DES MOINES - Estherville Lincoln Central's Oscar Ramirez accomplished his goal of finishing higher at the 2013 state wrestling tournament than he did a year ago.
After finishing fourth on Saturday, the junior will have one more opportunity in achieving a state title next year.
After losing Friday's semifinal, 9-0 to Cole Erickson of Mediapolis, Ramirez found himself facing a familiar foe in Spencer's Levi Gilmore (46-9) on Saturday.
ELC coach Dan Hewitt yells instructions to Oscar Ramirez, top, from the corner of the mat during the Class 2A 132-pound, third-place match on Saturday.
Photo courtesy Dan Voigt, E’burg Publishing
Gilmore had given Ramirez his first loss of the season at the sectional meet with Ramirez avenging that loss at the district meet.
This time, Ramirez came ready to wrestle and built a 12-3 lead before pinning Gilmore in 5 minutes 19 seconds.
That put him in the third-place match against second-ranked Kyle Springer (49-6) of Davenport Assumption.
Ramirez, ranked fourth, battled but lost 19-4 technical fall as he finished fourth with a 38-3 record.
Ramirez, who went 4-2 at the state tournament, said the reason he lost the two matches were because the other wrestlers were stronger than he was.
"Overall I think that me and Blake (Gjerde) had one of the tougher brackets," he said. "I could've lifted more last summer and that the reason those guys beat me because they were stronger."
ELC Dan Hewitt also assessed Ramirez' last three matches.
"The Erickson match was a rematch of last year's consolation semifinal," said Hewitt. "Cole is a solid kid and a physical wrestler. I know Oscar can wrestle him better, but Cole is a very smart wrestler. We got in on his hips twice and he countered it well."
In facing Gilmore, Hewitt said Ramirez was very physical and dominated the Spencer wrestler.
"Oscar had a goal in mind and went after him," said Hewitt.
In taking on Springer, Hewitt noted his only losses were to top-ranked Colton McCrystal, who won the state title at that weight.
"He's a very physical kid," Hewitt said of Springer. "We tried to put Oscar in a position where he wouldn't get pinned."