DES MOINES – Atlantic-CAM’s Joe Weaver gave it what he had and battled top-ranked Carter Fousek of Crestwood as hard as anyone.

This time, Fousek had the answers, and with a 9-3 victory over the Trojan senior in their 126-pound semifinal match, will be going for another state championship.

Still, coach Tim Duff was proud of his senior three-time state qualifier’s efforts on the evening. It was just a matter of Fousek warding off Weaver’s efforts.

“He wrestled the No. 1 seed who’s real tough,” Duff said. “He did a great job controlling the ties, and Joe had opportunities and got into the legs but couldn’t quite finish.

“Against those good kids, you’ve got to make them wrestle in the middle and keep on the attack in the middle and when you get into the leg the battle’s just starting,” he continued. “The cleaner you finish and the faster you work to your finish improves your odds of scoring.”

Weaver countered Fousek’s first three takedowns with escapes to still be in the match after four minutes of action. But the Comets’ senior used a fourth takedown and coupled that with an escape to build an insurmountable edge.

The match that got Weaver to the semifinal and in position to go for the gold saw him celebrate about as animated as he ever has been.

He let out a loud “WHOOOO!!!” – maybe putting famed pro wrestler Ric Flair to shame – after picking up a 2-1 decision over Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s Ty Koedam 2-1 in the quarterfinals.

The win was extra sweet. Koedam had two straight wins over Weaver, including a season-ending 12-7 decision a year ago at the state tournament and a pinfall victory at the Rollin Dyer Invitational in January.

“I wrestled him twice ... so I just had to get on my offense and not do anything stupid,” he said.

Weaver did just that the third time around against Koedam, getting a mid-first period takedown. He gave up an escape seconds into the third period, and Koedam tried to generate some offense, but Weaver stayed aggressive and never let the Warrior sophomore get him off his feet.

Last year, Weaver watched as Koedam reached the medal stand. This time around, it’s reversed as Harlan’s Luke Musich would go on to show Koedam the exit.

And Weaver now is guaranteed a medal, something his father, Cody, never got in three years of state qualifying in the late 1980s and early 1990s for Griswold.

“I mean, my dad, I’ve been working since I was little. He’s a three-time state qualifier and never placed and that was my goal, to one-up him a little bit.”

Somehow, Cody probably won’t mind. In fact, he’s likely quite happy.

As for the Ric Flair-type “WHOOO!” Joe probably won’t do that too often.

“I don’t get excited that often,” he admitted.

Weaver will wrestle this morning in the consolation semifinals, and could finish as high as third.

CONSOLATION

Also possibly finishing as high as third, after a consolation third-round win over Glenwood’s Matthew Beem, is Ethan Follmann.

The 120-pound junior earned a spot on the medal stand earlier in the day with a last-second 3-2 decision that, to say the least, stunned Williamsburg’s Kayden Gryp.

Follmann was behind 2-1 to the talented Raider senior and trying to generate something. Finally, he got a throw with less than five seconds remaining and Gryp had no time to respond.

“You’ve got to wrestle the full six minutes,” said Follmann after his first match of the day. “You never know what could happen. We practice for moments like that in the room and you have to be able to score when it matters.”

The toughest kids that lose prior to the championship match come back and wrestle for third, said Duff.

“The kids that are just hard-nosed tough kids just decide to come back, toe the line a couple more times and get after it (place third),” said Duff. “Hopefully, we see Joe and Ethan show some mental toughness and show what their made of.”

The tournament ended for the Trojans’ other Friday wrestler, 170-pounder Kadin Stutzman. After taking a pinfall loss in 1:29 to top-ranked Jared Voss of West Delaware, Stutzman tried to come back against Collin Muller of Osage. Stutzman was in control for the balance of the match until giving up a takedown and just as quickly was flipped to his back to take a pinfall loss.

Stutzman – who had a mid-season injury but came back – is a junior who will return with a record of 32-4 and is expected to be one of the top wrestlers in his weight class a year from now.

To reach Brian Rathjen, send correspondence to sports@ant-news.com or phone (712) 243-2624.

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