Iowa City West has increased its lead in the Class 3A team chase at the state high aschool wrestling tournament. The Trojans have 111 points after this afternoon’s semifinal round, 12 ahead of second place Lewis Central. Newton Senior Steve Welcher has finally achieved his goal of wrestling for a state title. Welcher downed Wes Shetterly of Linn-Mar at 103 pounds 5-0.

After qualifying for the tournament two years ago and finishing third in 2005 Welcher advances to the championship round for the first time. He says he’s been thinking out it since he was probably in fourth grade. Welcher looks forward to Saturday night. He says he’s sure he’ll be nervous, but says he hopes he wins.

At 119-pounds Iowa City West sophomore Nate Moore spoiled Fort Madison senior Russell Weakley’s bid for a third consecutive title. Moore turned Weakley over for a three point near fall in the second period to take command in a 9-3 victory. Moore says he tilted Weakley and he got out of it somehow and then he whipped him over. Moore says after that he was confident he would win. He says that put the pressure on Weakley to make a move. It was Weakley’s second loss of the season and both have come to Moore.

Oskaloosa 135 pounder Derek Moyer will bid for his third state title Saturday night. Moyer held off a late takedown attempt by Daniel Twito of Cedar Falls for a 5-3 victory. He says the third period take down really helped as it gave him a comfortable three point lead. After missing out last year Moyer is a victory away from returning to the top of the podium. He says it’s good to get back in the finals.

Western Dubuque’s Kevin Kluesner had to rally to stay unbeaten and move into the championship round. Trailing 5-1 in the third period Kluesner rallied to beat Riley Linder of Fort Dodge 7-5 at 160 pounds. He says Linder had quite a bit of speed and he had to work to wear him down. After finishing fourth in 2005 Kluesner will get a chance to wrestle for a state title on Saturday night. He says it’s been his goal since he began wrestling.