DES MOINES — It was a move Matt Robertson has used several times during his career, one he learned from four-time state champion and Augustana coach Eric Juergens as a youth wrestler.

“I’ve had it in my back pocket for a long time,” he said. “When Juergens taught me that, it looked flashy and I like to look good.”

The Davenport Assumption junior pulled it out Friday night in the third period of a semifinal match that was deadlocked at 6 against New Hampton’s Noah Fye.

Robertson pinned Fye with a cement mixer in 5 minutes, 24 seconds to secure a spot in tonight’s Class 2A final at 132 pounds.

“All I think he had to do was attack his legs, but he went for the sexier move and ended up getting it,” Assumption coach Pete Bush said. “He has the ability to have the confidence that is necessary under any circumstance to be able to be successful.

“He’s inspiring to me because he values and really believes in his own skills.”

Teammate Julien Broderson joined him in the finals. The sophomore 160-pounder edged Solon’s Trevor Nelson, a state runner-up last season, 6-5 in the semifinals.

Broderson built a 3-0 cushion, squandered it and then tallied a reversal with 23 seconds left for the go-ahead points.

“I don’t know if that was my best match because I thought I’d beat him by more than that,” Broderson said. “He definitely upped his level in the third period.”

His brother, Noah, lost a 2-1 decision in extra time to second-ranked Kadon Hulett of Creston/Orient-Macksburg in the 220-pound semifinals.

After both wrestlers recorded an escape in regulation, Hulett got out in the first 30-second tiebreaker. Noah failed to do so.

“I know Noah will review that match over and over in his head because he was so, so close,” Bush said. “He needs to come back and win that consolation bracket (for third place).

“Noah put a lot of time in and he’s a state champion-quality wrestler. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen for him tonight.”

Assumption is fourth place in the team race, 1 1/2 points behind Creston/Orient-Macksburg for third and a team trophy. In addition to its three semifinalists, Sean Casey (126) and Brock Timmons (170) will vie for seventh place.

Robertson spent his first two seasons at Pleasant Valley. He transferred after last season and has flourished with the Knights compiling a 45-1 record.

In the quarterfinals, Robertson downed second-ranked Brayden Curry of Sergeant Bluff-Luton, a two-time finalist, 5-0.

He’s beaten three state-ranked competitors this week. The final hurdle is Keokuk’s Brant O’Shea (40-1), ranked fourth. They haven’t met this season.

“It makes me feel like I should be on top of the podium (Saturday),” Robertson said.

After not qualifying for the state tournament last year, Julien Broderson started the season in the bottom half of the top 10 but has gradually worked his way up. He knocked off top-ranked Luke Hageman of Dyersville Beckman in the district final.

“I knew it was going to be this way this year,” Julien said. “I knew I was going to come out on top and nobody believed it. I’m here and I’m showing it.”

New Hampton’s Ryan Gorman, who handed Julien one of his two losses, awaits in the final.

West Liberty’s Bryce Esmoil (195) and Columbus Community’s Jarod Kadel (106) earned spots in the final, too.

Esmoil pinned Atlantic’s Zac Stork after falling behind 5-0 in the first period. The junior body-locked Stork to his back for a pin in 2:20.

“I was squeezing the hardest I’ve ever squeezed,” Esmoil said. “He was done. He was hurting.”

Third a season ago, Esmoil (41-2) faces unranked Cody Fisher of Woodward-Granger in the final.

“It has been a good tournament,” he said. “I just need one more.”

Kadel scored a reversal in overtime to pull out a 5-3 win over fifth-ranked Carter Weeks of Vinton-Shellsburg.

Camanche’s Nate Thoms (138) can place as high as third today along with Columbus’ Tucker Morrison (170) and West Liberty’s Will Esmoil (106) and Joe Kelly (152). Central DeWitt's Nick Smith (220) wrestles for seventh. 


Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.