BCIG two-day tourney tough as nails again
BY MATT PFIFFNER
One of the most discussed high school wrestling tournaments every year is the
annual Battle Creek-Ida Grove two-day event. It kicks off this Friday night and
concludes late Saturday afternoon in Ida Grove.
Twenty-one teams from Iowa and one more from Florida will battle it out for one
of the most sought-after regular season tournament titles in the state. There are
always dozens of ranked individuals and top-flight teams entered in the tournament
and this year is no different.
Kingsley-Pierson, ranked third in The Predicament's Class 1A Team Tournament
rankings, has been on a tear so far this year and is the favorite to win the tourney
title. But eighth-ranked Pocahontas Area may have something to say about that,
as well as strong teams from Audubon and the host BCIG/Odebolt-Arthur.
Most of the schools in the tournament are 1A, but there is a nice mix of 2A and
3A squads as well. The teams entered this year are Audubon, Aurelia/Galva-Holstein,
OA-BCIG- A team, Denison, Kingsley-Pierson, West Lyon, Okoboji, Pocahontas Area,
Prairie Valley, Lawton-Bronson, Schaller-Crestland, Sgt. Bluff-Luton, Southern Cal,
Storm Lake, Twin River Valley, West Harrison, Westwood, Wall Lake View Auburn,
Woodbine, Woodbury Central, Gulf High School-Florida, OA-BCIG B Team.
Here is a quick breakdown of each weight class, including the possible big matches
and how it may all turn out. The lower to middle weight classes appear to be the most
interesting, so more time will be spent on those.
Dillon Clark of West Harrison, ranked seventh in 1A as a freshman, appears to be
the favorite here. If Zach Connolly of Woodbury Central, another talented freshman,
is at 103, he will battle for the crown. But he may be at 112. Zach Beekman of
Pocahontas, a third tough freshman, could make some noise here.
Ben Knight of Sergeant Bluff-Luton, State runner-up at 103 last season and ranked
second at 112 right now in 2A, is the clear-cut favorite at this weight. It would take a
big upset to stop Knight from winning the gold.
There should be some fireworks at this weight class. Jordan Hasenkamp, a sophomore
at Twin River Valley, is ranked second in 1A. He made a name for himself at this
tournament last season when he defeated Knight in the finals. He went on to a runner-up
finish at 103 at State and has been outstanding this year. Brad Gustafson of Aurelia/
Galva-Holstein is ranked third in 2A and will be a tough test for Hasenkamp if they meet.
Also at this weight is the tough Tim Culler of Kingsley-Pierson, ranked seventh in 1A.
Mike Jones of Okoboji is another kid to watch out for. There should be very good
semifinals and an outstanding championship match here.
If Kirk Landon of Audubon and Joel Anderson of BCIG/O-A don't meet in the finals
at 125, there has been a huge upset somewhere along the way. Landon, ranked
second in 1A and Anderson, ranked third in 2A, appear to be a few steps above
anyone else at this weight. If you're looking for a spoiler, Daniel Hiserote of
Sergeant Bluff-Luton could be the one to watch.
This weight is 1A top-ranked Brandon Bohlke's to lose. The Kingsley-Pierson
junior won State as a freshman, didn't go out last season and appears back on
top again this year. He is undefeated and has already handed 2004 State champ
Chris Utesch of Akron-Westfield a loss. There is no one near Bohlke's talent at this
weight and he should cruise.
Several talented 1A wrestlers may battle for this weight's title. Freshman phenom
Brody Verschoor of Kingsley-Pierson has excelled in his first varsity season and
is ranked eighth in 1A. Brooke Irlmeier of Audubon is in the No. 10 spot in the 1A
rankings and Jesse Worrell of Westwood (Sloan) could easily be ranked along
with them. Expect one of those three to win Saturday night.
This weight could give fans one of the best finals matches in the tournament. A
pair of highly-ranked 1A individuals could face off Saturday night. Second-ranked
Tim Poyzer of Pocahontas Area and No. 5 Brett Rose of Woodbury Central appear
to be on a collision course to decide who the top 140-pounder in the area is. If
someone spoils this match, it just might be the talented Mark Cirks of Twin River Valley.
Ben Harrison of Pocahontas Area, ranked 10th in 1A, is the lone rated wrestler
at this weight class. But don't expect this tournament to be easy for him. Richie
Steffen rejoined the Kingsley-Pierson team this winter after taking last year off
and has looked tough. Travis Strasser of Audubon is another talented individual
who could end up on top of the 145-pound mountain.
If the possible championship match at 140 doesn't send you over to Ida Grove
Saturday, perhaps this one may. Second-ranked Joey Verschoor of Kingsley-
Pierson and No. 4 Nicholas Kolegraff of Okoboji have both been outstanding the
first half of the season and expect them to battle it out Saturday for the title.
It would be a huge upset if this match does not take place.
There are no ranked wrestlers at this weight class. One new face to keep your
eyes on at the tournament is freshman Isaiah Corbin of Kingsley-Pierson. He
has joined Brody Verchoor as rookies helping make a very good team even better.
This weight class, along with 160, is the most wide open in the tournament.
Pick out your favorite wrestler and see how far he can go. No one stands out
as a dominant favorite to win here.
West Lyon is a new face to the tournament this season and they bring with
them the No. 2-ranked 189-pounder in 1A, Alec Bonander. Expect him to have
one of the spots in the championship match. Facing him could be Kane Thompson
of Woodbine, who has been very strong this season. Jake Brinkman of Pocahontas
is another wrestler to watch.
Like it is with Bohlke at 130, this weight appears to be Matt Jorgenson's
to lose. The top-ranked man in 1A doesn't have any other ranked wrestlers in
his weight class at Ida Grove and should be able to cruise to the title and give
the Indians some big team points.
A pair of talented 1A big men will be expected to do well here, but you never
know what to expect in the heavyweight division. One slip-up and you could find
the best kid in the tournament on his back getting pinned in the first or second
round. Nathan Koskovich of Kingsley-Pierson, ranked seventh, and 10th-ranked
Austin Dickenson of Woodbine should do well and could meet in a very good
semifinal or final match, but don't bet the farm on it.