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Iowa’s best wrestlers: Meet the state’s top freshmen

By Dana Becker,

Fort Dodge's Dreshaun Ross

By Dana Becker | Photo by Matthew Putney

Occasionally, a newcomer emerges on the prep wrestling scene in Iowa and impresses the masses.

This past season more than one did just that, as four ninth-graders claimed state wrestling championships.

Fort Dodge’s Dreshaun Ross was one of those, as he became the heaviest to stand atop the podium as a freshman, dominating his way to the Class 3A title at 195 pounds.

Joining Ross were Bettendorf’s Jake Knight, Alexander Pierce from Iowa City West and Osage’s Blake Fox.

Here is a look at those four and some of the other top freshmen wrestlers in Iowa:

Dreshaun Ross, Fort Dodge, 195

The Ross family from Fort Dodge is becoming something special, with Dreshaun as the latest family member to make a splah. The talented grappler, who is racking up Division I football offers, dominated at 195 pounds, going 44-2 and winning the state title in the biggest classification this past year.

Jake Knight, Bettendorf, 113

After suffering a tough loss early in the season to Fort Dodge’s Dru Ayala, Knight bounced back, besting him at state duals and in the state finals to finish 46-1 with gold around his neck.

Alexander Pierce, Iowa City West, 106

Kicking it all off in 3A this year was Pierce, as the Trojan worked his way through at 106 pounds to begin his pursuit of becoming a four-time champion. He finished the year 42-2 overall.

Blake Fox, Osage, 120

The Green Devils had themselves quite the season, sweeping the dual and traditional team titles. Fox is one of the top guns, going 51-2 with a title this past year in 2A.

Danarii Mickel, Ames, 195

The only wrestler who stood in the way of Mickel making history was Ross, as he fell to the Dodger in the state finals. Still, 31 wins and a silver as a ninth-grader is pretty impressive.

Jase Jaspers, Mount Vernon, 126

One of a handful of newcomers who made it all the way to Saturday night and the state finals, Jaspers recorded 41 wins and earned silver at 126 pounds.

Mason Shirk, Wilton, 106

Shirk made his own statement this past year, racking up a record of 47-4 with a silver medal to conclude it all.

Teague Smith, West Hancock, 120

Another brother of a standout on the mat, Smith suffered just two defeats in his 50 matches, with one coming in the state finals.

Nolan Fellers, Bondurant-Farrar, 138

The son of former Dodger standout and ex-Iowa Hawkeye Adam Fellers, Nolan started carving out his own path, placing third in 3A with a spectacular 36-3 record.

Linden Phetxoumphone, Webster City, 106

After watching his brother, Cam, dominate for the past four years at Webster City, it was Linden’s turner, as he placed third in 2A and went 40-3.

Tayten Coufal, Alburnett, 120

It was a memorable debut season for Coufal, as he won 40 matches and placed third.

Keaton Moeller, Starmont, 145

Not many got the better of Moeller this past winter, as he went 39-3 and concluded it with a strong bronze medal at state.

Cale Vandermark, Ankeny Centennial, 106

Competing against the best of the best, Centennial’s Vandermark made his mark, compiling 43 wins and placing fourth.

Cody Trevino, Bettendorf, 126

Another of the talented grapplers at Bettendorf, Trevino lost just three times among his 52 matches, adding a fourth place at state to his resume.

Jaxon Miller, Carlisle, 145

Carlisle might not be the biggest 3A program, but they are showing they can compete with anybody. Miller was a strong point scorer, placing fourth at state while going 40-7.

Cooper Hinz, Jesup, 106

Hinz earned himself a fourth place state finish this past year, winning 35 matches along the way.

Lincoln Jipp, Bettendorf, 138

One more of the stronger lineups being put together at Bettendorf, Jipp finished fifth with 42 wins.

Gabriel Brisker, Wilton, 120

Brisker qualified for state and worked his way to a sixth-place finish, winning 47 matches overall.

Justis Jesuroga, Southeast Polk, 120

The name Jesuroga remains at Southeast Polk, as Justis earned his first state medal in his first appearance, going 34-15.

Ryan Bahnson, West Lyon, 113

Bahnson won 48 matches, including his final one to place seventh overall at state.

Carter Schmauss, Crestwood, 113

Schmauss will be an interesting wrestler to watch moving forward, as he won 37 matches and placed eighth this past winter.

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