The semifinals are underway at the state high school wrestling tournament. With a victory today, competitors move to within one win of the ultimate goal: a climb to the top of the victory stand on Saturday night. One of those who has waited the longest wrestles in Class 3A. Lewis Central 152-pounder Nick Hayes is making his fourth trip to the state tournament but failed to place in his first three trips. Today, Hayes got by Southeast Polk’s Tom Koch and will bid for his first title. Hayes says he just has to keep on working hard, and things will happen for him. Hayes says he’s dreamed about being a state champ and “it’s gonna happen.” West Des Moines Valley freshman Montell Marion advanced to the 103-pound title match after he posted a 3-2 win over Cody McClintock of Fort Dodge. Marion says he has felt like the underdog all week. “I’ve been thinking I’m the man because I beat up some people,” he said. “But then they come at you and man, I’ve just got to get there and do my thing, you know.” Marion says a poster in his room of the state championship mat has provided inspiration for him. Pleasant Valley heavyweight Justin Fah advanced to the championship following a first period pin of Iowa City West’s Travis Meade. “This feels awesome,” he said. “Started out the season with an injury and I battled back and it’s good to be given the opportunity to go in the finals.” Iowa City West has a narrow lead over Oskaloosa in a balanced 3A team chase. Action at Vets began with the quarterfinal round in 1A and a pair of wrestlers kept bids alive for four state titles. Don Bosco’s Mack Reiter pinned Tyler Burkle of North Linn in the first period to reach the 125-pound semis. At 135 pounds, Hudson’s three-time champ C.J. Ettelson scored a technical fall over Roby Yilek of Belle Plaine to advance.
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