Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – Winning a state title is a dream for just about every wrestler from the time they pull on a singlet for the first time.
Alexander Pierce was no different, except for the fact that for the longest time the dream of a state title was one the West High freshman didn’t believe was possible.
Pierce proved himself wrong in a big way on Saturday.
Second-ranked Pierce (42-2) became just the third freshman state champion in West High history claiming the Class 3A 106-pound title with a 10-7 win over fourth-seeded Tyler Harper of Norwalk at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
“This is like a dream when I was a little that I didn’t think was possible for me,” Pierce said. “I never won an AAU state title, a USA state title and I wasn’t that good when I was younger but I just had to stay mentally focused and hungry and I got better.”
To Pierce has gotten better is an understatement.
The second-seed in the 106-pound bracket, Pierce scored at least 10 points in all four state-meet wins on his way to the title.
Pierce outscored opponents 53-26 at the state meet joining Dylan Carew and Nick Moore as freshmen state champions for the Trojans.
“He’s strong and he’s athletic and I think what impressed me throughout this entire tournament was how little nerves he really had,” West High coach Nate Moore said. “For a freshman coming in here and I don’t think he’s ever watched the state meet before so for him to come in here and wrestle like that it’s awesome.”
Pierce recorded two of his four takedowns in the 106-pound title match in the first period while building a 4-1 lead he would never give up.
Harper (29-6), who pinned top-seeded Carter Pearson of Southeast Polk in 18 seconds in the semifinals on Friday, cut the deficit to 5-3 with a takedown 26 seconds into the second period but Pierce answered with an escape and a takedown of his own for an 8-3 lead after two periods.
“He didn’t put the moment on a pedestal,” Moore said. “If you do the same thing every match and take it one match at a time that equals success and that’s what he did.”
Pierce led 10-5 with under 30 second remaining when a Harper headlock resulted in a takedown but the West High freshman avoided nearfal points.
“I do remember the headlock, I got scared,” Pierce said. “I was prepared, I knew there wasn’t too much time left so I had to be smart. That’s all and I was able to get it done.”
The champions from Pierce gave West High a state champion for the fourth consecutive season and the seventh time in the last eight seasons.
He became the first freshman to win a title for West High since Nick Moore won his first in 2007.
“It feels great,” Pierce said. “I still can’t believe I just did that.”
Class 3A State Meet
At Wells Fargo Arena Des Moines
Team scores (Top 20 area teams) – 1. Waverly-Shell Rock 169; 2. Southeast Polk 153; 3. Bettendorf 149; 4. Linn-Mar 130; 5. City High 119.5; 6. Fort Dodge 110.5; 7. Johnston 104.5; 8. Waukee Northwest 103; 9. Carlisle 90.5; 10. Ankeny 89.5; 11. Bondurant-Farrar 83.5; 12. Ankeny Centennial 81.5; 13. Pleasant Valley 78; 14. North Scott 77; 15. Dubuque Hempstead 71; 16. Cedar Rapids Prairie 70; 17. Norwalk 69; 18. Ames 61; 19. West Des Moines Valley 60.5; 20. Indianola 44; 21. West High 38.5; 33. Clear Creek Amana 20; 43. Liberty High 8
Championship Matches (Area athletes only)
106 – Alexander Pierce (West High) dec. Tyler Harper (Norwalk) 10-7
126 – Cale Seaton (City High) dec. Jabari Hinson (Ames) 4-3
182 – Gabe Arnold (City High) dec. Tate Naaktgeboren (Linn-Mar) 2-1 TB-1
220 – Ben Kueter (City High) tech fall Joseph Lewis (Dubuque Hempstead) 19-4
132 – Kael Kurtz (City High) dec. Dalton Rowe (Bondurant-Farrar) 5-0
132 – Jayce Luna (Bettendorf) dec. Kael Kurtz (City High) 5-2
152 – Jack Lewis (Bondurant-Farrar) dec. Kyler Scranton (West High) 5-3 SV-1