DES MOINES - It’s the time of the year Iowa youth wrestlers want to be performing at their very best, when they reach the AAU kids state tournament level at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

      For Anamosa’s Austin Scranton, the time was right to win a championship.

      “Last year, Austin did not place at state and he really put in the work all season, and it paid off for him,” said Anamosa Wrestling Club coach Scott Wheeler, who watched as Scranton, an Anamosa eighth grader wrestling for the DC Elite team at the state AAU event from Friday, Feb. 26 through Sunday, Feb. 28, claimed the 7th-8th grade 125-pound title rolling to a perfect 5-0 record at the three-day tournament.

      “The kid Austin beat in the finals just beat Austin a month ago. That says a lot about our kid right there.”

      Scranton opened with a 2:23 fall over Brody Grell (Sabertooth Wrestling) before adding a 1:10 pin win over Connor Jacobson (Pirate Wrestling Club) to advance to the quarter-final round where he defeated Dirk Laramie (DC Elite) taking a hard fought 5-2 decision.

      In the state semi-finals, Scranton dominated Kolt Knaack (IAWC) cruising to a quick 37-second pin triumph setting the Anamosa eighth grader up for a championship bout against Lucas Kral (GHV Mat Club), and once again he came through finishing off his perfect tournament with another clutch 5-2 decision.

      Hudson Scranton, an Anamosa seventh grader who also wrestled for DC Elite at the meet, had a big state event as well just missing earning a spot on the podium posting three wins in five total bouts.

      Hudson opened with a 3:26 fall over Ty Christensen (Team Bosco) before being handed a 6-2 loss against Bo Koedam (SBL Warriors) in the second-round. Hudson bounced back pinning PACK 732’s Hayden Hill (1:57) and DC Elite’s Jake Joyce (2:26) to advance to the a fourth-round consolation bout against IWAC’s Keaton Moeller, where his run ended with a tough 6-0 defeat.

      “I’ve had some people say they feel sorry for Hudson wrestling in Austin shadow,” Wheeler said. “But that’s not the case. I would not be surprised to see Hudson win state next year, and possibly beat his big brother. Should be fun to watch.”

      Wearing Anamosa Wrestling Club singlets, Beau Coons, Wes Wheeler, Austin Coons and Miken Wheeler also took to the state AAU mat.

      Beau Coons went 1-2 competing in the 3rd-4th grade 50-pound class posting a second-round consolation 1:23 pin triumph over Maci Brendlinger (Mahaska Elite).

      “Honestly, Beau finished better than I thought he would,” Wheeler said. “Beau is a second grader wrestling third and fourth graders. He is never intimidated and works hard. When Beau learns not to rely on his strength so much and uses more technique, he will be extremely hard to beat.”

      Wes Wheeler, taking part in the 3rd-4th grade 78-pound division also went 1-2 coming through with a 16-0 technical fall rout over John Irlbeck (Carroll Cardinals) in a first-round consolation bout.

      “Wes took a step in the right direction with his state tournament performance,” Wheeler said about his youngest son. “Last year he went 0-2 here and has worked hard all year at practice and has been doing extra practices also. He really improved in the mat and is doing a better job of controlling his emotions.”

      Miken Wheeler had a big tournament opening with an 8-2 decision over Gavin Maclean (Spencer Wrestling Club) before being handed a 3:51 fall loss against Tycho Carmichael (Agoge Wrestling Club) in the second-round. Miken quickly rallied defeating Dalton Zednichek (Marshalltown) taking a 1:07 fall and followed it up with a 16-0 technical fall over Jett Rose (Riverside) in a third-round consolation bout.

      “I know Miken really wanted to place this year,” said Wheeler about his son. “He probably wrestled his best matches this year at state, so it was a great way to end the season. I hope it motivates him to wrestle and lift more to get to his goals.”

      Wheeler had his tournament come to a close after a 1:28 pin setback against Rhett Hedrick (Bonus Points) in the consolation fourth round.

      Austin Coons tallied an 0-2 mark at the event.

      “Austin wrestled the best two matches he has all season,” Wheeler said. “The final match he lost 7-6 was awesome. He really showed what he is capable of. Now as coaches, we have to find a way to duplicate that effort, he’ll make a huge improvement.”

      The tournament ended another highly successful run for the Anamosa Wrestling Club in 2020-21.

      “This year we added a few new coaches in Adam Miller and Benji Silver,” Wheeler said. “I believe, along with longtime coaches Brian Dietiker, Chad Bildstein and Tim Rushford, that we are rolling in the right direction. Adam and Benji have improved the coaching staff so much. They each bring a different toughness that we needed. The AWC coaching staff really work well together making practices a lot of fun. I’ve learned from all of them.”

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