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Local Sports

Newton’s Linahon, Gulling climb podium at state tourney

DES MOINES – Gage Linahon had a little bit of a redemption tour on the final day of the state wrestling tournament.

The Newton junior avenged a first-round loss in a consolation semifinal and then defeated an opponent who kept him off the medal stand last year.

In the end, Linahon did maybe the toughest thing to do at the event when he ran the table on the back side to finish third in Class 3A at 220 pounds.

“It was pretty tough. I was able to beat the Ames kid who beat me this year and then I beat the kid who beat me in overtime last year when we were wrestling to place,” Linahon said about running through the backside with no losses. “I got redemption on two guys.”

Linahon was joined on the 3A state wrestling tournament podium by senior teammate Jaise Gulling on Saturday night.

Gulling lost his first match on Friday but clinched a medal with a win in his next match. He finished the day with a loss but ended his career with a win by pin in the final match of his career in the seventh-place match on Saturday.

“I tried to flip him over when he went for his first shot. I knew that he basically scored because of what I did,” said Gulling about falling behind in the match. “He was kind of wild on top. I felt good. As soon I got in on his leg, I knew I had him.”

Junior and eighth-ranked Destin Schroder won his first 182-pound match on Thursday but was eliminated from the bracket with back-to-back losses on Friday. Freshman Brennan Amos also qualified for the state tournament.

Newton head coach Andy Swedenhjelm gets three of his four state qualifiers back next year. And a third-place medalist.

“Our kids are working extremely hard, and we get one of the medalists back next year and three of the qualifiers,” Newton coach Andy Swedenhjelm said. “I am really excited. It shows if you do stuff all year and take it seriously, good things can happen.”

Linahon’s undefeated run through the backside of the 3A 220 bracket almost ended early.

Linahon trailed No. 3 Cam Jones of Cedar Rapids Kennedy 9-1 in the second period at but a furious comeback forced the match into overtime.

Linahon (34-10) got the needed takedown in SV-1 and took Jones straight to his back for the fall. Linahon has qualified for the state tournament three times and the big come-from-behind win secured his first state medal.

“One of our mindset principles that we do every day after practice is to never give up. I didn’t give up in that match,” Linahon said. “I knew going into overtime that I was going to win because he was broken. He was tired. I was confident. This feels really good.

“It just shows you that rankings don’t mean much. You just have to be better on that day.”

Linahon defeated Cedar Fall’s Collin Bohnenkamp by fall in his final match Friday to guarantee at least sixth.

His redemption against Ames’ Gabriel Greenlee came in his first match Saturday. He lost to Greenlee in the opening round but downed him 7-6 the second time around to advance to the third-place match.

In the third-place bout, Linahon defeated LeMars’ Travis Theisen 5-2.

Gulling (29-10) lost his 195-pound quarterfinal match by fall to fifth-ranked Cade Parker of Cedar Rapids Kennedy but came back to earn a state medal after scoring a 7-3 win over Dubuque Hempstead’s Owen Dunne in the second-round consolation elimination match.

“It feels great. I am little bit bummed to lose that first one, but I wanted to be on the podium and that’s what I got,” Gulling said. “I was nervous for that second match. That could have been be it. I was able to control him and stayed on my stuff.”

Gulling lost to seventh-ranked Javian Rolley of Johnston by major decision and was pushed to Saturday’s seventh-place match.

In that match, Gulling pinned Storm Lake’s Aaron Ungs in the first period.

“I go out with a win and a medal. I will take it. It feels great,” Gulling said. “I definitely didn’t want to end my career on a loss.”

Gulling and Linahon have been practice partners in the room for the past two seasons. They both made it to state last year but that season ended without any medals. This year was different.

“We’ve been buddies since middle school. We were bummed last year that we didn’t make it to the podium,” Linahon said. “This year we made sure we got it done.”

Schroder also wrestled on Friday but went 0-2 on the day at 182 pounds and was eliminated from the tournament.

Schroder (36-6) lost his quarterfinal match 10-1 to second-ranked Devin Ludwig of Western Dubuque and then his 10-3 loss to Brennan Brodders of Muscatine ended his tournament run.

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