WATERLOO – Different tournament, different format and different venue, but same result.
For the second straight week, Class 2A top-ranked West Delaware took home a dual title against some of the toughest teams in the state. The Hawks topped Cedar Rapids Prairie, Davenport Assumption and Linn-Mar to win the third annual Battle of Waterloo on Saturday at Young Arena.
This time did not mirror last week when West Delaware had to win the last six matches, including five by pin, to edge Prairie by one point, and come-from-behind to upend Linn-Mar. West Delaware pulled away, topping runner-up Prairie, 38-24, and the Lions 42-28, in the championship bracket.
“We didn’t give up bonus points and we reversed some of the matches we lost. That was our focus,” West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss said. “I told them in practice (Saturday) it was going to be an all-out war and we had to be ready to fight.”
In the opening dual of Saturday’s championship bracket, that featured winners of Friday’s pool competition, West Delaware (16-0) won nine matches. Zach Less (113) opened the dual with a pin and Jacyn Goebel and Adam Reth added consecutive pins at 195 and 220 for West Delaware, which received major decisions from Zach Muller (145) and Jake Voss (152).
“We got out-fought in some situations,” Prairie Coach Blake Williams said. “We talked to our kids after that and said we got out-fought. Hands down, they just beat us. They were better than us.”
Jake Voss and Connor Wickman were indicative of West Delaware’s improvement. Both won matches lost to Prairie opponents last weekend, accounting for a huge point swing. Wickman posted a 4-1 win over Dylan Becker at 132 after being pinned by Becker previously. Jake Voss lost 9-7 last weekend to Prairie’s Skyler St. John, but earned an 8-0 victory.
Overall, the Hawks didn’t allow as many bonus points, avoiding falls at four weights they were stuck last weekend.
“It was just time for the guys to toughen up a little bit,” Jeff Voss said. “I think they’ve done that the last couple weeks.”
The competition has been stiff, but West Delaware seemed to meet to the challenge.
“It’s awesome,” West Delaware’s returning state champion and top-ranked 220-pounder Adam Reth said. “Every week gets a little bit harder and we keep rising up and we work every day to get better.”
The Hawks were down 15-0 to open its final dual against Assumption in a rematch of last year 2A State Duals championship that was decided in the final minute of the last match. The Hawks managed a 34-26 win Saturday, however, closing strong by winning five of the last six weights and six of the last eight.
Goebel, top-ranked at 182, Reth and top-ranked heavyweight Dean Broghammer pack a punch for West Delaware. They were a combined 9-0. Reth had three pins in a total of 2:16. Goebel had two pins and a forfeit, wrestling a total of 2:04. Broghammer has not surrendered a point yet this season.
“We have different competitions sometimes, like who can have the fastest takedowns or the most,” Reth said. “We are always working hard in the room too. We’re in a group of three, and coaches get in with us, too. It’s fun.”
It was another balanced performance for West Delaware.
“I think we’re still evolving as a team,” Jeff Voss said. “The whole focus here was team effort. Not giving up a major (decision), not giving up a pin. You may lose a match but yet you’re still contributing to the team if they’re not giving up bonus points.”
Prairie finished second to West Delaware for the second straight weekend. Prairie rebounded from the loss to drop Davenport Assumption, 32-22, and Linn-Mar, 41-21.
“We kind of put a challenge them after that (West Delaware) match, let’s go out these next two meets and fight like we know how,” Williams said. “I thought we wrestled a lot better the Assumption meet.”
Josh Wenger (126), Cam Rathje (170) and Austin Gould (182) powered Prairie on Saturday. All three were unbeaten. Gould and Rathje scored bonus points in every win. Gould had a pin, won by disqualification after leading, and posted a major decision. Rathje notched a fall, major decision and received a forfeit. Wenger had two major decisions.
Prairie (13-2) doesn’t wrestle for runner-up trophies. Given the field, second is a strong showing, but it can be a reminder a title was just out of reach again.
“Probably, a little of both,” Williams said. “It means we’re close. We just have to take the positives and work on the things we need to improve. If we do that, I think we can get to our goals and be where we want in February.”
The Lions (8-6), which claimed the Pool C title Friday, went 0-3 Saturday. The Knights beat the Lions, 45-25, in the first round.
Iowa City West (11-5) was second in the third bracket, consisting of teams that placed third in their respective pools on Friday. Charles City won by technical fall and pin in the final two matches to claim a 35-33 win over the Trojans for the Bracket 3 championship.