CEDAR FALLS – Big effort produced a big win.
Eighth-ranked Iowa City West had one of its most complete performances of the season, winning nine matches and knocking off No. 2 Cedar Rapids Prairie, 39-23, Thursday night in a Mississippi Valley Conference double-dual at Cedar Falls High School.
“For the first time, we put 14 wrestlers together that gave an effort,” West coach Mark Reiland said. “We keep trying to tell them it’s about effort. If you want to go out and roll over we might as well find someone else to throw out there. I don’t care if you get pinned but give me an effort.”
The Trojans (16-7, 7-1 MVC Mississippi) stormed in front and never looked back, claiming seven of the first eight bouts for a 30-6 lead over the Hawks (15-3, 7-1 MVC Valley).
West’s top-ranked Kegan Wakefield opened the dual with a fall over No. 3 Trey Blaha, catching him in a cement-mixer – a roll from a front-headlock putting an opponent on his back – for a 1:24 pin. John Milani scored a pin with one-second left in the second period at 152, answering a fall from Prairie 145-pounder Skyler St. John and giving West a 12-6 edge.
They followed a decision from Jackson Voigt (160), a fall from Donovan Doyle at 170, and then three straight decisions from Mitch Yoerger (182), 195-pounder Mickey Pelfrey and Micah Kelsay at 220. Tristen Bowers also won by fall for West. Yoerger avenged a loss to Jared Cadena a year ago.
“I think we got on a roll,” Reiland said. “We got a big match right away, caught them and got a fall, and then a fall at 152 with one second left. We got some momentum right there.”
Just about everything went West’s way. They scored falls, won toss-up matches and came out on top in both weights with two ranked wrestlers. Prairie was short-handed, missing three ranked wrestlers – Dylan Becker at 132, Cameron Rathje (170) and 182-pounder Austin Gould.
“Obviously without Rathje and Gould that changes 170 and 182 quite a bit,” Reiland said. “We took advantage of those situations.”
Prairie went on a run of its own to win four straight. Heavyweight Andrew Netolicky won by decision, Sam Uthoff (106) and Zack Fiser (113) posted consecutive major decisions and Jayden Flege won by fall at 120.
“It was very disappointing,” Prairie head coach Blake Williams said. ”I told the guys I don’t care what 14 guys we have there are no excuses.
“We didn’t wrestle to our ability. Credit West. They out-fought us.”
Prairie rebounded in their dual against Cedar Falls (10-7, 8-1 MVC Valley), taking 11 weights for a 58-12 win. In the second dual, St. John, River Whitters (170), Casey Becker (195), Netolicky, Uthoff, Fiser, Wenger and Blaha all had falls for the Hawks.
Second-ranked Chris Walters closed the dual with a win over No. 3 Josh Wenger. Walters, who was a state runner-up for Prairie last season, scored four takedowns against his former practice mate for a 9-3 victory.
“From what I saw he looked pretty good,” Reiland said. “He looked under control.”
Ideally, this would be indicative of how the Trojans will perform the rest of the season. Reiland will wait and see.
“I hope so,” Reiland said. “We shouldn’t be inexperienced at this point. We’re 30 matches into the season. Inexperience isn’t what you talk about. Some of these guys you don’t know what you’re going to get.”