Aggressive Lancers roll to state
PREP WRESTLING | NORTH SCOTT 47, CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY 21

Aggressive Lancers roll to state

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ELDRIDGE — North Scott senior wrestler Will Burklow has been waiting for a chance to help his team.

After missing out on a chance at 220 pounds, Burklow moved up to wrestle at 285 as North Scott took on Cedar Rapids Kennedy with a state dual team berth on line Wednesday night at The Pit.

For someone who competes at 215 pounds, it was not going to be an easy feat. But after not being able to beat out Kade Tippet at 220, Burklow said he looked forward to his opportunity, and he made the most of it.

Burklow recorded a pin in 3 minutes, 49 seconds over Kennedy's Ethan Winsor to help North Scott reach the state quarterfinals with a 47-21 victory. The Lancers (17-6) will compete next Wednesday at 11 a.m. against an opponent yet to be determined.

Lancers coach Drew Kelly was happy to see Burklow contribute after working so hard to break into the lineup.

"Will has been in a battle all year, back and forth at 220, he kind of lost his spot at the end of the year but that was a great opportunity for him, especially as a senior," Kelly said. "I am really happy for Will. He was giving up 30 or 40 pounds to that (Kennedy) kid and Will did a great job of fighting to get that pin."

Burklow's attitude in his match was a snapshot of how the rest of the Lancers approached their matches. Burklow was rolling along up 11-2, late in the second period and probably could have just cruised to the win after racking up three near falls.

But he did not settle, getting Winsor to his back and closing things out with a nice headlock.

"That is something (Coach) Kelly talks about a lot and something we work on every day, closing guys out," Burklow said. "I just tried to be quicker, use my technique. I was excited about having a chance to help our team. This feels good to get a win and get our team to state."

Burklow's victory helped put the host Lancers up 12-3 early. Kennedy (11-2) had advanced to the regional final after Fort Madison had decided to forfeit the match to the Cougars in the semifinal.

Burklow's teammates seemed to follow his lead. Peyton Westlin (120), Josh Connor (132), Joey Petersen (195), Jake Matthaidess (160) and Zach Campbell (170) all recorded falls in less than two periods. Deven Strief (145) and Trace Gephart (113) also collected extra points for the home team with major decisions.

"Any time you are in a (tournament) dual like this, bonus points are huge. Any times we have a chance to put a guy away or get bonus points, we have to do it and the guys did a good job with that tonight," Kelly said.

Although the Lancers' Nate Link did not get any bonus points for North Scott, Link's match showed how an aggressive mindset may pay off down the road. Link scored a takedown with less than three seconds remaining in the first period to go up 2-0 in his match at 152. But his opponent, Divion Ocheltree, was eventually able to get back within 4-3 late in the second period.

Link was later penalized a point for stalling, which left the match tied at 4-4 with five seconds left. Instead of going to OT, Link pulled off a takedown at the buzzer to win the match, 6-4.

"Nate's just a fighter," Burklow said. "And he showed why in that match."

As for making state, this will be the Lancers' fourth trip in the last six seasons after advancing in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

"We have tremendous support from our fans and the guys love this environment," Kelly said. "It's a big reason why we have been successful. It's something important to our program (to make state) and every win is emotional for the guys and that makes it a special event."

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