ALBURNETT – The Alburnett wrestling team has the firepower, so the Pirates took it upon themselves to promote it.
Class 1A top-ranked Alburnett wanted to display it for fans, inviting members of the community to “Pack The Gym” for a “White Out” for one of its few home duals of the season.
The Pirates produced a lot of points and a lot of pins in front of a few hundred fans, dropping No. 4 Maquoketa Valley, 54-25, and East Buchanan, 54-25, in a Tri-Rivers Conference double-dual Thursday night at Alburnett.
With only three home dual dates this season, the wrestlers wanted to create an exciting atmosphere for what expected to be one of their most competitive duals of the regular season.
“We really wanted a packed gym,” Alburnett 152-pound senior Grant Henderson said. “It’s my senior year, so I wanted it to be special. I thought this would be a good idea and get people in.”
Alburnett Coach Kane Thompson was approached by Henderson and other seniors, including Colton Martin and Zach Hoyle looking for a way to involve more spectators. The team designed fliers and each wrestler handed three or four them out to someone who doesn’t normally attend duals. Unfortunately, the special night postponed Dec. 20 due to a blizzard, but the turnout was strong considering classes haven’t resumed from the holiday break and the original date changed.
“We still had a lot of people,” Martin said. “We would have liked wall-to-wall, but it’s still pretty cool.”
One thing to draw people in but the Pirates have the talent to entertain them when they reach the stands. They have a good product that has placed third at the traditional state tournament the last three years and reached the State Duals for the first time in school history.
Thompson was impressed with his team’s willingness to promote the sport.
“If we can get them in the gym, they’ll like watching us,” Thompson said. “We’ll score points and get some pins.”
Out of the 19 total wins, 13 were by fall. They led to a pair of dominant victories, improving their record to 15-1.
“Even the guys that aren’t ‘hammers’, we expect them to go out and compete like they are,” Martin said. “Coach says to go and wrestle your heart out.”
The Pirates handled Maquoketa Valley for the second time this season, winning nine weights. Zach Hoyle opened the dual with a fall at 170 pounds. Consecutive pins from Zach Fowler (106) and state champion Hunter Washburn (113) and a forfeit for Jordan Henderson at 120 gave Alburnett a lead for good against the Wildcats.
The Pirates blitzed East Buchanan (6-2) in the nightcap with eight pins, taking nine of the last 10 weights. Fowler, Washburn, Henderson, freshman Conner Shulista at 132, Martin, Grant Henderson, Dylan Windfield and Zach Hoyle all posted pins, and Jacob Koch added a decision for Alburnett in the finale.
“We’re a solid team,” Grant Henderson said. “When you have a good team like that you can get a lot of people to come out. It’s a bonus we have the good team.”
Despite the solid performance, Henderson and Thompson both said the team was rusty, attributing that to the first competition after an extended break. It was good to get back on the mat to head into the toughest stretch of the season.
“Getting this in (Thursday night) will us going into Saturday,” said Thompson, who takes the Pirates to a tournament Highland this weekend.
Maquoketa Valley beat East Buchanan, 45-30, in the opener. Jared Coyle (126), Luke Kramer (182), Ryan Parmely (195) and heavyweight Tyler Yonkovic all went 2-0 for the Wildcats. Maquoketa Valley is missing four starters due to injury, including ranked starters Carter Funke and Austin Stogdill.
Maquoketa Valley Coach Tim Andrews said starters should start making their way back to the lineup as early as Saturday.
“No excuses,” Andrews said. “Alburnett is still Alburnett. … I’d just like to see where we’re at come sectionals.”
Cody Platte and Colton Stoddard both went 2-0 for East Buchanan.
Alburnett 54, Maquoketa Valley 25
170 pounds - Zach Hoyle (A) pinned Jeremy Bacon, :44; 182 – Luke Kramer (MV) dec. Austin Hoyle, 7-0; 195 – Skylar Lewis (MV) won by forfeit; 220 – Ryan Parmely (MV) pinned Robbie Carrothers, :55; Hwt. – Tyler Yonkovic (MV) pinned D.J. Kohl, :43; 106 – Zach Fowler (A) pinned Greg Gutezko, 1:45; 113 – Hunter Washburn (A) pinned Koda Kreutner, 1:48; 120 – Jordan Henderson (A) won by forfeit; 126 – Jared Coyle (MV) major dec. Jacob Koch, 11-2; 132 – Conner Shulista (A) won by forfeit; 138 – Colton Martin (A) pinned Dylan Wright, 1:30; 145 – Bryce Paul (A) won by forfeit; 152 – Grant Henderson (A) won by forfeit; 160 – Dylan Windfield (A) pinned Steve Huber, :28.
Alburnett 57, East Buchanan 24
182 - A. Hoyle (A) won by forfeit; 195 – Tyler Hoffman (EB) pinned Carrothers, 2:55; 220 – Nile White (EB) won by forfeit; Hwt. – Cody Platte (EB) pinned Kohl, 1:27; 106 – Fowler (A) pinned Mac Meyer, :23; 113 – Washburn (A) pinned Dusty Decker, :57; 120 – J. Henderson (A) won by fall, :40; 126 – Koch (A) dec. Michael Naber, 6-3; 132 – Shulista (A) pinned Ryan Takes, :36; 138 – Martin (A) pinned Trenton Neuhaus, :58; 145 – Colton Stoddard (EB) pinned Paul, :51; 152 – G. Henderson (A) pinned Vincent Takes, 1:21; 160 – Windfield (A) pinned Chance Cook, :32; 170 – Z. Hoyle (A) pinned Griffin Cabalka, :24.
Maquoketa Valley 45, East Buchanan 30
160 – Huber (MV) pinned Cook, :41; 170 – Bacon (MV) pinned Cabalka, 3:40; 182 – Kramer (MV) won by forfeit; 195 – Parmely (MV) dec. Hoffman, 7-6; 220 – Platte (EB) dec. Lewis, 13-12; Hwt. – Yonkovic (MV) won by forfeit; 106 – Gutezko (MV) pinned Meyer, :54; 113 – Decker (EB) pinned Kreutner, :29; 120 – East Buchanan won by forfeit; 126 – Coyle (MV) pinned Naber, 1:05; 132 – R. Takes (EB) dec. Jeremy Fischer, 10-8; 138 – Wright (MV) pinned Neuhaus, 1:23; 145 – Stoddard (EB) pinned Alex Vorwald, 1:05; 152 - V. Takes (EB) pinned Jordy Downs, 3:20.