Area wrestlers begin the postseason this weekend as sectional meets take place throughout Iowa this Saturday.
For area wrestlers, Estherville Lincoln Central will be at the Class 2A meet in Cherokee, Spirit Lake Park will be at the Class 2A meet in Sioux Center and Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire will be at the Class 1A meet at Manson.
ELC will be familiar with most of the wrestlers at sectionals, having wrestled all but Laurens-Marathon this season. Other teams at Cherokee include Bishop Heelan Catholic, Cherokee, Humboldt and Spencer.
"We've been talking about pressure and being in control of what you can control," said ELC coach Dan Hewitt. "We talk about attitude, workout and the energy you bring to the match. Also we're just doing things to build confidence.
"We go in know this is going to be a teat and we have to control what we can."
ELC junior Oscar Ramirez, a two-time state qualifier who placed sixth last year at 120 pounds, enters the postseason with a 31-0 record at 138 pounds. Ramirez is ranked fourth at his weight.
Fellow team captain and junior Blake Gjerde (145), a two-time district qualifier, has a 27-8 record.
Junior Billy Snyder (152) also enters with a strong record at 23-8 and is coming off winning a Lakes Conference title.
Sophomore Chase Bonner (220) also has amassed more than 20 wins with a 22-14 record, wrestling at 220 pounds this season.
Of the other varsity wrestlers competing, only sophomore Grant Lausen (160) has a record above .500 at 8-6.
Others ELC wrestlers competing are freshman Joel McCoy (8-13) at 106 pounds; junior Cole Budach (16-20) at 120 pounds, junior Thomas Bortvit (16-23) at 138 pounds and Jake Bortvit (9-25) at 170 pounds.
Spencer, ranked ninth in Class 2A, brings five rated wrestlers into the postseason-junior Trevor Streuli (113), ranked eighth; senior John Christopherson (126), ranked second; junior Levi Gilmon (132), ranked seventh; senior Tanner Schaefer (160) ranked fourth and senior Blaine Johnson (170), ranked ninth.
Humboldt has two ranked wrestlers-senior Colton Schnetzer (160), ranked 10th and junior Reed Dreyer (195) ranked second.
Bishop Heelan brings junior Christian Brobst (195) ranked fifth and Cherokee has senior Michael Rosewall (285), ranked ninth.
The top two wrestlers from each weight will advance to the district meet on Saturday, Feb. 9 at Spencer. There, they will face the top two place-winners from the Sioux Center sectional meet, which includes wrestlers from Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley, MOC-Floyd Valley, Sheldon, Sioux Center, Spirit Lake Park and Western Christian.
Spirit Lake Park, ranked 10th, brings three ranked wrestlers into the postseason. Doug Miner (36-4) is ranked second at 120 pounds, Zach Skopec (41-2) is ranked second at 138 pounds and Kenten Murray (29-6) is ranked ninth at 145 pounds.
Other ranked wrestlers at the Sioux Center sectional include MOC-Floyd Valley junior Elijah Dahl, ranked ninth; Sheldon senior Bryce Kelleher, ranked ninth at 220 pounds and Sioux Center Dylan Van't Hof, ranked seventh at 152 pounds.
Class 1A Sectional
At Manson, teams competing include second-ranked Emmetsburg, Alta-Aurelia, Kuemper Catholic, Manson-Northwest Webster, Pocahontas Area, Ridge View and West Bend-Mallard. The winners from this sectional meet with the winners from the Central Lyon sectional in Rock Rapids at the district meet hosted by Okoboji in Milford on Feb. 9.
GTRA wrestlers competing on Saturday include Alex Hoffman (113), who is 20-3; Sam George (120), who is 2-12; Austin Thompson ((126), who is 32-8; Justin Rodriguez (138), who is 3-2; Tyler Hoffman (145), who is 19-21; Matt McGrauth (152), who is 21-15; Kodi Fergeson (160), who is 2-21; Hunter Gifford (170) who is 5-22; Kyle Long (195), who is 15-26 and Cody Thompson (285) who is 30-10.