IOWA CITY – Iowa City Regina is figuratively starting from scratch.
The Regals program had most of its record books accidentally thrown away, but it appears they have the talent to start refilling those pages. Regina earned its first second-place team finish in a long time at Midland’s Jon Byers Invitational in Midland last weekend.
The roster consists of 12 wrestlers, which is an increase from last year. So is their 7-12 dual record.
“It’s great to see all the guys slowly become better,” said senior Josh Adam, who is ranked sixth at 145 in Class 1A by The Predicament. “It’s cool being able to see that.”
Saturday’s achievement was a prime example of how far the Regals have come under first-year head coach Dan Carrell. They claimed the runner-up finish despite five empty weights after having as many as nine earlier in the season. The Regals continued to build on the little successes and focusing on wrestling their best each time on the mat.
“These guys started to see how they are coming together,” Carrell said. “As long as you’re making those bonus points you can score the big team points.
“It took every guy that went out there.”
Regina found itself in unfamiliar territory as the final team standings were announced. Adam didn’t hear team scores during the tournament and joked about missing them call Regina’s placement as they approached the leaders’ totals. The Regals were excited to find out they placed behind only eighth-ranked Lisbon.
“It was the coolest thing I’ve ever heard,” Adam said. “Just being able to go from one of the last teams at every tournament to second.”
Regina followed that performance with a double-dual Monday. Carrell said the team begged for competition to fill a void in the schedule leading up to Saturday’s Cedar Valley Conference tournament at Wilton.
“They’re just hungry,” said Carrell, 40, who previous served as a junior high coach. “It’s terrific to see. They want to see the hard work put to use and see what it’s doing for them.”
They swept Durant and Midland. The Regals’ 42-39 victory over Durant on Monday avenged a lopsided loss earlier this season. Carrell noted Clyde Snow scored a key pin and Adam Bracken moved up two weight classes, helping the team win.
It was indicative of the program’s progress.
“It was a great feeling to know how far we’ve come from the beginning of the season,” Regina’s 112-pound sophomore Nathan Shank said. “To see that improvement, that was awesome.”
A big factor is the team’s work ethic. Shank said more wrestlers are working out in the morning, staying after practice and adding weight training to their regimen.
“You don’t see anybody giving up. Everyone is working their butt off to try to prove themselves and get to the next level,” Shank said. “People are doing extra little stuff that’s going to put us ahead of our competition. We love to wrestle. It is important to us.”
Regina has had strong individuals in previous seasons. Some have reached the awards stand at the state tournament. Adam and Shank qualified for the state meet last year, and are two of the teams leaders. Adam and Bracken were voted captains. Carrell also praised Berkley Grimm (215) and Daniel Gaffey (189). Both have beaten two ranked wrestlers this year after dropping down a weight.
Team success adds to the enjoyment.
“It makes it so much better,” Adam said.
Carrell has received compliments from opposing coaches about the Regals’ performance. The common theme is how they are more competitive.
“It’s great to hear that regularly,” Carrell said. “We have guys absolutely dedicated. They want to see their wrestling careers peak.”
You can probably pencil that in those new record books.