Can’t Spell ‘StatE chamPs’ without S-E-P
With coaches statewide anointing West Des Moines Valley as the unbeatable pre-season State Champions, the Rams went back to building its own State Championship team in their usual way: one piece at a time – one day at a time – one workout at a time.
The Rams returned superstars Perrien, Brown, Lendt, and Barnes; added new talent DeVos and Christenson; developed existing Varsity guys Babcock, Wonderlich, and Ames; while siphoning balance from Jeff’s Varsity in Brand, Breitsprecker, Strickland, Shaw, and Dishinger.
The Rams first struck during First Responders’ Night – a home fundraiser and tribute dual meet – following the murder of two local police officers. The event packed the house with nearly 3,000 police officers, firemen, EMT’s, and SEP / Valley fans, all clamoring to watch the drama-soaked battle. With Perrien’s return appearance and a last second blast double, SEP defeated Valley 36-30 to shock the State.
From then on, SEP’s “blood in the water” approach steamrolled the remaining competition during their undefeated dual season. Most satisfying of all was the Rams’ 48-18 drubbing of Fort Dodge in the State Dual Finals, led by a succession of pins from Babcock, Christenson, Wonderlich and Dishinger. The Rams’ pre-made team championship shirts, “Can’t Spell ‘State Champs’ without S-E-P”, were worn in the championship photo, thrown into the crowd, and heavily covered by the media.
The shirts were a sign of greater things to come for the Traditional Tournament. An unbelievable semifinal round by SEP resulted in an uber-rare Friday night mathematical lock. With 8 Placewinners, 6 Finalists and a State Champion in Zach Barnes, the Rams dominated the competition by +35 points, totaling 158.5, a #23 National Ranking, and a State Traditional Title 3-Peat.
120: Gauge Perrien (Jr.) - 2nd
126: Adam Brown (Sr.) - 2nd
132: Cade DeVos (So.) - 2nd
138: Nathan Lendt (Jr.) - 2nd
145: Zach Barnes (Sr.) - Champion
160: Thad Brietsprecker (Jr.) - DNP
170: Gavin Babcock (Sr.) - 2nd
182: Gabe Christenson (Fr.) - 6th
195: Cody Wonderlich (Sr.) - 4th
HWT: Levi Brand (Sr.) - DNP