Quest for a title
By David Swartz
DES MOINES – A day after breaking Luke Moffitt’s school record for career victories, Estherville Lincoln Central’s Oscar Ramirez became the first Midget to advance to the wrestling finals since Moffitt in 1998.
Wrestling at 132 pounds, Ramirez began Friday against Brock Jennings of Osage in the quarterfinals. Ramirez scored takedowns in both the first and second periods to lead 4-2. After giving up a penalty point for stalling, Ramirez earned an escape and takedown in the third period and held on for a 7-4 victory.
In the afternoon semifinal, Ramirez faced second-ranked and undefeated Bryce Leshen (53-0) of Albia.
Ramirez scored a first-period takedown to take the early lead. He couldn’t escape while on the bottom in the second period. Leshen chose the neutral position in the third period, but it was Ramirez scoring the deciding takedown with 27 seconds left in the match and then holding on for a 4-0 victory.
Ramirez (43-1) will face seventh-ranked Eric Clarke (30-10) of Davenport Assumption in Saturday’s finals. The finals for all classes start at 6 p.m.
Meanwhile ELC’s other two wrestlers competing in the consolation bracket missed out on the medal round as they both lost their second-round consolation match.
At 152 pounds, Blake Gjerde faced Michael Neal of Vinton-Shellsburg. Gjerde scored the first points with a takedown 35 seconds into the match, but Neal scored an immediate reversal. Neal then got Gjerde turned and scored the fall in 1:25.
The Midget senior ends his final season with a 37-12 record.
At 220 pounds, fifth-ranked Chase Bonner faced sixth-ranked Tyler Johansen of North Fayette Valley.
After a scoreless first period, Johansen scored the first point with an escape in the second period. Bonner answered with an escape to start the third period, but Johansen came up with a takedown. While Bonner was able to escape, he couldn’t come up with the game-winning takedown and lost 3-2.
Bonner ends his junior season with a 44-6 record.