CEDAR RAPIDS – Heart and fight became priceless as the value of paper plummeted and settled pennies above worthless last night.
Waverly-Shell Rock appeared to be the underdog entering its final match against top-ranked Iowa City West, but battled to claim its second straight title in the Class 3A State Dual wrestling tournament at the U.S. Cellular Center. The second-ranked Go-Hawks overcame a 19-point deficit by winning the last six matches and beat the Trojans, 32-31, receiving a point on criteria for most matches won.
Waverly-Shell Rock Coach Rick Caldwell chose his words carefully and called the win unexpected.
“I really thought they were a better dual team than us on paper,” he said. “Somehow we found a way to win.”
The Go-Hawks (29-4) succeeded anyway they could, scoring bonus points, preventing West’s bonus points and snatching an upset. The win was the result of a complete performance.
“It had to be with our team,” Caldwell said. “We have some outstanding individuals. We don’t have the balance that maybe some other teams do. Every single guy had to contribute.”
With West in the driver’s seat with six matches remaining, Waverly stormed back to force the 31-31 tie. Tanner Werner captured the momentum with a key 9-2 victory over Jack Hathaway at 103.
“We thought coming in we needed to make some breaks and we had to have one upset to have a chance,” Caldwell said. “That upset was at 103.”
Werner and Hathaway had split this year with Hathaway winning decisively in the most recent meeting at the beginning of January.
“I knew I needed to get a win and that’s what I went out and did,” Werner said. “I knew the seniors really wanted it and I really wanted it to and gave my all.”
Hathaway held a 2-0 lead, but the match and the entire meet swung on Werner’s reversal and cradle for three nearfall points that gave him a 5-2 lead after the second.
“I knew I couldn’t let go,” said Werner, who added a third-period takedown and two back points. “Keep building on that lead.”
Eric DeVos and Jordan Rinken followed with consecutive technical falls at 112 and 119.
Rinken more than doubled his seven-point lead in the third period, five takedowns and two penalty points for a 24-9 win over Hunter St. John with 18 seconds left.
Every point was crucial and the Go-Hawks knew they had to get all they could down the stretch.
“One of our coaches told us that they didn’t get as far ahead as they wanted to when it came to us,” Rinken said. “He told us that we need to get going. We need to set the pace high and score bonus points as much as possible.”
They put Cody Caldwell and Luke Pint in position in the final two matches to win the dual, closing the deficit to 31-25.
Caldwell topped Gradey Gambrall, 5-3, to pull Waverly within a decision at 125.
Pint won his own “rubber match” defeating Garrett Hathaway, 7-0, with a takedown in each period. Pint avenging the loss in his most recent match to Hathaway tied the score 31-31, but gave the Go-Hawks the advantage in the second criteria, winning eight matches to West’s six.
State Champions Jake Ballweg and Cody Krumwiede also earned decisions at 135 and 215.
Waverly swept titles for the second straight year. The road to this title was paved with naysayers.
“We proved it this week and last week,” Rinken said. “It’s kind of cool coming back, especially when it’s that close.
“It shows we have real good heart.”
West built a big lead thanks to pins from state champion Dylan Carew at 140, Derek St. John at 160, Dexter Curry at 189 and Brandon Kuehl at 285.
“I thought it was over,” Carew said about the lead after heavyweight. “I thought we were winning it.”
Nick Moore (152) ran out of time to keep from getting a technical fall and David Solis (171) only won by decision, missing the potential winning bonus points.
“They fought harder than we did,” West Coach Mark Reiland said. “They wanted it more than us.”
Waverly advanced to the finals with a pair of decisive victories, winning 10 of 14 matches for a 56-21 quarterfinal win over Western Dubuque, which finished 28-4 after its first state duals appearance. The Go-Hawks followed by beating third-seeded Southeast Polk, 47-25, in the semifinals.
“The most satisfying thing for us is we had a great team last year,” said Caldwell, calling the 2008 Go-Hawks one of the state’s best teams ever. “To come back and do it again, we take a lot of pride in that.”
West (28-3) reached the finals for the sixth time in the last seven years. The Trojans pounded Fort Dodge (9-10), 60-12, in the quarterfinals and notched a 56-13 semifinal win over West Des Moines Valley (20-2), which beat Southeast Polk (25-6) 32-23 for third.
“We wrestled great all day,” Reiland said. “We just didn’t have it (at night).
“No explanation. If I could have explained it we would have changed it.”
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Source: KJ Pilcher