Rader, Lutter put 1A state hopes on line

JEWELL – Winning a sectional title is supposed to give a wrestler an edge – as slight as it sometimes may be, but, still, an edge – when it comes do the district tournament.

Sometimes, though, it can backfire.

Josh Lutter, meet backfire.

Coming off the first gold medal performance in his brief career at last Saturday’s Class 1A Sectional 8 at Ogden, Lutter (23-13) – South Hamilton’s junior heavyweight – will jump right back into the role of underdog at the District 4 meet when action gets underway at noon on Saturday inside the South Hamilton High School gymnasium. Lutter’s semifinal-round opponent will be none other than second-ranked Chris Schleuger (38-2) of West Hancock, the 2012 285-pound fourth-place finisher at the state tournament.

“It will be a challenge for Josh, that’s for sure,” South Hamilton head coach Dan Brodie said. “He’s one of those kids that’s got nothing to lose and that’s how he’s got to wrestle.”

No. 8-ranked Mitch Gambrill (21-7) of Clarion-Goldfield sits on the other side of the heavyweight bracket. He upset Schleuger at last weekend’s Lake Mills sectional.

Gambrill was seventh at 220 at state last winter.

Although Schleuger and Gambrill will be the overwhelming favorites to snag the two state-tournament berths, Brodie says Lutter is going to tackle the challenge like nothing is a forgone conclusion.

“The tournament is wide open for Josh,” he said. “Those two kids that are returning place winners; they should be the ones that are nervous for these matches because they’ve got the most to lose.”

Another returning state place-winner in the field is South Hamilton sophomore 120-pounder JD Rader (32-4), who took sixth at 113 in 2012. Now sixth-ranked, Rader will open up on Saturday against Lake Mills junior Lincoln Boehmer (31-13).

A potential rematch of the sectional final against top-ranked Kyler Kiner (35-0) of Ogden presumably awaits Rader if he can get by Boehmer, but Brodie says his pupil isn’t about to take anything, or anyone, for granted.

“JD has a quality opponent in that first round, so that’s what we’re focused on,” he said. “He’ll get a good go and then we’ll just see what happens from there.”

Kiner – the 2012 state runner-up at 113 – trumped Rader, 1-0, on Saturday in a match in which the only point was scored on an escape midway through the third period. Brodie admitted that there has been some conversation about that bout this week.

“Yeah, we’ve talked about it and we broke down the film a little bit in case they wrestle again,” Brodie said. “But right now it’s getting him focused on that first match. JD understands he needs to bring his ‘A’ game to get out of the first round.”

The first- and second-place finishers at each weight will move on to the state tournament in Des Moines, which will begin next Wednesday.