Woodward-Granger wrestling sends seven Hawks to districts

Sean Cordy

Wrestling Saturday at home against a number of familiar faces from ADM, Gilbert, Greene County, Perry and Van Meter, seven Hawks qualified for district competition for Woodward-Granger. That surpassed the bar set by last year's team that had only four first or second-place finishers.

While that overall number was raised, Jon McKeever (170 pounds) was the lone first-place finisher. He'd breeze through his competition, winning both his rounds via dominant tech falls. Everyone within a five-mile radius could hear the moment he claimed victory in the championship round over Greene County's Noble Hoyt. 

Woodward-Granger's Jon McKeever reacts after winning the sectional title over Greene County's Noble Hoyt on Saturday, Feb. 6.

McKeever will be joined at ADM's district competition by six of his teammates, all of which had to win their wrestle back round after losses in the auto-qualifying title round. That list comprises of Alex Saxton (106), Peyton Nixon (113), Riece Graham (132), Dustin Harney (160), Devan Brown (195) and Alex Evans (285).

Within that group, Nixon and Harney had two of the closest calls of the day as both were able to win through intense situations. Despite his ranked advantage, Nixon was bounced from the gold medal round after Van Meter's Payton Harger took a 9-8 lead in the final 30 seconds. 

Peyton Nixon wrestles an opponent on Saturday, Feb. 6 during the sectional meet in Woodward.

Nixon bounced back in the second-place round for the win. Harney's day was similarly marked as he locked horns with Gilbert's Kruz Pierce for three rounds before winning in sudden victory. That was as close as competition could get.

While bittersweet that senior Kade Polich (182) only placed fourth and ends his career, he walked away with his hundredth career victory after winning one of two rounds Saturday.

Below is a full list of Woodward's individual finishes: Alex Saxton (106, 2nd); Peyton Nixon (113, 2nd); Joel Harney (120, 5th); Holden Heard (126, 5th); Riece Graham (132, 2nd); Jayden Flugge-Smith (138, 6th); Tjaden Smeltzer (145, 6th); Oliver Potter (152, 3rd); Dustin Harney (160, 2nd); Jon McKeever (170, 1st); Kade Polich (182, 4th); Devan Brown (195, 2nd); Kolby Fogarty (220, 4th); Alex Evans (285, 2nd).

Riece Graham in action during the 2A sectional meet on Saturday, Feb. 6 in Woodward.