Two state qualifiers highlight Norsemen wrestling season

Joe Randleman Staff Writer
Freshman Jay Sanderson was one of nine wrestlers to earn a double-digit win total for the Roland-Story wrestling team in 2018-19. Sanderson picked up 15 wins wrestling primarily at 120 pounds.

The numbers may not have been there, but the Roland-Story wrestling team made the most of what it had in 2018-19.

Roland-Story finished the season with a 7-17 dual record. But the Norse never had a full lineup, often having to forfeit five or six weight classes during a dual.

“We had too many open spots in the lineup,” Roland-Story head wrestling coach Leland Schwartz said. “At full strength we could have filled 12 out of the 14 weights, but we were never at full strength due to ineligibility and injuries.”

The Norsemen picked up wins over Gilbert (40-39), South Hamilton (45-33), AGWSR (49-15), Fort Dodge St. Edmond (54-15) and Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove (37-36). They also defeated Saydel twice, 66-18 and 48-12.

Roland-Story suffered two losses to Colfax-Mingo. The Norse also fell against Gilbert, Nevada, Prairie City-Monroe, Perry, Kuemper Catholic, Des Moines Lincoln, Ballard, West Hancock, Southeast Valley, West Central Valley, Greene County, North Polk, Webster City, Hampton-Dumont and Central Decatur.

Three of those losses were decided by one match — Kuemper Catholic (39-36), West Central Valley (41-36) and Greene County (42-32).

Coming close to 10 wins was a nice accomplishment, considering the lack of depth.

“It was an up-and-down season that was a bit frustrating because of how many open spots we had in the lineup, but I was very happy with the guys that we did have,” Schwartz said. “They worked hard all year long. We had a 60-percent individual match winning percentage.”

Individually, Roland-Story had eight wrestlers win at least 10 matches. Of the wrestlers who competed in at least 10 varsity matches, six had winning records and one finished right at .500.

“It was fun to see the growth of the young wrestlers,” Schwartz said. “A couple of our sophomores really bought into the system and showed a lot of growth from last year. It was fun spending time with everybody in the program, from wrestlers to managers to coaches. We have a great group of people that are fun to be around.”

Senior Koby Hassebrock and junior Joe Hovick turned in standout years. Both wrestlers qualified for state and they each went 1-2 on the big stage.

“Getting two guys to state was definitely the highlight,” Schwartz said. “Koby has put in a lot of time and I was happy for him to have finished his career as a two-time state qualifier. Joe was another guy that worked extremely hard all year and never complained, so it was great to see his hard work pay off.”

Hassebrock went 39-5 at 145 pounds, spending most of the season ranked in the top 10 by The Predicament. Hassebrock recorded 26 pins and one technical fall during the season, won sectional and district titles, and completed his career with an outstanding 114-29 record.

Hovick finished at 34-13, wrestling primarily at 113 with 13 pins, eight victories by major decision and one win by technical fall. He took first at sectionals and second at districts, moving his career record to 85-43 by the end of the season.

Reynaldo Torres and Michael Schiermeister both had a tremendous finish to their senior seasons by qualifying for districts with runner-up performances at sectionals.

Torres went 13-8 with seven pins at 138. Schiermeister was 8-8 with five wins by fall at 285.

Freshmen Eli Thorson and David Grimes, and sophomore Jimmy Philipsen also showed tremendous promise in 2018-19. Thorson was 23-14 with 15 pins at 152, Grimes 18-8 with 12 pins at 106 and Philipsen 23-6 with 14 pins at 195 and 220 before a shoulder injury cut his season short.

Two more freshmen earned double-digit win totals for Roland-Story. Jay Sanderson went 15-22 with four pins at 120 and Colin Streit 12-16 with four falls at 126.

Caden Sporleder earned eight victories, including two pins, during his sophomore year at 145 and 152. Senior Jon Sobotka picked up five wins, including three falls, at 160.

Freshman Nate Johnson added four wins with a fall. Sophomore Ben Sarver picked up two victories — including a fall.

Senior Nathan Bell and freshman Gabe Slifka both tacked on one varsity win — each coming by forfeit.

Hassebrock, Torres, Schiermeister, Sobotka and Bell are Roland-Story’s losses to graduation.

Koby Hassebrock was the stand-out, making it to state for the second straight year,” Schwartz said. “He fell just short of placing, but still had a great season and career, especially considering that he was unable to wrestle as a sophomore due to injury.”

“Rey Torres was an incredibly hard worker and improved so much from his freshman year,” Schwartz said. “He dealt with a couple concussions this year, so that shortened his season, but he finished as a district qualifier.”

“Michael Schiermeister finished his career as a two time district qualifier and will be missed,” Schwartz said. “Jon Sobotka wrestled three years in high school. He didn’t wrestle as a junior, so I give him a lot of credit for coming back out as a senior. He made it a goal to help the freshmen this year, so his leadership will be missed.”

“Nathan Bell came out for wrestling for the first time this year,” Schwartz said. “Unfortunately, he battled a hip injury and wasn’t able to wrestle at all.”

But with Hovick, Thorson, Grimes and Philipsen leading the way, the Norsemen still have plenty to look forward to in 2019-20.

“We are losing a few good seniors, so they will be tough to replace, but I know we have some good eighth-graders who will be ready to jump into the lineup,” Schwartz said. “If we can get the numbers up from where they were this year, I think we can be competitive.”