New London's Dom Lopez is Iowa high school wrestling's new all-time wins leader, other Class 1A notes

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register

New London’s wrestling program has recently made some memorable moments at Wells Fargo Arena.

Just last year, Marcel Lopez became the school’s first four-time state champion. He is one of just 31 wrestlers in the 100-plus year history of the Iowa state tournament to win four individual titles.

On Thursday, his younger brother, Dom, added his own line to the record books. He recorded a 17-6 major decision over Don Bosco’s Andrew Kimball to advance to the Class 1A state semifinals at 160 pounds.

In doing so, Dom Lopez, a senior, became the state’s all-time career wins leader. He’s now at 220-8 heading into Friday’s semifinal round. He surpasses Missouri Valley’s Nathan Haynes, who won 219 matches from 2015-18.

Dominic Lopez (New London) defeats Andrew Kimball (Don Bosco) at 160 pounds during the Class 1A Quarterfinal.

More:Here are all 31 of Iowa’s four-time state high school wrestling champions

“It feels good, especially considering nobody in our family had wrestled before,” Dom Lopez said. “We used to watch a bunch of WWE, and we liked boxing and MMA and that stuff. We showed up to the first practice ready to jump off the top rope.

“Me and my brother started all this. My brother wanted to try it and he needed a practice partner, so I got forced to go. But the moment I stepped in the room, I fell in love with it, now here we are.”

It takes a lot of matches to hit 200 for a career, much less 220. Lopez has won at least 50 every year of his high school career. His win on Thursday moved him to 56-0 this season.

More impressive, perhaps, is that Class 1A schools regularly struggle to fill full lineups. Earlier this season, New London was part of a quad-dual meet with Pekin, WACO, and Highland that had 39 forfeits and 20 double forfeits. A four-team dual meet should have, in theory, 84 total matches. On that night, there were just 25.

It should be noted that Lopez has won seven matches by forfeit this year. But it should also be noted that, when he has wrestled, he’s put on a show, with 37 technical fall wins and two more by major decision where scored north of 15 points.

While Marcel rolled up four state titles, Dom Lopez hasn’t been able to crack that same code. His win on Thursday means he’s now a four-time state semifinalist. He’s never advanced to Saturday night’s finals, losing each of his previous three state semifinal matches by a combined five points.

“It was cool to see him win his state titles,” Dom Lopez said. “Now he’s on me all the time about how I have to get mine. It’s the only thing I’m missing.”

Dom added that Marcel will be at Wells Fargo Arena on Friday to offer counsel and coaching as needed. Dom will wrestle West Monona-Whiting’s Kaden Broer with a trip to the state finals on the line.

Dom Lopez is now Iowa’s all-time career wins leader, but he’d rather be remembered as a state champion.

Dominic Lopez (New London) defeats Andrew Kimball (Don Bosco) at 160 pounds during the Class 1A Quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023.

More:Live Iowa high school state wrestling updates: Every top seed advances to the Class 1A semifinals

Don Bosco surges ahead of Class 1A team race

The Class 1A state wrestling team race began to truly take shape during Thursday’s quarterfinal round. At its conclusion, Don Bosco, the four-time defending small-class state champs, surged into the lead with 87 points.

The Dons put five wrestlers in the semifinals and have another five in the bloodround. They are 13 points clear of second-place Nashua-Plainfield (74), who has four in the semifinals and another four still wrestling back. Wilton is in third (68, with four in the semifinals and four wrestling back), followed by Alburnett in fourth (62, four and four).

It is not an impossible hill to climb for Nashua-Plainfield, Wilton or Alburnett, but it is a steep one — especially if Don Bosco ends up putting all 10 of their remaining wrestlers on the podium, which is a real possibility.

To make matters more interesting, the top four teams only hit twice in the semifinals. At 126 pounds, Nashua-Plainfield’s Garret Rinken gets Alburnett’s Preston Klostermann. At 152, Don Bosco’s Kyler Knaack gets Alburnett’s Carson Klostermann. And that’s it.

This team race isn’t quite done yet, but Don Bosco firmly has its hand on the wheel. Friday’s semifinal round will be key — to either a fifth-straight team title for the Dons, or for any other team to run them down, since big team points are available for the taking.

More:The State Champ Playlist: What songs do Iowa's best high school wrestlers listen to before matches?

