Ayala, Busse hit the mats

State champs will compete at War at West Gym

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Drake Ayala of Fort Dodge points to Dodgers fans after defeating Southeast Polk during Class 3A Championship on Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines

CEDAR FALLS — Joey Busse sees his match Saturday at the War at West Gym as an opportunity to test himself once more on the wrestling mats.

The reigning Class 2A 145-pound state champion from Humboldt will join fellow state champion Drake Ayala from Fort Dodge at the event held inside the University of Northern Iowa’s gym.

Busse meets Monticello’s Chase Luensman at 155 pounds. The two were in the same bracket last month in Des Moines at the state tournament, with Luensman finishing third overall.

“I love competing in wrestling,” Busse said. “Especially against high-level opponents and the War at West Gym is the perfect opportunity to do that.”

Busse, a multi-sport athlete for the Wildcats, has yet to decide on his college future. He finished his Humboldt wrestling career with 174 wins, setting a new school-record.

“It means a lot to be asked,” Busse said. “They only pick the top-tier guys, so to be part of that group is pretty special.”

Luensman is a three-time state medalist and has committed to wrestle at Upper Iowa.

Ayala, who also went unbeaten this past winter on his way to claiming his first state title, takes on Iowa City West’s Hunter Garvin. The Dodger sophomore finished second at state as a freshman.

“I’m excited to get back on the mat,” Ayala said. “And I’m excited to get to bump up a weight and wrestle a good opponent.”

Last year, Ayala scored a 6-5 decision win over Daniel Kimball of Don Bosco at War at West Gym.

Garvin, a freshman, was a finalist this year, falling at 120 pounds to Ayala’s teammate, Carson Taylor.

Jace Rhodes, a cousin of former Pocahontas Area state champion and current Grand View wrestler Shea Ruffridge, will face off against Damon Huston at the event.

Tickets for the event will be available at the door and IAWrestle.com will also stream the entire card.

WAR AT WEST GYM LINEUP

Trever Anderson vs. Marcel Lopez; Ali Gerbracht vs. Tateum Park; Damon Huston vs. Jace Rhodes; Chloe Clemons vs. Sydney Park; Hunter Garvin vs. Drake Ayala; Adam Allard vs. Hayden Taylor; Caleb Rathjen vs. Robert Avila, Jr.; Eli Loyd vs. Jack Thomsen; Riley Wright vs. Eric Faught; Joey Busse vs. Chase Luensman; Jacob Herrmann vs. Carson Tenold; Brayden Wolf vs. Zach Ryg; Garet Sims vs. Cody Fisher.

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