By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – Nelson Brands doesn’t change the way he wrestles.
The opponent, the stage, the score, none of it affects the way the West High senior goes about his business.
Thanks in part to that steadfast mindset the results didn't change for Brands on Saturday either.
Brands used a takedown with 35 seconds left to edge Fort Dodge’s Cayd Lara 11-9 in the 152-pound title match and claim a second consecutive state title in front of a packed house at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
“I wrestle the same every single match,” Brands said. “Whether I get caught on my back or if I’m up 12-6 the whole match it doesn’t matter, I wrestle the same way.”
The only thing that has remained more consistent than the approach for Brands the past two seasons have been the results.
His state 152-pound title on Saturday came after Brands won the 138-pound crown last season.
Brands is 108-4 during his two-year title run, including a 54-1 mark this season in which he was unbeaten against Iowa foes.
“I think he trusts in what he’s done, what he’s trained what he’s been doing all year,” West High coach Mark Reiland said. “We just keep reinforcing that you have to follow the plan and you have to stick to what you do best.”
What Brands has done best this season is push the pace, something he did early on Saturday in his third matchup of the season with fourth-ranked Lara.
Brands scored a pair of takedowns in the opening 56 seconds of the match and led 4-2 after one period.
The third takedown of the match for Brands put him on top 6-3 with 54 seconds left in the second period.
An escape by Lara cut the lead to 6-4 and the Fort Dodge junior used a takedown and two-point near fall as time expired in the period to take his first lead at 8-6.
“I got caught, head and knee,” Brands said. “I was told multiple times by my coaches and my dad and Iowa wrestlers, you can’t keep your head close to your knee and I ended up doing that and it cost me that part of the match.”
Brands had the answer.
An escape and takedown gave Brands a 9-8 lead with 1:30 left and after he cut Lara loose with 1:13 to tie the score at 9-9 he delivered the match-clinching takedown with 35 ticks left.
“I think I hit the same shot a lot of times,” Brands said. “I only finished six of them but I kept taking that same shot and it ended up paying off.”
Brands became the first West High wrestler to win back-to-back state titles since Phillip Laux won the 103-pound crown in 2011 and the 113 title in 2012.
“The second is way better,” Brands said. “Now I just have to get that third.”
Saturday’s title win was the third victory of the season for Brands of Lara (44-3).
Brands also had to come from behind for a 12-7 win over Lara in a dual meet at the Lepic Duals in Iowa City last month.
“I think we were behind 3-1 going into the third so being behind probably wasn’t that big of an issue because we have been there,” Reiland said. “Obviously giving up four at the end of the period like that isn’t the way you want to do things but he’d been in that situation.”
The title from Brands helped West High finish 12th in the team standings with 45 points.
Senior 160-pounder Carter Rohweder (45-9) won a 7-2 decision over Linn-Mar’s Alex Streicher in his final prep match to place fifth.
Senior 120-pounder Alex Aguirre (27-19) and junior 106-pounder Hans von Rabenau (24-10) both finished eighth.
“My first high school match I won and my last high school match I won,” Rohweder said. “It’s good to end on a positive note I guess.”
Class 3A State Meet
Team scores (Top 10; Area Teams) – 1. Southeast Polk 158.5; 2. Fort Dodge 123.5; 3. West Des Moines Valley 112; 4. Western Dubuque 97; 5. Indianola 72; 6. Glenwood 69.5; 7. North Scott 63.5; 8. Waukee 63; 9. Waverly-Shell Rock 61.5; 10. Mason City 49.5; 11. City High 46; 12. West High 45.
Saturday’s Championship Matches
106 – Cullan Schriever (Mason City) dec. Ben Monroe (Ankeny Centennial) 9-5
113 – Kyle Biscoglia (Waukee) pinned Jacob Schipper (North Scott) 3:44
120 – Brody Teske (Fort Dodge) tech. fall Gage Perrien (Southeast Polk) 20-5
126 – McGwire Midkiff (Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson) dec. Adam Brown (Southeast Polk) 3-1 SV-1
132 – Bradan Birt (Western Dubuque) dec. Cade DeVos (Southeast Polk) 14-10
138 – Triston Lara (Fort Dodge) Nathan Lendt (Southeast Polk)
145 – Zach Barnes (Southeast Polk) dec. Grant Stotts (West Des Moines Valley) 5-1
152 – Nelson Brands (West High) dec. Cayd Lara (Fort Dodge) 11-9
160 – Joel Shapiro (West Des Moines Valley) dec. Mac Southard (Lewis Central) 5-3
170 – Marcus Coleman (Ames) tech. fall Gavin Babcock (Southeast Polk) 22-7
182 – Max Lyon (Western Dubuque) dec. Anthony Sherry (Glenwood) 7-0
195 – Isaac Bartel (Mason City) dec. Kaden Sauer (West Des Moines Dowling) 5-4 UTB
220 – Wyatt Wriedt (North Scott) dec. Rocky Lombardi (West Des Moines Valley) 5-3 SV-1
285 – Aaron Costello (Western Dubuque) pinned Eagan Lickiss (Indianola) 2:19
West High Results Saturday
160 – Zack Wagenhoffer (Waverly-Shell Rock) dec. Carter Rohweder (West High) 10-3
106 – Nathan Kahoe (Des Moines Lincoln) dec. Hans vonRabenau (West High) 7-3
120 – Connor Sexton (Indianola) dec. Alex Aguirre (West High) 4-1
160 – Carter Rohweder (West High) dec. Alex Streicher (Linn-Mar) 7-2