Three Van Meter Earlham wrestlers placed at the state tournament over the weekend and the Bulldogs finished in the top 20 for the the first time in school history. Junior Riley Harger rebounded after a first round defeat by winning his next two matches to secure a spot on the podium. He finished 8th at 120 pounds. Senior Caleb Swalla finished in 3rd place at 170 pounds. Caleb lost in the quarter finals sending him to the consolation bracket where he rattled off four straight wins to close his career. The win streak included wins over the number one and two seeds in the tournament. He finished his season with a record of 41-1. Senior heavyweight Derrin Sesker also closed out his career with a 3rd place finish. Derrin lost a semi-finals match Friday night in double overtime to eventual state champion Kaden Sutten of Adel. He came back strong on Saturday winning both matches and finishing his season with a 42-3 record. Two of Derrin’s losses on the season were to Sutton and the other loss was early in the season to Jordan Anderson of Marshalltown who finished in 3rd place in class 3A. Other Bulldogs qualifiers Bryce Cole and Tyler Haynes drew tough early match ups and finished 0-2 at the tournament. Bryce lost in the opening round to eventual state champion Will Esmoil of West Liberty. Tyler battled tough in both matches and gave himself a chance to win late in each match.
The three place winners were enough to push the Bulldogs to 33 points and finish 19th overall in class 2A.