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By Riley Cole, West Delaware junior
MANCHESTER — Hosting one of the biggest rivalries in high school wrestling, the Upper Gym at West Delaware High School was packed from wall to wall on Thursday night.
One light gleamed on center mat as the Independence Mustangs and West Delaware Hawks began warming up.
With the Clash of Highway 20 Trophy in sight, legendary wrestler and coach Dan Gable was matside calling the meet via KCRG 9.2.
Having Gable matside for the night’s event added a little spark.
“This was my type of meet,” Gable said. “Standing room only and fans screaming wall to wall. It was great.”
“This is what high school wrestling is all about,” Independence Coach Michael Doyle said. “There are two communities that really care about wrestling and two teams that are going to show up and compete.”
Before the 2009 dual, Matt Shannon, Independence assistant coach, and West Delaware assistant Kris Lenz started the Clash of Highway 20 Trophy into the dual.
“It adds a little spice to our meet,” Lenz said.
West Delaware won 10 of the 14 bouts and did not give up any bonus points, winning the Wamac Conference dual 47-11.
“After I won my match and saw and heard the crowd it gave me an adrenaline rush,”West Delaware junior Jake Voss said after his win. “I felt like I could wrestle another match.”
“As a team, we did what it takes to win big dual meets,” West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss said. “We scored bonus points and we didn’t give any up either.”
The meet ended the same way it has for the past four years with the Hawks holding on to the Classh of Highway 20 Trophy.
“It gives kids and fans something to be excited about,” Voss said. “We are going to do our best to keep it here.”
Gable, the 1972 Olympic gold medalist who coached Iowa to 15 NCAA titles, loved the atmosphere and enjoyed watching two longtime rivals compete for the Clash of Highway 20 Trophy.
“Let’s do it again,” Gable said. “And again and again.”