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McAlister takes home runner-up honors for South Central Calhoun

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Blake McAlister of South Central Calhoun wrestles against Don Bosco's Cade Tenold in the 170-pound Class 1A championship match on Saturday night in Des Moines.

DES MOINES — Blake McAlister understands the process, and after a trip to the state finals, there is only one place he wants to finish next season.

The South Central Calhoun junior reached the state finals, bringing home a runner-up showing.

Last year, McAlister (42-3) took sixth place and used that as motivation to climb the podium in 2021.

“He has been wrestling since he was 5 years old, and has won some AAU and pee wee tournaments,” said SCC head coach Lance Schultz. “His freshman year, he came up and beat a good senior at districts. That experience at state was good. It was huge for him to get to the semifinals a year ago, and he lost a tough match there.

“He dropped a couple on the backside that kind of knocked the wind out of his sails and he was really disappointed. He made sure that didn’t happen again.”

McAlister, ranked fourth at 170 pounds, lost to Don Bosco’s top-ranked and unbeaten Cade Tenold, by technical fall in 5:59.

“Last year I got sixth at state, so moving runner-up is a big step forward,” McAlister said. “I’m thankful, but definitely not satisfied.

“We have one more year left, and I will do everything I can to be standing on the top of the podium next year.”

McAlister, who was a second team Class 1A all-state running back and punter for the Titans and helped lead them to the UNI-Dome this past fall, has leaned heavily on his family for their support.

“The support is more than amazing,” McAlister said. “It starts with the family, whose does more than I could ever ask for.

“They’ve been behind me ever since I first set foot on the mat. It’s not only family — my friends, teammates and community support mean just as much and I can’t thank them enough.”

Last season, McAlister lost to champion Benjamin Smith of Iowa Valley. Tenold (28-0) was the runner-up a year ago.

McAlister has a career record of 124-20, and was the first finalist at South Central Calhoun since Rylan Richardson’s runner-up performance in 2016.

“His goal was to get to the finals, and now he knows the process of getting there and how it feels,” Schultz said. “To do it as a junior is so important, and he will build on that.

“Blake is a special kid and brings his teammates up. He will be a part of a great senior class next year.”

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