DES MOINES — When Mayson Shannon’s MRI came back and revealed a herniated disc in his back earlier this season, the North Scott senior thought his wrestling career was over.
“It beat me up a little bit,” Shannon admitted. “After some time off, I just started thinking, ‘I need one more shot at this. I can do it.’”
After an extended period of rest, Shannon returned for the final dual meet of the regular season and had less than 10 matches this winter coming into Thursday’s Class 3A state tournament.
The 132-pounder used a first-period takedown and a two-point nearfall to knock off 10th-ranked Zach Main of Cedar Rapids Jefferson 4-0 in the opening round at Wells Fargo Arena.
It highlighted a banner day for the Lancers, who advanced eight into the quarterfinals and are in third place after the opening session with 22.5 points. Southeast Polk, also with eight quarterfinalists, leads with 30 points and Fort Dodge is second with 28.5.
“We had just about as good a round as you could hope for,” North Scott coach Drew Kelly said.
The Lancers had 10 qualify, but 160-pounder John Behrens was forced to withdraw before the tournament after sustaining a concussion in the state duals competition Wednesday.
Jacob Schipper (113 pounds), Caleb McCabe (126), Collin Lewis (138), Triston Richardson (182), Zach Petersen (195), Wyatt Wriedt (220) and Cole Ernst (285) joined Shannon in the quarterfinals.
Bettendorf had four advance in the winner’s bracket — TJ Cole (120), Will Jefferson (132), Mason Morris (138) and Alex Lopez (170).
Clinton moved two through in Jess Chapman (138) and Tyler Clark (285) while Pleasant Valley’s Ryan Loyd (160) and Davenport Central’s Sam Serrano (195) also won their first bouts.
Redemption was the theme for the Lancers.
Shannon, Lewis and Richardson lost first-round matches here last season. They responded in emphatic fashion.
Lewis majored 10th-ranked Matt Connolly of Dubuque Senior 13-4, and Richardson upended Beau Lombardi of West Des Moines Valley, 6-1.
“This place can do weird things to people the first time they’re down here,” Kelly said. “You’ve got to be able to handle the environment, the pressure and situation. You like to handle it the first time, but sometimes you don’t.”
Lewis, the aggressor at the outset, admitted he had a point to prove.
“I came here with a little revenge, almost,” he said. “Going out last year and losing that first one and trying to fight back and not placing, that was tough.”
Shannon is at the state tournament for the third time. He has yet to place.
“This is my last season to do it,” Shannon said. “The one thing I wanted to do this season was get back here and on the podium.”
Schipper had a technical fall win in his opener. McCabe, a conference champion at the junior varsity level last season, pinned ninth-ranked Brock Espalin of Des Moines East in 2 minutes, 33 seconds.
“I was pretty nervous, but as soon as the whistle blew, it went away,” McCabe said. “You dream about this when you’re a little kid, you watch it and it is awesome just wrestling down here.”
Wriedt opened his title defense with a pin against fourth-ranked Jacob Eggleston of Waverly-Shell Rock in 1:47, and Ernst pulled out a 4-3 win over Johnston’s Jake Ryan in overtime.
With Behrens unable to go, Bettendorf’s Alex Blizzard — who finished third at the district meet — took his spot.
Bettendorf didn’t receive the initial call until around 9 p.m. Wednesday. Blizzard had to shed pounds to make weight.
“We had to do some running last night,” Bettendorf coach Dan Knight said. “He did it with a smile. It was probably his happiest weight cut all year.”
Blizzard lost both his matches, but Bettendorf had six of its seven other qualifiers survive the first day.
Cole majored Lewis Central’s Tanner Higgins 13-3 in his state debut.
“I started off kind of slow and not very confident in my shots,” Cole said. “I just started to finish in the second and third periods.”
Jefferson edged Dubuque Hempstead’s Jacob Faber 3-1, Morris dominated Western Dubuque’s Ryker Kurimski 9-2 and Lopez outlasted Glewnood’s Brett Mower 13-9.
Morris didn’t win a match at state as a freshman. He failed to qualify last year.
“Last year when I didn’t make it, I told myself this will never happen again,” Morris said. “I just kept working all summer, fall and winter. I was ready for this.”
Given the inexperience of his team, Knight was pleased with how his group responded.
“They’re putting themselves in place to do what they want to do and that’s get on the awards stand,” Knight said.
Loyd stuck seventh-ranked Tyger Whitters of Cedar Rapids Prairie in 3:50. Serrano edged eighth-ranked Sam Pape of Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 3-2, and Clark bested No. 7 Nathan McDonald of Waukee, 8-2.
Only seven of the 27 Q-C 3A metro participants were eliminated Thursday.