DES MOINES - Tyler Lashbrook wears it with pride, and plans to show it off well into his years.
Whether or not he's sporting an old Tri-County sweatshirt or a Gladbrook-Reinbeck/North Tama T-shirt, Lashbrook will fondly remember his two state medals when he looks at it - the 'Iowa Wrestling' tattoo on the outside of his left calf.
He'll remember standing there amongst the best that his home state - the best state for high school wrestling - saw during those years.
Photo by Travis Hines
Lashbrook, a sixth-ranked senior from Grundy Center, moved up the podium in his second consecutive trip to the Iowa High School State Wrestling Championships by finishing fifth in Class 3A at 145 pounds on Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena.
One year after earning an eighth-place medal in 2A for Tri-County (Conrad) in his state meet debut, Lashbrook enjoyed the sweet taste of revenge in his last match in a GRNT RebelHawk singlet.
Two days after suffering a 9-8 loss to Bettendorf senior Jacob Smith in the quarterfinals, Lashbrook scored the only takedown in the fifth-place match against Smith for a 3-1 triumph.
If only they all could feel so good.
"It was good getting the revenge on him and it felt great, I just wish I could have gotten him the first time and gotten into that semifinal match," said Lashbrook, who wrapped up his senior campaign with a 43-4 record. "I wish that could have happened but since it worked out the way it did, it was great that we paired up in the fifth-sixth match and it was definitely great that I got revenge on him."
Smith lost consecutive matches in his fall back to Lashbrook, who went 2-1 in the meanwhile on the back side of a state-experienced bracket. Lashbrook's loss to No. 1 Chad Ryan of Sioux City North, the defending 130 champion, was his only loss by fall this season.
Both wrestlers scored an escape before Lashbrook, who had shot in on Smith's legs a number of times, completed the winning takedown with 36 seconds left in the third period.
"The more you're in attacking the legs, the percentages are going to go up, you're going to finish one," said GRNT head coach Jordan Schick, a two-time placewinner as well in his days as a RebelHawk wrestler. "As long as you take a good shot, take good, clean, safe shots, it starts wearing on the guy where he's thinking you're attacking, attacking and he can't shoot because he's got to think about defending."
Smith (35-10) scored the first point of the match on his escape with 26 seconds left in the second period, while Lashbrook immediately got out to open the third.
He stood on the podium as pleased as any wrestler in the state could be with the fifth-place medal draped around his neck in Saturday night's award ceremony.
"Iowa high school wrestlers are said to be the best of any state in the nation and I'm definitely proud of the fact that I can come down here, stand pretty high on the podium in the toughest state of wrestlers in the nation," Lashbrook said. "(The tattoo) is definitely something I'll keep on me for the rest of my life and be proud of."