Seven Winneshiek Country grapplers punched their ticket to the state wrestling tournament Saturday.

Three wrestlers from Decorah advanced from their Class 3A District meet at Epworth while two Warriors and two Trojans moved on from their Class 1A District meet at Aplington-Parkersburg.

These wrestlers are all headed to the state wrestling meet, which begins Thursday and runs through championship Saturday, Feb. 20-22, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

It will be a first-time experience for three grapplers while four have already tasted what it's like to compete on the big stage.

How they qualified

Wrestlers at all district sites, regardless of class, needed to finish in the top-two of their weight to advance to state. There were eight district sites per class, making 16 wrestlers at each weight who will compete at state.

South Winn and Turkey Valley wrestlers had to finish in the top two of their weight at the sectional meet, held Feb. 8, in order to compete at districts. The Warriors had five athletes compete at districts while Turkey Valley had six.

In Class 3A this year, Decorah did not have to compete at sectionals. Grapplers advanced to state by finishing first or second in their bracket at districts.

At districts, wrestler backs are utilized to determine true second place. If the finals loser and consolation finals winner (second and third place) did not compete against each other, they will wrestle for second place.

Advancing for Decorah are Kellan O'Shea (132), Alec Fjelstul (160) and Austin Ashbacher (285); for South Winn Ryan Hageman (170) and Chris Brincks (195); and for Turkey Valley Eric Buckendahl (145) and Luke Kuennen (285).

For the complete story and a state meet schedule, pick up Tuesday's Decorah Public Opinion.