyle National tournaments just recently. He is a Division 1 recruit who will be wrestling for Indiana next year. Unfortunately, he was not able to finish his Senior season, meaning the only tourneys he missed were districts and state due to personal reasons that I am confident that he is building from. The only reason you don’t see his name on the list is because the list is so heavily based on state tournament finishes. To be clear, though…I thought Hagan was the best 220 lber in 2019 and I will be rooting for him to continue his redemption tour at Indiana.

* IN THE HUNT: Gage Linahon from Newton took a handful of losses this season, some which were a bit ugly, but he put it together when he had to at state and placed 3rd at 3A 220. After losing his 1st match to Sophomore, Gabe Greenlee, Linahon went on a revenge tour of sorts. He won 5 matches to place 3rd and of the 5, 3 were against guys who had beaten him earlier in the year including a win over Greenlee in the consolation semis. I watched Linahon a lot this year and my take is that if he wrestles to the best of his abilities CONSISTENTLY, the sky is the limit for him. In other words, if he takes another step up next year and just dominates consistently opposed to being a bit streaky, then we may see him on top of the podium as a Senior next year.

And this same thing goes for Gabe Greenlee, a Sophomore who is improving at a rapid pace. Greenlee is the son of a man who is in the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, Justin Greenlee, a HS state champ for Waverly-Shell Rock as well as a 3 time AA/2-time runner-up for UNI…so he will obviously have elite tutelage in his journey as an upperclassmen. I’d be shocked if he didn’t win state as a Junior or Senior. Also watch for Kalob Runyon, another Sophomore from SE Polk who actually beat Greenlee in the regular season.