Boone Central/Newman Grove senior is one win away from capturing Boone Central’s first, and Newman Grove’s first since 2008, state championship.
“I feel pretty good and the last match felt pretty good,” Merten stated. “I’m hoping I can go after it tomorrow.”
The Cardinal 220 pounder took an early lead and was up 3-0 after two periods against Austin Marx of Battle Creek. Marx scored an escape early in the third, but unable to find the equalizing takedown, as Merten held on for the win.
“The last period was pretty nerve racking,” Merten added. “I wanted to get another takedown, but he’s good at defending them and I just couldn’t.
160 pounder Ethan Dozler fell in his semifinal match against unbeaten Caleb Long of Valentine.
Dalton Rasmussen (285) Will Grape (120) and Gavin Dozler (106) each lost in their heartbreak round matches to end their tournament runs.
Ethan Dozler faces Conner Halverson of Gordon-Rushville in the consolation semis Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
Merten takes on Arlington’s Remington Gay in the 220-pound championship match at 2 p.m.