Weight-by-Weight analysis on the Class 1A quarterfinals

106: Sigourney-Keota’s Reanah Utterback fell to Nashua-Plainfield’s Jayden Rinken, 10-0, sending her to the bloodround. She still needs one win to become a state medalist. Lake Mills’ Lucas Oldenkamp, the No. 10 seed, notched a 4-0 win over Riverside’s Davis Bramman, the No. 2 seed, to reach the semifinals.

More:This Iowa girl is wrestling against boys — and she's winning at the Iowa state tournament

113: Nashua-Plainfield’s Nic Brase, the No. 6 seed, rolled to a 16-3 major over No. 3 Case Monat (North Tama) to reach the semifinals. The other top four seeds held serve — including Alburnett sophomore Rowdy Neighbor, the No. 4 seed and a member of the All-Name Team.

120: The top four seeds all held at 120. Lisbon’s Brandon Paez, the No. 1 seed and a two-time state champ, has outscored his first two opponents 24-0. He’ll face Wilton freshman Gabriel Brisker in the semifinals.

126: Wapsie Valley’s Dawson Schmit, the #6 seed, won 12-9 over No. 3 Corbin Reisz (Logan-Magnolia), who has now lost in the state quarterfinals each of the last two seasons. The Garret Rinken-Preston Klostermann matchup will be big for the team race.

132: The top four seeds all held here. Underwood’s Gable Porter has put up 35 points in two matches so far, registering two technical falls en route to the semifinals.

Underwood’s Gable Porter, top, wrestles Lake Mills’s Steven Brandenburg at 132 pounds during the second round of the Class 1A of the Iowa high school state wrestling tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.

138: Brody Neighbor joined younger brother Rowdy in the state semifinals. The older Neighbor pulled an upset as the No. 6 seed, winning 9-3 over No. 3 Cael Bridgewater (North Linn). He gets South Winneshiek’s Collin Holm, the No. 2 seed, next.

145: MFL MarMac senior Karter Decker has stormed into the semifinals as the No. 13 seed, recording a major and back-to-back pins over the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds. His reward on Friday is top-seeded Mikey Baker from West Sioux.

152: The Kyler Knaack-Carson Klostermann semifinal here will be important, but Maddox Nelson won an 11-9 overtime match to give Underwood three semifinalists.

160: Talked plenty about Dom Lopez at the top, but Logan-Magnolia’s top-seeded Wyatt Reisz, a two-time champ who recorded his 200th career win on Wednesday, is cooking through the top side of the bracket, with a technical fall and a pin.

Logan-Magnolia’s Wyatt Reisz wrestles MFL MarMac’s Quinn McGeough at 160 pounds during the second round of the Class 1A of the Iowa high school state wrestling tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.

170: Columbus Catholic’s Max Magayna is cruising toward a third state title, with two pins in a combined 2:16. Nashua-Plainfield’s Titus Evans, the No. 6 seed, won 9-8 over No. 3 Jack Clarahan (Sigourney-Keota) to give Nashua-Plainfield four semifinalists.

182: Another bracket-buster at this weight, with Midland senior Caden Ballou, the No. 15 seed, reaching the semifinals after a 6-4 win over No. 10 Cannon Joerger (Wapsie Valley). Ballou pinned No. 2 MaKade Bloker in Wednesday’s second round.

195: Westwood senior Jackson Dewald, an Air Force commit, has recorded back-to-back pins to reach the semifinals. He’s a two-time state finalist but is still seeking his first title.

220: The top four seeds held here, where Don Bosco’s Jared Thiry and Interstate 35’s Evan Foreman appear to be on a Saturday night collision course.

285: A very intriguing semifinal matchup here, with East Buchanan’s Cody Fox, the No. 2 seed, facing Don Bosco’s Mack Ortner, the No. 3 seed, on Friday morning. The winner likely gets Lisbon’s top-seeded Wyatt Smith on Saturday night.

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at@codygoodwin.

2023 Iowa high school state wrestling championships

Class 1A Team Scores, after Day Two

  1. Don Bosco, 87
  2. Nashua-Plainfield, 74
  3. Wilton, 68
  4. Alburnett, 62
  5. Lisbon, 56.5
  6. West Hancock, 44.5
  7. Emmetsburg, 42
  8. Wapsie Valley, 42
  9. Underwood, 41.5
  10. Columbus Catholic, 41