Reeves, Dye bask in State spotlight after making podium

Kaleb Reeves takes in the moment following his third-place finish in the 220-pound weight class bracket at the State tournament in Des Moines. Reeves' previous best was seventh place, and had to rebound after a secound round loss, which ended his perfect season.

    If you put Mason Dye and Kaleb Reeves next to each other it’s evident they’re on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to height and weight. Reeves stands over six feet tall and wrestles at 220-pounds, whereas Dye is noticeably shorter and wrestles at 106. One thing they share that appearances won’t show, is having made it on the podium at the State wrestling tournament, which was held in Des Moines at Wells Fargo Area from February 15-17. Reeves finished in third place, while Dye took fourth.

    Heading into the most difficult tournament of the season, great things were expected of Dye and Reeves, having led the Sigourney-Keota wrestling program throughout the season. Dye got off to a strong start by taking down his first opponent numerous times throughout the match, as was expected based on his seeding. Dye wound up winning midway through the match via a 15-3 decision.

    The second day of competition led to another long match, which went into the third period, before Dye ended up getting pinned and sent to the consolation bracket. There he responded with a swift pin of his next opponent, taking him down in the latter part of the first period. Dye continued his push towards reaching the podium with another dominating match, in which he led a majority to a 10-6 conclusion. That win guaranteed him a spot on the podium, as he could finish no lower than sixth.

    With fresh legs and a new day, Dye came out ready to prove what he could do for the fans and for himself. In his first match of the day, Dye took the lead early on and then never relinquished it. While his opponent made things close near the end, Dye was able to take the upper hand in a 11-8 decision. Later that same day Dye wrestled in his final match in the State tournament, which determined whether he would finish in third or fourth place. A familiar foe was hoping to take down Dye again and did so by pinning him midway through the second period. Even though he lost his last match, Dye received his best finish at the State tournament, having not even made the top eight his freshman year.

    “Mason wrestled lights out, he did an awesome job,” Sigourney-Keota coach Craig Reeves said. “The only loss he got was against the same guy twice, and all year long that guy was projected to finish first. Mason kept his mindset and didn’t stress too much and did all he could. I’m very proud of how he competed and he’s got a couple more years to get on top of that podium.”

    For Reeves it was a different story, coming into the tournament as a senior and hoping to leave with some hardware to end his high school career. Reeves was one of the top seeds in his weight class, having accumulated a perfect record on the season prior to the tournament. In his first match on day one Reeves was able to move on, having successfully pinned his opponent in the second period. Reeves came back the following day, knowing he was only a few steps away from a chance at being the top in his weight class.

    His opening match on day two was rare, having nearly gone into an overtime period. For much of the match neither wrestler could establish any consistency, which led to very little points put on the scoreboard. Reeves found himself up by two points with only a handful of seconds remaining. With everything on the line, his opponent picked him up as Reeves tried to maintain his balance, but was then brought down to the mat, the official rewarding three points for a last second takedown. In the blink of an eye the potential first place finish was gone, as was the perfect record.

    “The biggest thing was the motivation from everyone, it was really touching to me,” Reeves said. “When I lost I honestly thought people would just turn their head, it’s not the fact that people don’t care if I win or not, it’s disappointing, especially for me. They struck back with nothing but kindness to push me back in.”

    Reeves responded with a quick pin of the next opponent he saw on the mat, taking him down in 37 seconds. From there he continued to gain more momentum, which resulted in a second and then a third-straight pin.  The first of the two victories were against Chaz Clark, whom Reeves had met up with at Districts in the final round. In the District match Reeves had almost been beaten but turned things around quickly in the end of regulation. When they met up again at State, Reeves made quicker work by pinning him in the second period. Those two wins put him in contention for a third-place finish, which was far and away better than his previous best at seventh place.

    “Honestly when he lost it took some pressure off his shoulders, and the Kaleb Reeves that’s been wrestling all year showed back up,” coach Reeves said. “He was being more conservative since districts, and when he took that loss, he opened back up again.”

    Reeves showed how bad he wanted to get that last win and go out on top, as he dominated from start to finish. He started out by taking down his man for a quick two points while keeping his feet in bounds, and eventually wore him down. Reeves finished him off with a pin late in the first period. Following the whistle blow and handshake, Reeves took in the moment by raising his arms into the air and seeing all those that had traveled to cheer him on.

    “I mentally broke after that loss, I honestly didn’t know what to do. My dad walked up to me and said, ‘You’ve got to go back and get third.’ At the time I wanted to be left alone, but those words stuck in my head and pushed me, along with people telling me to bounce back,” Reeves said. “The biggest thing is we haven’t had many place-winners (at Sigourney). I wanted to end it on a good note and with my dad coaching, I wanted to do as best we could for them and anyone who’s put time and effort into me.”

    It was a special moment not only for him and the fans, but also for his dad and coach.

    “I’ve always wanted one on top of the podium. He didn’t get it, but I’m very proud of all the time and work he’s put in and he has a lot of wrestling ahead of him,” coach Reeves said. “I think it was important for him to get this because it’s a good transition into the next level, to show he can compete with the best.”