Three MFL MarMac wrestlers headed to state tournament

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MFL MarMac seniors Nathan Johanningmeier (middle, left), Garret Keehner and Michael Egan are all headed to the state wrestling tournament after placing first at districts. They are pictured with head coach Chet Bachman and assistant coaches Mike Meyer, Chip McGeough, Tracy Decker and Travis Johnson.

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

MFL MarMac seniors Michael Egan, Nathan Johanningmeier and Garret Keehner are all headed to the Iowa High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Tournament in Des Moines this week after placing first in their respective weight classes at Saturday’s Class 1A District 1 Tournament at Denver.

“All three seniors finished the way they needed to,” said head coach Chet Bachman.

For Egan, wrestling this year at 145 pounds, this marks his fourth trip to state. He got there by securing a 14-1 major decision victory over Nashua-Plainfield’s Shane Hillesheim in his first district match. Egan took the top spot after Denver’s Logan Meyer forfeited in the championship round. The win brought his season record to 38-1.

Bachman said Egan is among less than a handful of MFL MarMac wrestlers who’ve made it to state each year. He finished sixth last year, in spite of a knee injury.

“That shows what kind of kid he is,” Bachman noted. “He’s driven and tough. There’s no quit. He’s mentally and physically solid.”

The 182-pound Johanningmeier got off to a good start at districts, pinning Tyler Morrison, of North Tama, in his first match. He then pinned Weiland Steffen, from Sumner-Fredericksburg, in the championship. 

“He was down in the last match, but he came back in the last minute to get the fall,” shared Bachman. “It took guts. He dug down and really showed some heart.”

Like Egan, Johanningmeier is no stranger to the state tournament. He qualified once before, as a sophomore. Now, he’ll ride a 41-3 record into action on Thursday. 

Garret Keehner got the fall on North Butler-Clarksville’s Jase Wiebke, as well as Postville’s Isaac Steffans, to claim the 220-pound title on Saturday. The two wins brought his record to 44-0. According to Bachman, this is the first time any Bulldog has gone to state without a single loss.

For some wrestlers, that might be a lot to live up to, but Bachman said Keehner’s “it is what it is” attitude will serve him well.

“He has a lot of confidence, but he doesn’t make a big deal out of it,” Bachman commented. “He doesn’t put pressure on himself.”

While Keehner has breezed through the competition up until this point, his head coach said the state tournament is a different animal. He’ll encourage all his wrestlers to focus on the match in front of them, to wrestle smart and stay in good position.

Now, Bachman said, “everyone’s even. It’s a fresh start, a new season. You have to prove yourself.”

Two other MFL MarMac wrestlers, freshman Gabe McGeough (138) and junior Ethan Stubbs (132), also wrestled at districts, placing third and fourth, respectively, in their weight classes. 

“Ethan wrestled really well, but lost some unfortunate scrambles,” Bachman said. “Gabe lost a really close one and came up a little bit short.”

The state wrestling tournament will begin Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena, in Des Moines. For updates on the MFL MarMac wrestlers, follow the North Iowa Times Facebook page. Next week’s paper will also include a full rundown of the results.

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