—by Todd Thorson
The Roland-Story wrestling team had two representatives at the 2A District meet held Saturday (Feb. 15) in Webster City. Junior Parker Witthuhn and senior Jose Cruz both qualified by winning sectional titles the week before.
Jose struggled in his two matches, finishing fourth at 220 lbs. In his opening match, Jose took on Alex Paulson of Forest City and scored the first four points of the match at the end of the first period, registering a two-point take down as well as a two point near fall. In the second period, Paulson earned a reversal and a near fall to tie the score, heading to the final period. After Paulson posted a take down to take a 6-4 lead, Jose managed a reversal near the end of the third period to tie the score once again at 6-6. Unfortunately, with only a few seconds remaining, Paulson wriggled free for an escape, thus winning the match 7-6.
Cruz then wrestled in the third place match against Ballard’s Alex Silberstein, the same wrestler Jose defeated in the sectional 7-3. But the result was different this time around, with Silberstein posting a 2-0 victory over Jose. In the true second place match, Silberstein defeated Paulson 7-2 to earn a trip to state. Paulson had lost to the 220 lb. champion Kendrick Suntken of Hampton-Dumont in the final prior to his wrestle back with Silberstein. Jose finishes his career at Roland-Story with a fine 19-5 record this season.
Parker qualified for his second consecutive trip to the state tournament by winning the 126 lb. class. In his first match he pinned Austin Oborny of Garner-Hayfield/Ventura in 2:42 to reach the finals. Witthuhn posted a take down and near fall in the first period to take a 4-0 lead, and then soon pinned Oborny in the second period to gain the victory. Against Nathan Macki of Ballard, Parker fell behind 2-0 on a take down. But after that, it was all Parker. Parker scored a reversal and a near fall to take a 4-2 lead in the second period. After Parker deferred his position choice to the third period, Macki chose the neutral position. Parker quickly earned a take down and once again turned his opponent over to get two separate three-point near falls. That gave Parker a comfortable 12-2 lead heading into the third period. But Macki came up lame in the final stanza and had to withdraw due to injury, which gave Parker the victory by default.
"I’m very excited for Parker, as he became Roland-Story’s 10th multiple-time state qualifier," said Coach Leland Schwartz. Parker will take a 30-7 mark into the state tournament and will face Dylan Beaver of Benton Community in his opening match Thursday morning (Feb. 20). The 2A competition is the first session of the state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines and gets under way at 9 a.m. The 2A tourney continues Friday morning (Feb. 21) at 9 a.m., followed by the next session at 3:30 p.m. The consolation bracket concludes on Saturday morning (Feb. 22) at 10 a.m., with the finals in all classes set for Saturday night at 6 p.m.