Steege battles West

Denver-Tripoli junior Blake Steege took on Solon’s Bryce West in the Class 2A, 120-pound state final on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

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Blake Steege’s knee finally had enough. 

The Denver senior 126-pound standout suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee and will be out for the season, Waverly Newspapers confirmed. 

Steege, whose career has been riddled by multiple knee injuries, underwent surgery Tuesday to repair his knee, he confirmed, with a recovery time of six months. 

The injury occurred in the 126 championship match of the Keith Young Invitational last Saturday in Cedar Falls. Steege won the tournament title, but wrestled the final match against Don Bosco’s Easton Larson on “one leg.”

Steege, who is ranked second by both The Predicament and IA Wrestle, behind Underwood’s Alex Thomsen, did not surrender a point in three matches over the weekend. After receiving a bye in the first round, he needed 27 seconds to pin Mason City’s Chris Keller in advance to the semifinals, where he posted a 9-0 major decision over Waverly-Shell Rock’s Evan Yant. In the finals, Steege earned a 4-0 decision to end his day. 

His final match of the day turned out to be the last of his career. 

The Cyclones, who are ranked first by The Predicament and second by IA Wrestle in the Class 1A team rankings, won the tournament with 215 points, but there was concern regarding the extent of Steege’s injury soon after. 

Steege underwent a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan over the weekend and Cyclones coach Chris Krueger was holding out hope Sunday, but knew there was a possibility one of his top wrestlers and last season’s 2A 120-pound state runner-up could miss significant time. 

“We’re hoping to get him back after Christmas,” Krueger said Sunday afternoon. “Looks like he’s going to be out a while and we’re hoping, really hoping it’s not season-ending.”

The results were known Monday, when surgery was determined to be the best option. 

Surgery is nothing new to Steege, who has gone under the knife multiple times over the last few years. Knee surgery cut his sophomore season short, which sidelined him for six weeks and caused him to miss the state tournament. While rehabbing, Steege reinjured his knee that summer, resulting in another surgery. At the beginning of his junior season, a third operation was needed. 

“I was (thinking), ‘Three, man, that’s enough,’” he said, following his state final loss. 

He entered his senior season with high hopes. 

“It’s his senior year and we know he wants to be in there, so we’re hoping it’s something where we can bring him back at the end of the year and see what he can do,” Krueger said Sunday, still holding out hope. 

Steege won’t return to the mat this season. 

The Cyclones could approach the now sudden void in the lineup in a couple of different ways. Freshmen Brody Shover and Alex Krabbenhoft could slide in and get a good look at 120. Shover is listed 126, Krabbenhoft at 132. Both won JV tournament championships last weekend. Or, the Cyclones could insert sophomore Chase Lyons at the bottom of the lineup and bump other guys for duals. 

A year ago, Logan Meyer was lost for the season and the Cyclones “found ways to get crafty with our lineup,” Krueger said. 

Either way, the loss of Steege is a big blow to a team with high aspirations. 

“He’s not replaceable, so we’re going to have to see what we can do,” Krueger said.