Iowa Wrestling Weekend That Was: IWCOA dual rankings will impact postseason pairings
Alburnett’s Rowdy Neighbor wrestles Lisbon’s Jackson Knapp in a 113 pound match at Lisbon High School in Lisbon, Iowa on Thursday, January 12, 2023. (Savannah Blake/The Gazette)
In a week of tornadoes one day and more seasonal winter storm warnings the next, wrestling offers us some normalcy that we all crave. IWCOA rankings released, Alburnett shines, Iowa State and UNI reign in Utah. That was the wrestling weekend that was.
IWCOA RANKINGS RELEASED
The Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association released its second set of doubles rankings Monday. The IWCOA polls are critical this season, influencing the path to State Duals for the top 24 teams in all three classes this season. This edition of the rankings will determine regional dual sites, with the top eight teams hosting “when possible and practicable in geographic areas,” according to the Iowa High School Athletic Association.
Eight regional duals consist of three teams. The bottom two ranked teams in a regional dual will wrestle in the semifinals on January 31st. The winner will face off against the top-ranked team in the regional dual finals that same evening. Regional doubles champions advance to state duals on February 4th at Xtream Arena in Coralville.
“I think it encourages coaches to participate in the rankings and give their team exposure,” said West Delaware’s Jeff Voss. “If the coaches do their homework and do what they’re supposed to do, the rankings are pretty true. It should make for a fun postseason.”
The method has been used for Class 3A in the past, but is a first for 1A and 2A. So far, the regional double fields 1A and 2A have been occupied by section winners and runners-up teams. The equivalent would be determining a slam dunk contest by a 2 point contest.
“It takes that tournament aspect out,” said Voss. “It is based on double rankings. I like this.”
Don Bosco is the top team in 1A while Osage is #1 in 2A. Perennial favorite Southeast Polk ranks first in 3A. Osage was on the fast track that season, winning the Battle of Waterloo.
In Class 3A, Linn-Mar is the only Gazette area team that should host. Currently, No. 15 Iowa City High, No. 18 Cedar Rapids Prairie, and No. 20 Western Dubuque would be in action if their rankings stand for the final poll.
Four-time state doubles champion West Delaware is third in 2A. The Hawks will host. Mount Vernon is fourth and should also avoid travel for regional duals. Williamsburg are No. 7 with a win over West Delaware and could host as well. The Wamac invited conference includes four likely in regional doubles competition, including No. 11 Independence. Wamac’s Benton Community and South Tama have received votes and have a chance to move into the top 24 by the end of next week.
In 1A, Alburnett and Lisbon are third and fifth respectively. MFL MarMac made its debut in the State Duals last season and is No. 10. Belle Plaine is in 20th place.
“I think 3A coaches like the process of using leaderboards,” said Independence Coach Michael Doyle. “So I feel like 1A and 2A coaches adapt to the same process. I think more coaches are getting involved. We can see that in the number of trainers participating in leaderboards. That’s good for wrestling.
“The part of the process I don’t like is that I wish the season was a week longer. In a week we will have regional duals, girls state duals and boys state duals. Hope the weather is good. We have no room for bad weather.”
Timing will be interesting this season as the state duals will be rescheduled to the old section weekend, which marks the conclusion of a three-day championship stretch at Xtream Arena following the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union’s first state tournament.
PIRATES PERFORM WELL
Alburnett has been successful this season and the Pirates have had a strong weekend. They opened with a Tri-Rivers Conference sweep of then-Nos. Lisbon and North Linn on Thursday, scoring 50 points in each double.
Two days later, Alburnett followed with a second place finish at the Cedar Rapids Jefferson J-Hawk Invitational. The Pirates finished the tournament just 1½ points behind Waukee Northwest of 3A (214-212.5) and a half point ahead of Fort Dodge.
Six Pirates reached the finals with Carson Klostermann (152) and Brody Neighbor with 138. Atlee DeWitt (106), Rowdy Neighbor (120), Gunnar Keeney (145) and 170-pounder Reece Klostermann finished second.
Interestingly, Alburnett was also short-staffed. They had no wrestlers in the heaviest three weight classes and almost won with only 11 wrestlers.
CITY HIGH TITLE TRIO
For the second straight week, the City High trio of Cale Seaton, Gabe Arnold and Ben Kueter have won singles titles. After winning at Ames last weekend, they both earned gold at Jefferson.
Seaton had a technical fall and a pin ahead of a 23-10 major decision over West Des Moines Valley’s Nate Bierma for the 126 championship.
The highest-ranked Arnold throttled the 182-pound bracket with three technical falls. He averaged 72 points over three games, including a 24-9 win in the final over Muscatine’s Andy Franke.
Kueter made his way through the field again. The world champion and three-time state champion wrestled a combined 3:12 that day. He beat Cedar Falls’ Drew Campbell in 1:05 of the 220 final and helped the Little Hawks finish fourth as a team.
CCA RECEIVES SECOND PLACE
Clear Creek Amana took second place in Saturday’s team race at Solon’s Ed Hadenfeldt Invitational. The Clippers scored 184 points, beating 1A Power Lisbon by five and finishing a distant second behind champion North Scott.
Twelve won medals, including gold for Cale Nash with 113. He was one of four Clipper finalists. Nolan Howell (126), Beck Arant (145) and 182-pounder Kaden Phan finished second.
Nash beat second-placed West Liberty’s Colin Cassady in the final, earning two penalties and a reversal for a 4-3 decision.
MID-PRAIRIE WINS HOME TOURNAMENT
The Mid-Prairie girls’ wrestling team won their Home Invitational on Saturday. The Golden Hawks 138 points, beating second-place finisher North Scott by 16 ½.
Mid-Prairie received titles from Gabi Robertson at 100 and 135-pounder Ellie Brenneman. Robertson nailed his way through the tournament – all in the second period – improving to 25-3. Brenneman had two pins in the first period and one loss to also have 25 wins.
FOUR BUCKS FOR GOLD
East Buchanan crowned four champions at the Oelwein Girls Tournament and finished second behind powerhouse Osage on Saturday. Vinton-Shellsburg, Anamosa and Independence rounded out the top spot.
Andelyn Cabalka (140), 155-pounder Keeley Kehrli, Brooklyn Graham at 170, and 190-pounder Alyson Krum each won for the Buccaneers, who finished with 250 points and just two behind the Green Devils.
Ava Scranton (120) from Anamosa, Bree Swenson (110) and Chloe Sanders (130) from Vinton-Shellsburg, Dakota Whitman (135) from Independence, Lyni Gusick (125) from Center Point-Urbana and the Union Community and IWCOA National Champion – State Champion for girls Jillian Worthen (105) was among the champions.
UNI, ISU beat UVU
Utah Valley is probably glad it won’t be crossing paths with a wrestling program in Iowa anytime soon. On back-to-back days, the University of Northern Iowa and the State of Iowa visited Orem, Utah and covered the Wolverines in Big 12 action.
On Friday, UNI (4-2, 2-1) won eight bouts in a 34-9 win. The Panthers received pins from 133-pounder Kyle Biscoglia, Colin Realbuto with 149, and two-time All-American 184-pounder Parker Keckeisen.
The third-placed Cyclones () were almost as dominant on Saturday. They won seven games 31:9. Zach Redding (133), NCAA champion David Carr (165) and 184-pounder Marcus Coleman fell to Iowa State.