DES MOINES — Will Esmoil was not completely healthy.
During Friday's quarterfinal win at the Iowa state wrestling tournament, Esmoil tweaked his shoulder. He persevered through the semifinals later that night.
The West Liberty junior could not muster enough Saturday night to take down top-ranked Joey Busse of Humboldt. Busse scored two reversals, including one in the third period, to edge Esmoil 4-3 in the Class 2A 145-pound final at Wells Fargo Arena.
"(Friday night) was all guts," Esmoil said. "I barely warmed up Saturday. I was hoping the adrenaline would kick in and I could wrestle through it.
"It just sucks."
Esmoil wasn't certain the severity of the injury, but did plan to visit the doctor this week to get it evaluated.
Looking to join his brother, Bryce, as a state champion, Esmoil grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period. Busse, who finished the season 47-0, responded with a reversal late in the period.
After a scoreless second, Busse slipped out for another reversal. Esmoil was able to escape in the final seconds, but couldn't get a takedown before time expired.
"I knew I could ride him for a bit, but eventually I had to either turn him or let him up and take him down," Esmoil said.
Esmoil finished the season with a 36-3 record and his second state medal. He won River Valley Conference, sectional and district championships.
"It was a really fun season," he said. "I told my coaches I had a lot of fun, and that's all you can ask for."
Still, it stokes the fire to finish on top of the podium next winter. Esmoil said the biggest key is wrestling with more confidence.
"I need to trust my offense more and get better in my head," Esmoil said. "I want to win it next year."
Esmoil was one of four medalists for the Comets.
Kobe Simon finished fourth place at 220 pounds. Simon (36-12) recorded a pin in the consolation semifinals before losing in the consolation final.
Coy Ruess (152) placed seventh and Austin Beaver (160) took eighth for West Liberty, which finished with 47 points and in 13th place.
Wapello's Daniel Meeker, a state finalist in 2018, placed fourth in 1A at 126 pounds. Meeker split matches in Saturday's consolation round, collecting a pin in the semifinals and then losing 10-4 in the placing match.
Wilton's Kael Brisker was sixth in 1A at 106 pounds as was Columbus Community's Jarod Kadel in 2A at 138.
Muscatine's Brennan Broders finished eighth in 3A at 182. Broders dropped a 6-5 decision to Southeast Polk's Justin Brindley. Broders concluded the year with a team-best 39 victories.