DES MOINES – Coming into the state tournament, there was one thing that most everyone could agree on: West Delaware was going to win the Class 2A traditional team title.
Osage would like a word.
Despite having just six qualifiers, the Green Devils are enjoying a sizable lead heading into the final day of action at the Iowa High School State Wrestling Championships. Osage has a pair of finalists and a 72-58 lead over second-place Centerville and Union. West Delaware, which had 12 state qualifiers, went 0-3 in the semifinal round and is in sixth place.
“I think our kids just got on a roll and they started to realize and believe that they had an opportunity to be in the mix,” Osage head coach Brent Jennings said. “We didn’t really trip up until this round and even then we were .500. We will take that with two in the finals and three on the backside.”
Junior Spencer Mooberry punctuated his semifinal performance with a pin of Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s Blake Liebe in 44 seconds to reach the finals at 170 pounds.
“Every single night I think about that,” said Mooberry of the win. “(The wallpaper) on my phone says ‘state champ, fear none.’
“That is my goal, it has been my goal all the way throughout. Time to get it done tomorrow night.”
Freshman Nick Fox continued his impressive tournament by downing Union’s Kolten Crawford 7-4 at 120. Fox scored early and kept the pressure on the third-seeded Crawford to secure his trip to Saturday night.
“I knew he was going to be working for his slide by because that is about all he has got on his feet,” Fox said. “I knew if I could just stop that I could get to my shots and get a lead. I am not much of a rider so I guess it is a good thing I am good on my feet.”
The Green Devils entered the semifinal round trailing West Delaware by three points, 47-44. Despite semifinal losses by Joe Sullivan at 126 and Zach Williams at 160, Osage has put some distance between itself and the field.
Sullivan nearly made it three finalists, but he could not finish a reversal in the closing seconds to fall to Independence’s Isaiah Weber, 2-1.
“Don’t count us out because we are dangerous and we have got a lot of falls,” said Mooberry, who placed sixth a year ago. “We have got five kids in the tournament all with aspirations of winning it. Some kids didn’t do it, but the rest of us are going to pick up the slack and we are going to place and place high.”
Averee Abben is the other Osage wrestler still battling on the backside. He has recorded two of the team’s seven pins at state.
It’s quite a showing for a Green Devil squad that finished 22nd in the standings a year ago.
“It will be exciting tomorrow,” Jennings said.