By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – Bryce West found himself in a familiar position on Saturday night, atop the podium at the state wrestling meet.
The third straight title for West turned out to be the sweetest.
With his 15-5 major decision over Denver-Tripoli’s Blake Steege in the Class 2A 120-pound title match West (57-1) equaled Max Thomsen of Union for the most wins in state history with 210.
The third consecutive 120-pound title for West also helped Solon claim the first team in program history as the Spartans held off top-ranked New Hampton by half a point for the 2A crown.
“It’s special being in the team race, it’s fun,” West said. “It pushed me harder knowing that we are going to be bring home a trophy. It pushed everyone on the team because we all want it that bad.”
Long before Saturday night West had put himself in the conversation as one of the best to ever wrestle in Iowa.
West cemented that status on Saturday, putting the finishing touches on a career that concluded with a 210-3 record.
“It’s all the same, it’s the same feeling,” West said. “It’s just more satisfying getting my 210 win and tying the career win record.”
Three of West's seven takedowns in the title match came in the opening 72 seconds of the first period as he built a quick 6-2 lead.
Two more takedowns in the second gave West a 10-3 cushion, with all Steege’s points coming via escape.
“I gave everything I have knowing that it was my last one,” West said. “I just wanted to give it everything I had.”
West, who won his first two titles in Class 1A at Highland, became the fourth individual state champion in Solon history and first since Lance Evans won the 220-pound title in 2014.
He joins Randy Beranek, Cody Kroul and Evans as Solon state champs and won his final 16 matches at the state meet.
West was one of six wrestlers who earned their third title on Saturday joining Ryan Leisure (Clear Lake), Chase Schiltz (Creston/Orient-Macksburg), Brody Teske (Fort Dodge), Marcus Coleman (Ames) and Alex Thomsen (Underwood) as the latest three-time champs in Iowa.
Bryce and twin brother Drew, who finished second at 126 pounds on Saturday, finished their careers with a combined 418-7 record, four state titles and a 32-4 record at the state meet.
“They are leaving a legacy in Iowa high school wrestling with their total number of wins and championships and everything and they have brought a lot to Solon too,” Solon coach Blake Williams said. “They have brought a lot to Solon in terms of excitement for the sport of wrestling.”
Drew West just missed out on a second career title, falling to top-ranked Michael Millage of New Hampton 3-2 in the 126-pound title match.
It was the second consecutive runner-up finish for Drew West.
“I feel bad for Drew coming so close but I think this is going to help him a little bit being part of a state championship team,” Williams said. “He has nothing to hold his head down about, just a team effort and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Drew West finished his career two wins off his brothers’ pace and with a career record of 208-4.
Of those 208 wins, 15 came at the state meet and 11 of those wins were by fall.
“More importantly than just being great wrestlers they are great kids,” Williams said. “It’s tough when one wins and one doesn’t. You could see the disappointment even on Bryce’s face when Drew didn’t win but they have nothing to be ashamed of.”