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STATE WRESTLING: Short tourney stay motivates Dirks for next year

Monday, February 20, 2012

(Sentinel photo by Bethany Kroeze) A-W's Daniel Dirks grapples with Logan Loftus during the consolation round on Friday afternoon in Des Moines.
DES MOINES - Daniel Dirks stayed flat on his back after the sound of the final whistle.

The junior 138-pounder covered his face with his hands as he processed the last minute and 50 seconds.

That's all the time it took for Logan Loftus to record the fall and end Dirks' season.

The junior squirmed out of a near-fall once in the short match but could not find a way out of Loftus' headlock and the Iowa Valley junior pinned Dirks to the mat to record the fall.

The loss that ended his second straight trip to the state wrestling tournament did not create negative feelings for the Akron-Westfield junior, however.

Instead, the end of his junior season created intensified motivation for his senior year.

"Right now, ugh, I know exactly what I want (for next year)," Dirks said on Saturday afternoon. "I can build off this, definitely. Knowing what I didn't finish this year, it just means I've got to work hard and put in more offseason training."

Dirks drew a tough opening match at the 2012 tournament. The junior opened his stay in Des Moines against second-ranked Sam Solis of Clarion-Goldfield. Solis, who entered the tournament with an unblemished record, worked to a fourth-place finish at 138 pounds, after narrowly escaping Dirks with an 11-10 decision on Thursday.

Dirks stayed alive in the tournament with a 12-8 decision over David De Long of Martensdale St. Marys in Thursday night's consolation round.

After watching teammates Chet Utesch and Chet Willer win quarterfinal matches in the championship bracket on Friday afternoon, Dirks stepped onto the mat for the second round of consolations.

The battle between Dirks and Loftus did not last long as Loftus recorded the fall late in the first period.

But the influence of that loss will live on into the offseason.

"Daniel Dirks had a great tournament," A-W coach Chad Utesch said. "He did not have the greatest draw, but he wrestled every kid tough. That's going to be good for him. He knows right where he's at; even if he didn't place, he knows he was right there with each one of them.

"I think getting beat motivated Daniel. He's already ready to start next season."

The junior, who ends his season with a 33-14 record, said that he peaked at the right time this year, but perhaps he did not set his goals high enough.

"I started out kind of rocky this season, but I peaked when I needed to," Dirks said. "I improved a lot since last year. "I'm definitely not going to accept anything less than a medal (next year)."

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