STATE WRESTLING: Gomez gets it done with late takedown
DES MOINES – Marshalltown coach Mike Mann can’t take much more. The stress is building, but his heavyweight just keeps winning.
Bobcat senior Pedro Gomez was in a 1-1 tie late in his first-round match with Cedar Rapids Washington’s Zac Gillis when he scored a takedown with 22 seconds left and advanced with a 3-1 win Thursday at the Iowa State High School Wrestling Championships at Wells Fargo Arena.
But the win was hardly what Gomez or Mann were looking for.
“I am happy about the win but not happy about the score,” said Gomez, who comes in as the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 285.
Mann said he should be used to it by now. He continues to watch his top wrestler win but has yet to see him dominate like he wants him to.
“He won, and that is what it is all about,” said Mann. “You fear what we saw today and then it happens. It’s stressful to go through. He just needs to pull the trigger early and often.”
Gomez (34-3) will next face unranked Landon Johnson of Webster City in Friday morning’s quarterfinal. Johnson (33-8) defeated Waukee’s Ryan Glenn (11-4), an Iowa State football recruit, in his first-round match.
“The ref said many times that he wanted to see more action,” Mann said. “That means nail somebody. My vision was that he was going to take him down four or five times like he did there at the end. He needs to destroy his opponent.”
Gomez said Gillis was aggressive on his head but stood straight up just before the takedown and the Bobcat senior took advantage of the mistake.
“I saw him stand straight up,” said Gomez, who announced this week that he will play football at Ellsworth Community College. “I took advantage of that. But I need to just take down guys sooner. And wrestle smart.”
There was no score after one period and Gomez led 1-0 heading into the final two minutes. Gillis scored an escape point to tie it, which set up the final takedown by Gomez.
Mann said it was fortunate that they won the flip in the second period and were able to score first, in case it went to overtime.
“That could have been a repeat of the CIML final against (Urbandale’s Shaquille) Wells,” Mann said. “I was just happy it came up red. But I was happier that we won before overtime.”
The potential semifinal featuring Gomez and Scanlan pits two rivals who have met six times in their careers. Gomez is 6-0 in those meetings. Gomez said he also could wrestle at Ellsworth. That is still up in the air. “They have a great staff and treated me like a family,” Gomez said. “They even came to one of my wrestling meets. No one else did that.” Gomez will be joined at Ellsworth by teammate Brandon Pettigrew. “It feels good to know that I will have someone there that I know. We have known each other for a long time,” Gomez said. “I won’t be the odd man out and will have a friend there with me.” Today’s quarterfinal session begins at 9 a.m. and runs through 1:30 p.m. If Gomez wins against Johnson he will wrestle in the semifinals tonight. That session begins at 3:30 p.m.