The Roland-Story wrestling team celebrated an outstanding individual accomplishment and saw some young wrestlers step up in 2019-20.
The Norsemen saw senior Joe Hovick make the state tournament for the second year in a row and become a place-winner for the first time in Class 2A. They also had three underclassmen hit the 20-win mark on the season.
“I was very pleased with the effort from everybody,” Roland-Story head coach Leland Schwartz said. “We definitely saw a lot of growth from our wrestlers.”
Roland-Story went 9-23 in duals as a team. The Norse tied Nevada for fourth in Heart of Iowa Conference duals with a 3-4 dual mark.
“It was an up-and-down season,” Schwartz said. “We had a lot of inexperienced wrestlers in the lineup with a small squad. So it was tough to be competitive in a lot of duals, especially having a couple open spots in the lineup.”
Roland-Story picked up a pair of 60-12 dual victories over Fort Dodge St. Edmond, a 48-36 victory over West Central Valley, a 48-36 victory over Central Decatur and a 42-33 triumph over Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove in non conference competition. In conference competition the Norse took down Nevada (45-36) and edged Prairie City-Monroe by criteria (43-42).
Roland-Story’s other two victories came against Saydel. The Norse beat the Eagles once in a conference dual, 39-30, and once outside of the conference, 46-27.
Hovick was phenomenal in his final season wearing a Norsemen singlet. He followed up last year’s 34-13 record and state appearance by going 44-9 and placing eighth at state in 2020.
“Joe Hovick had an amazing season and was a four-year starter for us,” Schwartz said. “He has been an incredible example for all the other wrestlers to follow, doing things the right way, including eating right, watching his weight, lifting weights, and training hard.”
Hovick ended the season with 24 pins and two victories by technical fall.
In addition to placing eighth at state Hovick surpassed 100 victories for his career — finishing with 129, the third-most in school history. He also won both an individual Heart of Iowa Conference title and a Norsemen Invitational championship for the first time.
Freshman Christian Eslick had a huge freshman season for the Norsemen. He went 36-4 with 23 pins wrestling primarily at 126.
“Christian Eslick dominated as a freshman, which was awesome to see!” Schwartz said. “It wasn’t really a surprise based on the amount of wrestling he has done, but it was great for the team and him to be able to show that he will be a force to be reckoned with for the next three years.”
Health issues slowed Eslick at the end of the season. He was unable to compete at the HOIC meet and wasn’t able to reach districts after losing both of his matches at sectionals.
Junior Jimmy Philipsen was 28-10 wrestling mainly at 195. Philipsen picked up 20 victories by fall and took third at the HOIC meet.
Sophomore Eli Thorson joined Eslick as another talented young wrestler to hit 20 victories this season.
Thorson went 20-8 at 170. He recorded 10 pins during the season.
Sophomore Jay Sanderson picked up 16 wins at 132 and juniors Jackson Sterle and Ben Sarver 15 apiece at 160 and 106 respectively. Sanderson delivered five pins, Sterle eight and Sarver six.
Sanderson and Saver both placed fourth and Sterle fifth at the HOIC meet. All three wrestlers came in fifth at sectionals.
Sophomore Colin Streit also hit double digits in wins by finishing 11-13 wrestling at 120 and 126. Streit finished the season with five pins and he took third at sectionals and fourth at the conference meet.
Freshman Levi Webb had nine wins at 106, sophomore Colin Hansen eight at 285 and junior Caden Sporleder six at 145. Sophomore Max Petzenhauser and freshman Caden Strom chipped in five wins each at 220.
Sam Charlson was Roland-Story’s only other senior besides Hovick. He finished with four victories at 152 in his first season as a wrestler.
“It was great having him on the team and I know he’s glad that he did it,” Schwartz said. “I would have loved to have him on the team earlier.”
Freshman Joe Jarvis won three matches and junior Tyler Irvin also competed for Roland-Story.
Next season Roland-Story will be more experienced. The Norse want to be more competitive in duals and push more wrestlers through to districts and state.
“We hope to have better numbers next year as we are only graduating two seniors,” Schwartz said. “It will be tough to replace Joe’s leadership and production, but we have several incoming freshmen who are very talented and will be able to step into the lineup right away. I expect us to be very competitive next year.”