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Indians Break Through with Four State Qualifiers
by Brandon Leonard Correspondent · February 16th, 2017

It has been a long time coming for the Marion wrestling program. The "glass ceiling" that seemed to be stopping the Indians from advancing just one person to the annual Iowa High School State Wrestling Meet has finally been shattered. Not just by one Marion wrestler, but by four of them. For the first time in six years, Jason Haag and the Indians will have wrestlers compete at Wells Fargo Arena with their eyes on the podium and state championships.

Third-ranked and undefeated 145-pounder Caleb Conway had his toughest test to date in the finals of his weight class as he edged fourth-ranked Xavier Saint Josh Gerke by a 4-2 decision in overtime. The victory was Conway's 44th of the season as he is one of just a handful of wrestlers to head into the state meet unbeaten.

In what was arguably the toughest weight class of the day, the 152-pound bracket, fifth-ranked Colin Conway reigned supreme after taking down Dubuque Hempstead's Alex Ward and Linn-Mar's sixth-ranked Jacob Wempen. Conway met up with Wempen in the semifinals and disposed of him by a score of 8-1 while he sealed the deal with a district title after scoring a 7-2 decision over fourth-ranked Ward.

Gavin Hiler, at 113 pounds, got to experience the sweet taste of victory and revenge as he defeated Hempstead's Hunter Foht, who has had Hiler's number in the past. Hiler battled throughout and picked up a huge 8-6 victory to advance to state as a freshman.

106 pound grappler Niyo Gady was a runner-up at his weight class and will advance to Wells Fargo Arena in just his freshman season.

Gady will open things up on the mat for Marion in the first round with unbeaten and top-ranked Cullan Schriever, a freshman from Mason City. Hiler will face off with Ankeny Centennial sophomore Eric Owens shortly after. Owens was ranked seventh via The Predicament in their final Class 3A rankings.

Caleb Conway will square off with seventh-ranked Brock Parker from Waukee in the opening round at 145 pounds while Colin Conway will battle unranked Marshalltown scrapped Reese Hageman.

First round and first round consolations for Class 3A will kick things off on Thursday, February 16, at 9 a.m. with Class 1A and Class 2A to follow.
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