DES MOINES — Cory Anderson does not fret about getting himself in precarious positions on the mat.
It makes his wrestling coach a bit uneasy.
“Unfortunately, he’s a little more comfortable than I’d like to see him in some of those situations,” Wilton coach Gabe Boorn said.
Anderson, in his state tournament debut, worked his way out of a couple difficult scrambles and scored a takedown in the third period to prevail 6-4 over Ogden’s Austin Flynn in a Class 1A opener at 126 pounds Thursday afternoon.
“I scramble a lot in practice and have a couple partners that scramble with me,” he said. “I’ve gotten used to it.”
Wilton brought only three wrestlers to Wells Fargo Arena but all three advanced into Friday’s quarterfinals.
Trey Brisker, who has finished second and third place each of the past two seasons, downed fourth-ranked Kaleb Boleyn of Waterloo Columbus 7-1 at 145 pounds. Bryce Oveson, a four-time qualifier, used a pair of takedowns to defeat Interstate 35’s Dante Arzami 5-3 at 182.
Even with a wealth of state tournament experience, Brisker admits it is the same feeling walking into the arena for the first time each year.
“Every year it is like my freshman year,” he said. “You get the nerves, but you’ve got to learn to control them the best that you can.”
Oveson is trying to earn a spot on the podium for the first time in his career. He was 1-2 last year and winless as a sophomore.
But with 38 victories this season, Oveson is confident he can make an extended run.
“I let the distractions get to me in past years,” he said. “This year, I’m viewing it as another tournament and one guy at a time. I feel a lot better about this year than any of the other years.”
Wapello’s Devon Meeker (113) and Louisa-Muscatine’s Austin Leopard (138) also moved into the quarterfinals.
After surrendering an early takedown, Meeker regrouped to knock off fourth-ranked Logan James of Underwood, 9-4.
“I got lost in my head a little bit,” Meeker said. “Coach told me to keep my head in the game. I got an escape, a takedown and just kept working.
“I knew he likes to roll around, so coach just told me to hand fight, stay in position, make sure you hit a nice, slick, clean shot and it worked.”
Leopard, ranked first at his weight, pinned eighth-ranked Kyle Decker of East Buchanan in 5 minutes, 9 seconds.
Trailing 3-2 after two periods, Leopard executed a switch for a reversal, took Decker to his back and finished the pin.
“I couldn’t get to his legs as much as I hoped,” Leopard said. “He’s a big, short guy. I knew he wasn’t going to be able to scramble with me or be as quick."
Wapello’s Daniel Meeker (106), Tipton’s Ben Emrich (120), Louisa-Muscatine’s Hunter Connor (182), Bellevue’s Mason Lyons (195) and Midland’s Brett Schoenherr (220) rebounded from first-round losses to win in the consolation bracket.