DeWITT, Iowa — Seth Adrian figured there was definite benefit to competing Saturday in one of most talent-rich Iowa Class 2A district wrestling tournaments in the state.
"If you can get through this district with all of the top-10 guys here, it has to help get you ready for state," said the Davenport Assumption 220-pound junior, one of eight Quad-City area entries to advance to the Iowa state tourney with top-two finishes in the district hosted by Central DeWitt.
"The competition here is as good as there is, and if you survive it, it is only going to make you better."
Among the 56-wrestler field, 34 competitors had won at least 30 matches this season, including 18 with at least 35 victories on their resumes before taking the mat Saturday.
"There aren’t any shortcuts here. With the teams in this district, you had to be ready to go," said Camanche senior Baylor Crigger, who won the 160 title with a pair of pins.
West Delaware won the team championship, crowning just two individual champions but qualifying eight wrestlers for this week’s Iowa state championships.
The Hawks piled up 130 points, easily outdistancing the 87 collected by runner-up Davenport Assumption. Camanche took third with 51.5, edging Mount Vernon by one point.
Nine schools crowned at least one champion in the district meet, which saw Assumption advance three wrestlers to the state tournament, Camanche and Maquoketa qualify two apiece and host Central DeWitt one.
Adrian and unbeaten senior Julien Broderson at 195 won championships for the Knights, with freshman Ethan Forker advancing as a runner-up to Central DeWitt’s Keaton Zeimet at 106.
In addition to Crigger, Camanche qualified Eric Kincaid as a runner-up at 126 while Maquoketa advanced Taven Rich as a district champ at 285 and Abraham Michel as a runner-up at 182.
Zeimet, Crigger, Broderson and Rich pinned their way to district titles.
"You know at this level, you’re going to get everyone’s best shot. Guys don’t have anything to lose," Broderson said. "You bring your best and try to get on and off the mat as quickly as you can."
Improving to 49-0 on the season, Broderson needed just 51 and 50 seconds to pin his way past Keean Kamerling of Mount Vernon and Jordan Bries of West Delaware to the district title at 195.
Crigger was equally efficient, needing just 1:07 and 1:02 to move to 40-1 on the season with pins over Jared Voss of West Delaware and Connor Dehn of Dubuque Wahlert at 160.
"You prepare all season to be ready for this day. This is when you have to ready if you want to get back to state," Crigger said. "It comes down to being ready now, and then getting ready for that next challenge."
Zeimet earned his second state berth by pinning Forker in 2:40 to carry a 33-1 record into the 2A state tourney for the Sabers.
"This is just the next step. There’s more out there, but you have to get through this one to get to that," Zeimet said. "All the preparation you put into it, this is when it pays off. I had good competition, but I was ready. That makes a difference."
Adrian was ready as well. He moved to 48-2 on the season for the Knights, claiming a 6-2 decision over Lake Stahlberg of Monticello in the 220-pound final.
"I tried not to get caught up in the situation. I stuck with what I’ve been doing all year, stayed aggressive and tried to be myself," Adrian said. "That approach, it worked."
Rich, a 34-4 junior, found motivation from his teammates as he earned his first state tourney berth.
"It’s an amazing feeling right now. I didn’t want it to end here today. I saw that happen to a couple of guys and I wanted this for them," said Rich, who pinned Carson Petlon of West Delaware in 2:57 in his championship match. "I saw an opportunity to make it happen and I was able to close out."
Michel advanced by beating Assumption’s Kole Kreinbring in a wrestleback at 182 after dropping a 6-1 decision to West Delaware’s Jack Neuhaus in the final.
Following a scoreless first period, Michel pinned Kreinbring in 3:41 to earn the second-place finish in the weight class.
While the bracket provided Kreinbring with a chance to wrestle back for a spot at state, the Knights’ T.J. Fitzpatrick at 120, Jacob Felderman at 132 and Adam Laubenthal at 145 didn’t have that opportunity and settled for third-place finishes.
Camanche’s Cade Everson at 152 and Eric Campie at 170 and Central DeWitt’s Robert Howard at 113 also took third.