West High’s Nelson Brands Survives Semifinal Scare to Return to State Title Match
By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – The conclusions of semifinal matches at the state wrestling meet usually come with equal parts jubilation and dejection.
Neither wrestler walked away from the Class 3A 152-pound semifinal at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Friday smiling.
Top-ranked West High junior Nelson Brands held off a late charge from second-ranked Austin Yant of Waverly-Shell Rock to earn an 8-6 win and advance to the title match.
Yant and his coaches left the mat displeased a takedown wasn’t awarded as time expired.
Brands wasn’t any happier about his semifinal performance.
“I wasn’t wrestling how I needed to wrestle at all,” Brands said. “I still got the job done but I’m not happy at all, I have to be ready for the finals.”
Brands (53-1) will try go for his second straight state title on Saturday, when he faces No.4 Cayd Lara of Fort Dodge in the 152-pound title match.
Brands has handed Lara (44-2) both of his losses this season including a 12-7 win in the most recent meeting at West High in January.
Lara advanced to the finals with a second-period pin of No. 8 Marion’s Colin Conway in the other semifinal.
“Being in the finals that’s what matters in the end but I’m not happy with how I wrestled at all,” Brands said. “I will be ready to go in the finals.”
Brands rolled into the semifinals with an impressive second-period pin of Des Moines Lincoln sophomore Shawn Brown in the quarterfinals on Friday morning.
Things came considerably more difficult against Yant (47-3) in the semifinals.
Brands built a 4-1 lead with a pair of takedowns in the opening minute and led 6-3 after the opening period.
Yant record an escape and his only takedown of the match in the opening 32 seconds of the second period to tie the score at 6-6.
“I think we started fine we just kind of went to sleep in the middle of it,” West High coach Mark Reiland said. “That’s what it was.”
Brands took a 7-6 lead with an escape with 57 ticks left in the second period and then took an 8-6 lead with an escape with 48 seconds left in the match.
The state takedown leader with nearly 500 on the season, Brands had all three of his semifinal takedowns in the first period.
“He’d roll off all my shots and that was the problem,” Brands said. “I got my takedowns that I needed and I kind of fell a part there at the end.”
The win was the second of the season for Brands over Yant after he won a 12-6 decision at the Bettendorf Midwest Shootout on January 14
“He’s hard to score on and he’s hard to wrestle,” Reiland said of Yant. “We wrestled him once and beat him 12-6 or something but you have to be ready to go.”
Senior Carter Rohweder was the other West High wrestler to reach the semifinals but fell to top-ranked Joel Shapiro of West Des Moines Valley 7-0 in the 160-pound semis.
Rohweder (44-8) defeated No. 10 Collin Hushagen of Johnston 4-3 in the quarterfinals and will have a chance to close out his career with a third place finish with a pair of consolation wins on Saturday.
“He’s had a good tournament thus far and obviously, he’s going to have to rebound,” Reiland said of Rohweder. “He’ll have two tough matches and he will need to be ready to go finish strong in his senior year.
Senior Alex Aguirre and junior Hans vonRabenau will both wrestle for seventh place on Saturday.
Aguirre (27-18) will wrestle Connor Sexton (42-11) of Indianola in the 120-pound seventh place -match and von Rabenau (24-9) will face Des Moines Lincoln sophomore Nathan Kahoe (35-10) for seventh place at 106 pounds.
Class 3A State Meet
Team scores (Top 10; Area Teams) – 1. Southeast Polk 147.5; 2. Fort Dodge 100; 3. West Des Moines Valley 93; 4. Western Dubuque 81; 5. North Scott 58.5; 6. Indianola 54; 7. Glenwood 52.5; 8. Waverly-Shell Rock 49.5; 9. Waukee 49; 10. Mason City 41.5; 11. West High 39; 12. City High 38.
152 – Nelson Brands (West High) pinned Shawn Brown (Des Moines Lincoln) 3:18
160 – Tanner Rohweder (West High) dec. Collin Hushagen (Johnston) 4-3
152 – Nelson Brands (West High) dec. Austin Yant (Waverly-Shell Rock) 8-6
160 – Joel Shapiro (West Des Moines Valley) dec. Carter Rohweder (West High) 7-0
Second Round Consolation
106 – Hans vonRabenau (West High) pinned Anthony Humpal (Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson) 4:45
120 – Alex Aguirre (West High) dec. Anthony Watts (Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson) 10-3
Third Round Consolation
106 – Evan Yant (Waverly-Shell Rock) major dec. Hans von Rabenau (West High) 18-6
120 – Joe Pins (Dubuque Hempstead) tech. fall Alex Aguirre (West High) 15-0
Saturday’s Championship Matches
106 – Ben Monroe (41-3) Fr., Ankeny Centennial vs. Cullan Schriever (28-0) Fr., Mason City
113 – Kyle Biscoglia (45-2) Jr., Waukee vs. Jacob Schipper (44-3) Sr., North Scott
120 – Gage Perrien (23-3) Jr., Southeast Polk vs. Brody Teske (45-0) Jr., Fort Dodge
126 – McGwire Midkiff (50-4) Sr., Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson vs. Adam Brown (43-3) Sr., Southeast Polk
132 – Cade DeVos (42-2) Soph., Southeast Polk vs. Bradan Birt (45-3) Sr., Western Dubuque
138 – Nathan Lendt (36-5) Jr., Southeast Polk vs. Triston Lara (43-1) Sr., Fort Dodge
145 – Zach Barnes (42-3) Sr., Southeast Polk vs. Grant Stotts (40-3) Jr., West Des Moines Valley
152 – Nelson Brands (53-1) Jr., West High vs. Cayd Lara (44-2) Jr., Fort Dodge
160 – Joel Shapiro (43-0) Jr., West Des Moines Valley vs. Mac Southard (Lewis Central) 35-1
170 – Gavin Babcock (36-6) Sr., Southeast Polk vs. Marcus Coleman (40-0) Sr., Ames
182 – Anthony Sherry (39-5) Jr., Glenwood vs. Max Lyon (48-0) Sr., Western Dubuque
195 – Kaden Sauer (43-5) Sr., West Des Moines Dowling vs. Isaac Bartel (28-3) Sr., Mason City
220 – Rocky Lombardi (38-1) Sr., West Des Moines Valley vs. Wyatt Wriedt (43-1) Sr., North Scott
285 – Eagan Lickiss (41-4) Sr., Indianola vs. Aaron Costello (49-0) Sr., Western Dubuque