CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s an odd day in the wrestling world when Waverly-Shell Rock Coach Rick Caldwell and Iowa City West Coach Mark Reiland share viewpoints.
But, that was the case Saturday at the Five Seasons Duals following West’s 34-31 victory in the finals at Cedar Rapids Washington. The Trojans ended the Go-Hawks two-year title reign in the event.
Both coaches were taking the latest outcome in a top rivalry with a grain of salt.
“We obviously feel better being undefeated right now than having one loss,” West Coach Mark Reiland said. “In the grand scheme of things this isn’t real important. We didn’t feel good about it last year and we knew it didn’t matter.”
Caldwell attempted to provide some perspective, noting that it boils down to high school wrestlers and coaches trying their best.
“Even when we won in the Duals last year, I was excited that we won the duals but it was one dual match,” Caldwell said. “In the big picture of life, it’s really not that big. Not that we don’t want to win and they don’t want to win.”
West (9-0) won eight matches, including two of three toss-ups. The biggest might have been Jack Hathaway’s 7-0 win over Tanner Werner at 112. Hathaway scored a takedown in the first and used a five-point move in the second for the win.
Werner was 2-1 against Hathaway last year, including a key victory over Hathaway in the championship of the state duals. He studied those videos and stuck to his strategy.
“I kept my position a little bit better,” Hathaway said. “I’d try to keep the match in my favor.”
With a 2-0 lead, the two were neutral when Hathaway put Werner on his back for the final margin of victory.
“I stepped in from and went with it,” Hathaway said of the five-point move. “It seemed to work.”
Hathaway’s win essentially sealed the win for West with three matches remaining.
Jon Stegall came through for the Trojans as well, scoring an important decision at 152, which could have reversed the score had it gone in the Go-Hawks favor.
Stegall trailed 2-1 in the opening period, but hit a headlock for five points and ended the first with a 6-2 lead. He held a slim one-point lead in the third, but rode Shawn Miller out, collecting nearfall points at the end to win, 11-7.
“We were pretty happy with it,” Hathaway said of Stegall’s win. “(We) all contributed.”
Miller appeared to be close to getting an escape to tie it when Stegall hip-tossed him to his back and held him there until time expired. Stegall scored eight points off two big moves.
“Wrestling wise he’s probably not where we’d like him to be but athletically he’s beyond where we can hope“ Reiland said. “He’s able to get out of some things with pure athletic ability.”
Gradey Gambrall won the opening match at 135, giving West a 3-0 lead. David Solis (171) scored a decision, following a Nick Moore pin at 160, to give the Trojans a second lead at 15-12, and one they wouldn’t relinquish. A.J. Bailey (189) won by fall, heavyweight Jamal Thompson received a forfeit and Keegan Wakefield (103) had a major decision to set up Hathaway.
“We proved we could wrestle with some kids banged up and sitting out,” Reiland said. “That’s what we need to do.”
In many of their meetings, it didn’t necessarily come down to either team’s best wrestlers. Caldwell was lightning quick to point out a deciding factor.
“152” Caldwell replied. “Anybody could have won that match and they won that match.
“It was early in the meet. It was a pivotal weight looking back on it.“
The Go-Hawks (5-1) built a 12-3 lead early after back-to-back pins by state champions Jake Ballweg (140) and Cody Caldwell (145), but never led after Stegall’s win. Eric DeVos (119) and Jordan Rinken (130) added pins, while Cody Krumweide won by major decision at 215.
West dropped Marshalltown (61-10) and Mason City (49-19). The Trojans were challenged by Bettendorf before winning, 37-32. Keegan Wakefield’s decision at 103 and Jon Skarda’s fall at 119 helped lock up the win for West.
The Go-Hawks rolled through the first three rounds, blanking Cedar Rapids Xavier, 72-0, handling Iowa City High, 63-16, and advancing to the finals with a 48-25 semifinal win over West Delaware. The Go-Hawks have a core of state meet performers, but more than half of the lineup are inexperienced when it comes to mat time, according to Caldwell said.
“I don’t know what to expect. To be honest, I didn’t know if we’d get by West Delaware,” Caldwell said. “I’m pretty pleased overall where we ended up for the day.”
West Delaware (4-2) scored wins over Davenport West (43-32) and Charles City (36-34) to reach the semifinals. The Hawks received major decisions from Jerad Hoefer at 119 and 152-pounder Brett Yonkovic, but lost to Bettendorf, 50-17, to place fourth. Yonkovic went 4-0 Saturday.
“I thought we competed hard,” West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss said. “We have a young group of kids.”
Voss said the team’s finish was fitting for the inexperienced squad. The Hawks are a work in progress.
“We’re just trying to get better each meet,” Voss said. “That’s going to be key, learning each time you get on the mat and so far they’re doing that.”
A.J. Bailey, Bettendorf, Brett Yonkovic, Cedar Rapids Washington, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Cody Caldwell, Cody Krumweide, David Solis, Eric DeVos, Five Seasons Duals, Go-Hawks, Gradey Gambrall, Hawks, Iowa City High, Iowa City West, Jack Hathaway, Jake Ballweg, Jamal Thompson, Jeff Voss, Jon Stegall, Jordan Rinken, Keegan Wakefield, Mark Reiland, Marshalltown, Mason City, Nick Moore, Rick Caldwell, Tanner Werner, Trojans, Waverly-Shell Rock, West Delaware, Wrestling