A Stormin’ Pointer is taking the competition by storm.
Center-Point Urbana’s Brock Rathbun has produced an impressive start to his prep wrestling career.
The 106-pound freshman is 10-0, climbing to No. 2 of The Predicament’s Class 2A individual rankings on the heels of his second tournament title Saturday.
“He had a tremendous youth career in middle school and AAU circuit,” CPU Coach Scott Slifka said. “I’ve been really looking forward to working with this kid.”
Rathbun has made his mark early. He won the Valley Community tournament on Dec. 1, adding a championship at North Linn’s Lynx Invitational last weekend. Rathbun recorded big wins, pinning third-ranked Brandon Mayer of Crestwood, and beating Dubuque Senior’s Chase Lynn, ranked third in 3A, in overtime.
The young wrestler thrives on the tough tests. Slifka said Rathbun is confident, believing he can only beat himself.
“He accepts challenges,” Slifka said. “He can’t wait to wrestle the best of the best.”
Lynn, a junior, placed seventh and eighth in the last two 3A state tournaments. In the finals of the Lynx Invitational, Rathbun scored the first two takedowns, building a 4-1 lead. Lynn forced sudden victory with two nearfall points in the third. Rathbun tallied a third takedown early in the extra period.
“He will find a way to score,” Slifka said. “He has so many combinations and they’re so natural. Wrestling just comes natural to him right now.”
Slifka said Rathbun has a gentle demeanor off the mat, comparing him to a teddy bear. On the mat, he is fundamentally sound and is strong in all three positions.
“He has tremendous feet. He’s a takedown artist,” said Slifka, noting backup Jordan Overbey allows Rathbun to move up to 113 occasionally at duals to strengthen the team. “Not too many people can hold him down. … I do not honestly know where his weakness is right now.”
The Stormin’ Pointers have more than one Rathbun making a contribution. Robert Rathbun is 9-2 at 160, placing second at North Linn on Saturday. The pair has helped one another, impacting the entire CPU team, which is 3-1 in duals.
“Bobby has been terrific for Brock in the practice room,” Slifka said. “They’re great for each other.”
Slifka said seniors Austin Shaffer (170) and Chris Pladsen (182) have wrestled well with eight and nine wins, respectively. The senior leadership has meshed with a talented freshman class to produce a good start, placing second at the Valley tournament and third at North Linn.
“That’s what it takes to build and sustain a program,” Slifka said.
Prairie cracks national rankings
Cedar Rapids Prairie earned national recognition for its performances to date. The Hawks have soared into InterMat’s “Fab 50″ rankings that include the top prep wrestling programs in the country.
Prairie entered the latest installment at No. 50, following a runner-up finish at the Battle of Waterloo on Saturday. The Hawks won Independence’s Mustang Invitational and finished second at the Five Seasons Duals. Prairie is 13-2 overall and 5-0 in the Mississippi Valley Conference, tied with Cedar Falls atop the MVC Valley Division.
The Hawks will take it in stride, and remain focused on making improvements.
“Like most rankings, we don’t get into it much,” Prairie Coach Blake Williams said. “It’s an honor someone is noticing we’re doing something right.”
Prairie, ranked fourth in Class 3A by The Predicament, is one of four Iowa teams on the list. Top-ranked Southeast Polk is 23rd overall. Class 2A top-ranked West Delaware, which edged Prairie for dual-tournament titles the last two weekends, is 37th. Bettendorf, which Prairie defeated in a Five Seasons Duals semifinal, is 43rd.
West Delaware’s state champion Adam Reth is ranked sixth individually at 220 pounds.
North Linn’s best Schott
North Linn’s Brendan Schott has continued the domination that led to the Class 1A 170-pound state championship last season. The Lynx senior is 14-0 with eight pins and a technical fall, receiving five forfeits, rebounding from an early-season injury.
Top-ranked Schott pinned his way through North Linn’s Lynx Invitational on Saturday. He pinned Williamsburg’s Mitchell Spenler in the first period, giving him 63 career pins and a 60 straight victories. Schott improved his career mark to 122-18.
“(Schott is a) great kid and hard worker,” North Linn Coach Brad Bridgewater said.