Fairfield hosted the 20th annual Southern Iowa Classic, an event started because of the small size of the Southeastern Conference after losing Burlington and Ottumwa, which left the conference with only five teams. Area teams have been invited over the years to join in the tournament, including seven non-SEC schools this year, with Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont having the best finish coming in second place with 171.5 points. Fort Madison totaled 179 points, good for their record-tying fourth team title, an honor they now share with Fairfield. Third and fourth place went to SEC members Mount Pleasant and Washington, respectively, with Knoxville finishing fifth.
Chariton, Keokuk, Albia and Centerville took sixth through ninth place, respectively, with the host Trojans coming in 10th, just 7.5 points behind the sixth place Chargers. Davis County and Clarke rounded out the field of 12.
Fairfield Head Coach Steve Miller spoke with The Ledger about his team?s effort late in the season, ?We?re seeing some good things from our guys,? said Miller. ?They?re fighting hard and are just a couple of moves away from winning some matches.?
Sophomore Jonah Cooper went 3-1 at 113 pounds and improved to 17-13 overall with a third place finish after winning by decision 5-4 over Fort Madison?s Mason Schau.
At 126 pounds, junior Mason Allen went 2-2 in his matches, including a loss by fall 3:14 into his bout with Tayton Ricard from Eddyville-Fremont-Blakesburg who claimed third place with the pin.
Trojan senior Zach Barnes rose his individual record above .500 with four wins against two losses in the 138 pound class to improve his season total to 19-17. Barnes finished fifth place with a pin 1:18 into his match with Clarke?s Colby Wilken.
Fairfield took the crown in the heaviest class, 285, when senior Brendon Lunsford wrecked his eight-man bracket with two pins and a 4-2 decision in the final over Keokuk senior Jerry Glenn who fell to 29-8 with the loss. Lunsford is now 29-2 as he focuses on a run back to the state tournament.
Another note worth mentioning is Fort Madison senior Harlan Steffensmeier took the title at 152 pounds to become just the fourth four-time champion at the Southern Iowa Classic in it?s 20 year history.
Next up is sectionals Saturday at Keokuk, followed by districts on Feb. 10.