McGeough, Decker are state-bound

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MFL MarMac junior Gabe McGeough was the 160-pound champion at Saturday’s Class 1A District 3 Tournament at Denver. Now, he’s headed to the state wrestling tournament for a second time. He placed fifth last year. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

McGeough has lost just once this year, in early December. Since then, it’s fueled him. “That loss definitely humbled me and helped me get back to my roots and work harder,” he said. “I’ve been a different competitor since then.”

Karter Decker will also make a return trip to state, after placing second at 138 pounds at districts.

Decker faced some adversity in his district experience. After winning the semifinal match by fall over North Linn’s Blaine Baumgartner, the sophomore was pinned by Denver’s Isaac Schimmels in the first-place match. The loss put Decker in a wrestle back situation. He passed the test with flying colors, though, winning by fall over Carson Staner of Cascade.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

Two MFL MarMac wrestlers are headed to the Iowa High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Tournament in Des Moines this week. Gabe McGeough was the 160-pound champion at Saturday’s Class 1A District 3 Tournament at Denver, while Karter Decker qualified after placing second at 138 pounds.

 

“I knew coming in that I was the guy at this weight. I felt pretty confident,” said McGeough, a junior. “Today was just business for me, getting ready for next week and staying healthy, getting on and off the mat and wrestling smart.”

 

McGeough started the day with a 7-0 decision win against North Linn’s Jarin Peyton. It was an unusual six-minute match for him.

 

“I haven’t wrestled a six-minute match in awhile, so it was good that first match to go the full round and be able to ride guys out and wrestle the full six minutes,” he said.

 

The first-place match was a lot quicker, as McGeough pinned Beckman Catholic’s Conner Grover in 1:18. It not only propelled him to state, but marked his 100th career victory. 

 

“The last match, I was able to get to my shots and able to put him away, so I’m pretty happy,” he said.

 

McGeough has lost just once this year, in early December. Since then, it’s fueled him.

 

“That loss definitely humbled me and helped me get back to my roots and work harder,” he said. “I’ve been a different competitor since then, and I’m looking forward to next week.”

 

2021 marks McGeough’s second trip to the state tournament. He placed fifth last year. That experience—knowing the tournament and the atmosphere—will help, he said.

 

“Obviously, this year is going to be a little different, but I’m ready to just roll, round by round, instead of going to the back side,” he shared. “I’ve got one goal, and that’s to be on top of the podium Saturday night. I’m like a horse with blinders now—I’m all focused up.”

 

Decker faced some adversity in his district experience. After winning the semifinal match by fall over North Linn’s Blaine Baumgartner, the sophomore was pinned by Denver’s Isaac Schimmels in the first-place match. 

 

“My first match, I wrestled him earlier this year, so I knew kind of what he had to offer. I just went out there and did what I had to do and got off the mat real quick,” Decker said. “The second match, it didn’t go the way I wanted.”

 

The district final was the third time Schimmels and Decker had wrestled this year. Schimmels won the first meeting in December, but Decker beat him at sectionals last week. 

 

“He’s a good competitor, and it’s just going to be a battle between us every time we go out there,” Decker stated. “It’s an unfortunate thing: he picked me up and took me down, and I just got caught on my back. I’ve got to learn to be in better position and not let him get to where he wants to be.”

 

The loss put Decker in a wrestle back situation. He passed the test with flying colors, though, winning by fall over Carson Staner of Cascade in three minutes.

 

As with his other two opponents, Decker also wrestled Staner earlier this season, in a match that went into the second period. 

 

“He’s a senior, so I knew he was going to come out there and give me whatever he had,” Decker said.

 

Also a state qualifier last year, he’ll benefit from already knowing “the feel of things” at the tournament.

 

“It’s good to go back, and I know what I can do this year and just want to improve,” Decker said. “I want to get on the podium and get as high as I can.”

 

Decker, who now has a 41-5 record, said he’ll also benefit from wrestling tougher competition this season. 

 

“I’ve wrestled some pretty tough kids this year. Last year, I didn’t wrestle a whole lot of good kids,” he explained. “This year, it started off and I was wrestling alright, but I wasn’t really at my peak yet. I just kept running into tough kids. Last week, I got the best of [Schimmels] and I wrestled really well against the Wilton kid [at regional duals]. I feel like I’m peaking at the right time.”

 

The state tournament will kick off Thursday, Feb. 18, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. The Class 1A first round will begin at 9 a.m. Follow the North Iowa Times Facebook page for updates.

 

Seven other Bulldogs fall short of advancing

In addition to McGeough and Decker, seven other Bulldogs wrestled at districts. 

 

Andrew Heins (126 pounds), Kashton Mathis (145 pounds) and Jacob Trudo (heavyweight) all placed third in their weight classes and fell just short of advancing to state. 

 

Holden Mathis (120 pounds), Bryce Radloff (132 pounds), Tristen Koehn (152 pounds) and Austin Nickolai (195 pounds) finished fourth.

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