DES MOINES — A returning state finalist and seeded second in his 126-pound weight class, Daniel Meeker has aspirations to make a deep run at the Class 1A state tournament this weekend.

The Wapello junior almost got caught looking ahead Thursday.

Locked in a one-point match in the third period, Meeker used an escape and takedown to claim a 5-1 win over Underwood’s Zane Ziegler in the opening round at Wells Fargo Arena.

“Kids come to these tournaments and are a little cocky and arrogant,” Meeker said. “That (match) was a punch in the face to put me back to reality, back to last year where I had to just be in my own (world) doing my own thing.

“I’ll be ready for the next one.”

Meeker (33-4) said he felt sick halfway through the match.

“I just put my head down and grinded through the rest,” he said. “That kid was kind of funky and kept putting me out of my style. I didn’t adjust well and wasn’t fully mentally prepared for that match.”

Meeker’s cousin, Colton, edged Lisbon’s ninth-ranked Quincy Happel in the first round at 113, 9-8.

Thanks to a four-point move and good defense in the final half-minute, Colton Meeker prevailed against one of the most iconic names in Iowa wrestling. The Happel family has nine state championships.

“I came in here not worrying about names or who is who,” Colton said. “We just wanted to see if we wrestled our hardest, where could we go?

“This brings my confidence up a little bit.”

Midland’s Damon Huston (106) and Brett Schoenherr (220) advanced to the quarterfinals with pins. Huston, the top seed, stuck Colfax-Mingo sophomore Noah Strohmeyer in 1 minute, 5 seconds.

Schoenherr, in his third state appearance, pinned Postville’s Isaac Steffans in 1:41. It was the first time Schoenherr reached the quarterfinals.

“In the past, I’ve been out here by myself,” Schoenherr said. “To have somebody out here with me, it motivates you a little bit. When Damon gets falls, you want to get falls.

“I just wanted to come out and get things done — get on, get off and get to the second day.”

Nobody else from the Q-C area won in the opening round.

Wilton’s Kael Brisker (106) lost an 8-6 match to Denver’s Joe Ebaugh, but rebounded with a second-period pin in the consolation round.

North Cedar’s Brody Hawtrey (138) suffered a major decision setback, but regrouped with a fall to remain in contention for a state medal.

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Sports Editor

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.