DES MOINES — When New London’s Marcel Lopez wrapped up his second-straight state title last year, he immediately turned his attention toward getting the third. On Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena, he did just that.
The Tigers’ 120-pound junior polished off his third-straight title in a clash of the titans. After toppling West Hancock’s Kellen Smith, 7-5, and Don Bosco’s Garrett Funk, 3-0, on Friday, Lopez found defending 120 champion Brandon Paez of Lisbon on championship Saturday.
The one-time champ took the two-time champ to the limit, but in the end, Lopez was too much, outlasting Paez 1-0 to secure a third trip to the top of the podium. “No one is going to remember the score,” Lopez said in the post-match press conference. “They’re only going to remember who won.”
The 120 championship was the first ever loss at state for Paez, who was aiming to match what Lopez did as a freshman and sophomore by moving to 8-0 on the Wells Fargo mats. Instead, it was New London’s superstar who reigned.
“I worked my (butt) off all year,” said Lopez. “I did pretty much anything you could possibly do, and then some.”
Three titles in three years means Lopez is one more run away from the record books. Only 29 wrestlers in Iowa history have won four state titles, and Lopez says he isn’t satisfied until he becomes number 30.
“That’s been the focus since I got my first one,” Lopez said. “But I’ve got to take it one state title at a time.”
Marcel’s little brother, Dominic Lopez had his fantastic run fall just short at 145. After breezing through Thursday’s first round, Lopez beat Beckman Catholic’s Nick Hageman via an 18-5 major decision to advance to his second-straight semifinal. The New London sophomore lost a thrilling match 1-0 in the first tiebreaker. Dominic Lopez rallied back in the wrestlebacks to take third. He defeated Jesup’s Jerret Delagardelle by a 12-1 major decision in the consolation semifinals and defeated Hageman of Beckman for the second time with a pin in 5:23.
A pair of Highland Huskies took home fifth-place medals in Class 1A’s lightest weights. Easton Schlabaugh finished the weekend 4-2 at 106, and Bryce Thompson finished off his own 4-2 weekend at 113.
After going 1-1 on Thursday, Schlabaugh defeated Wapsie Valley’s Easton Krall 5-3 in his first match on Friday. He followed that up with a 4-2 win over Mount Ayr’s Drew Ehlen, but was then pinned by Caleb Coffin of Don Bosco, in 3:53, in the consolation semifinals. Schlabaugh finished his state run with a 4-2 win over Nashua-Plainfield’s Kendrick Huck in the fifth place match.
Thompson also went 1-1 on Thursday and took the same road as his teammate to get to fifth. Thompson won his first consolation match, against Colfax-Mingo’s Noah Strohmeyer, on an 11-3 major decision. He defeated Andrew Kimball of Don Bosco 4-3, and then fell to Wapsie Valley’s Dawson Schmit, 6-4, to send him to the fifth place match.
Much like Schlabaugh, Thompson finished strong. In his fifth-place match, Thompson downed Edgewood-Colesburg’s Dawson Bergan 8-2.
The Union area had two seventh-place finishes. New London’s Josh Glendening pulled that off at 152.
After a 1-1 day on Thursday, Glendening began Friday’s consolation round with a one-minute pin against Missouri Valley’s Ben Hansen. Glendening was then defeated 9-3 against Ben Foelske of Denver, but bounced back for a 4-0 win in the seventh place match, besting Lisbon’s Lincoln Holub to give New London three wrestlers with seventh-or-better finishes.
Pekin’s Mason Juhl wound up in seventh at 182. Juhl went 2-1 in the consolation round, including a pin against South Hamilton’s Brent Greenfield in 3:35, and an 8-4 loss against Ty Dennison of Woodbury Central. Juhl finished the year on top and avenged a 3-2 district semifinal loss by pinning Collins-Maxwell’s Brody Sampson in 5:48 in the seventh-place match. Juhl scored his 150th career win, setting the official mark for the most victories by a Panther,
New London’s Currey Jacobs, Pekin’s Cael Baker and Sigourney-Keota’s Cade Molyneaux all finished the tournament 1-2. New London’s Boden Pickle, Van Buren County’s Brant Tedrow, WACO’s Landan Provino and Sigourney-Keota’s Cade Streigle all went 0-2.