He dashed from the Wells Fargo Arena floor when his goal for a second state medal was dashed.
Since that very moment, Independence senior Blaize Cabell has been a man on a mission, charging through the competition with his sights fixed on a state title this season to soothe the sting from last year’s disappointment. The Class 2A top-ranked 189-pounder has steamrolled his way to an undefeated record so far this season.
Cabell placed sixth at state at 171 his sophomore season and entered last year’s state meet with a 41-1 record and aspirations of a title or a top-four finish at the very least. In the second round, Cabell lost a one-point decision to state runner-up Trevor Voelker of Dallas Center-Grimes. The real heart-breaker came in his first consolation match when he lost by fall to Woodward-Granger’s Jack Manning with 20 seconds to go after owning about a 10-point lead with 40 seconds to go. Cabell was caught in a neck-wrench and his medal hopes eliminated. He bolted from the fans’ sights.
“That wasn’t an ideal situation for my season to end,” said Cabell, a state qualifier as a freshman. “It really hurt not being able to fulfill my goals and dreams I had last year.”
Independence Coach Michael Doyle said, “I think he thinks about it every day. It’s been a huge motivator.”
Cabell said he felt sorry for himself as he watched the last two days of the tournament. Self-pity gave way to motivation as Cabell immediately started to work toward avoiding a similar situation.
“It’s one of those bad things that happened,” Doyle said. “You can do one of two things. You can feel sorry for yourself, make excuses, pout about it and blame a bunch of people or you can pick up your stuff and starting busting your butt and that’s what he’s done.”
Cabell returned home dedicated to get better. A day hasn’t past where he has run, lifted, wrestled or a combination of all three since last year’s state tournament. He even increased his offseason wrestling, competing at Folkstyle National and Corn Cob National tournaments, placing first and third, respectively. He won Folkstyle National crown by defeating Urbandale’s tw0-time state champion Evan Knight, who now wrestles for Cornell University.
“It was a good ending for a good tournament for me,” Cabell said about the win over Knight.
Cabell also attended a clinic at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., in early July, where he spent roughly seven hours a day training or working on wrestling. He honed his technique, built
“Everywhere I went I was just looking to get better and improve,” said Cabell, who signed to wrestle for the University of Northern Iowa picking the Panthers over Iowa State and Northern Illinois.”That way when it came around to this season I wouldn’t have any difficulties. It would be my pace, my match. I’d be in control.”
Doyle said Cabell is athletic, quick and strong, and he likes to push the tempo of his matches. Cabell is a takedown artist of sorts, using athleticism to his advantage on his feet. He wants to keep the scoreboard operator busy for six minutes, if his opponents can last that long.
“He likes a high-paced match,” Doyle said. “He’s not going to stand around and win, 2-1 (or) 1-0,” Doyle said. “He’s going to try to score 20 points and have a lot of action.”
Cabell has blitzed his opponents, posting a 20-0 record. He has won by at least a major decision – winning by at least eight points – in each bout. He’s captured titles at Independence’s Mustang Invitational in December and last weekend’s Bobcat “Jerry Eckenrod” Invitational at Benton Community. Cabell won all three matches by technical fall at Benton, scoring 21 points in each of his first two matches.
“I’m geared for the whole six minutes (and) to score as many points as I can or secure a fall or technical fall,” Cabell said. “I kind of want to hammer home a point after state last year. Just going out there and hammering every ranked kid or opponent I meet. Just to make sure I can get the point across that I want to be a state champion and hard work is the only way to get where I want to be.”