DES MOINES — The best — that’s a dream that Centerville freshman Mike England wishes will come true.

The 140-pounder grappler took a large step toward that goal at the state wrestling tournament in 2007 in with a fourth-place finish.

The Big Red star blazed through his weight bracket and opened many eyes, most notably those of head coach Kevin Cochran.

“If you would have asked me in December if Mikey was going to be fourth in the state of Iowa, I would have told you that you’re crazy,” said Cochran.

“He’s made tremendous strides, but we’re still three spots lower than where we need to be.”

That candid talk is one of the reasons Centerville entered the state tournament as the two-time defending Class 2A runner-up.

Coming into the nation’s most elite prep wrestling event and sporting relative anonymity, England made it known that he plans on making the state tournament a habit. A vice that could lead him and his team to the top spot in all of Class 2A. Centerville brought just two wrestlers to state this season but England’s breakout at state should be a driving force to reclaim Big Red glory.

“We have a good freshman class. They see one success and hopefully it will be a snowball effect. We are very excited with what’s yet to come out of Centerville wrestling,” said Cochran.

England, who just happens to be Cochran’s nephew, spoke about what he figures his coach felt about his performance, which included three wins over ranked wrestlers.

“The whole year, he’s been expecting a lot out of me and I think, finally, I’m meeting his expectations,” said England, who ends the season with a 42-15 record.

England lost his last match to fifth-ranked Tanner Kampen of Humboldt by technical fall. England’s other loss was to three-time state runner-up Ben Knight of Sergeant Bluff Luton by a single point.

“Our whole coaching staff is impressed. It’s one of those nice stories that you like to tell at the end of the year about where you took a kid from the beginning to where he is now,” said Cochran.

Centerville ninth-ranked junior Wallace Carter (215) placed eighth at state. He lost his last match by a 7-4 decision to Phillip Miller of Vinton-Shellsburg.

Eddyville-Blakesburg had a third-place finisher in Jake Demmon (119) and a fourth-best showing at 125 pounds in freshman Dimitri Boyer.

Demmon (45-3) topped fifth-rated Greg Reiter of Don Bosco Gilbertville 5-3 in his final consolation match.

Boyer (42-7) was defeated by third-ranked Cody Delagardelle 9-3.

Rocket first-year head coach Cory Connell, a former state champ from Iowa City High, felt the same as Cochran. The ultimate goal — state titles — is attainable and always within reach if you work hard enough.

“I’m trying to raise the bar a little bit. Third and fourth, it’s not bad, but we can do better. I think the kids feel the same way,” said Connell. “I want to get everybody on the team better, but it takes hard work.”

Ottumwa junior heavyweight Chris Rupe (31-12) lost to Blayne Beale of Davenport West by pin in 48 seconds. He pinned Beale in the opening round. Rupe placed eighth in Class 3A.

“We got out of position. He got an underhook on us, tossed us and we couldn’t get off our back. That’s what happens at heavyweight. Some times you live by the throw, you die by the throw,” said Ottumwa head coach Shawn Williamson.

Another heavyweight also placed eighth as he went 2-3 in the four days of action. Chariton junior Avery Fuhs (37-10) lost to Joel Godfredson of Emmetsburg-AR by fall in 3:09 in his 7th-8th place match.

Fuhs is a first-time state qualifier and is coached by his father, Andy.

“He wrestled well and you have to be proud of the kid. He gives 100 percent and that’s all you can ask as a coach and a father,” said Fuhs.

Fairfield senior Jesse Martin (140) placed eighth, but was unable to wrestle in his final consolation match because of injury.



Final results for area wrestlers at state meet



CLASS 3A

Ottumwa

285 — Chris Rupe 8th



CLASS 2A

Fairfield

140 – Jesse Martin 8th



Centerville

140 — Mike England 4th

215 — Wallace Carter 8th



Chariton

285 — Avery Fuhs 8th



CLASS 1A

Eddyville-Blakesburg

119 — Jake Demmon 3rd

125 — Dimitri Boyer 4th

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