Central wrestling has best meet of the year, girls perform well at state

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By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


The Warriors wrestling program had a big week as the girls traveled to Coralville for state and the boys stayed behind for the John Byers Invitational at Midland on Saturday. But even before all that occurred, the team put together one of its best duals of the season Jan. 19, at the Central home meet. The Warriors won three out of four duals and showed marked improvement in doing so. 


Coach Joe Koehn said, “We were ready to go, plus we had numbers. We can win duals when we have multiple kids filling multiple weights. Plus, I think having fans was a nice moral boost having some friends, family and local community members there to see what they can do.”


It started with a 42-12 win over Bellevue, where the Warriors won four of five matches. Daniel Royer (120 pounds), Nick Deitchler (132 pounds), Spencer Heer (195 pounds) and Brandon Whittle (220 pounds) all came away with pin victories. Noah Diersen (182 pounds) suffered the only loss. The Warriors also won three forfeits, but the real story was the improved wrestling. 


“We had a long discussion about working harder in practice and it’s starting to show. The kids are busting their butts to not only get themselves better, but their teammates as well. When kids begin to not only worry about getting themselves better, but also their teammates, that’s when things can get dangerously fun,” Koehn said. 


The Warriors also defeated Central City 42-18, but the dual had seven forfeits, six of which Central won. The Warriors went 1-2 in wrestling matches, as Royer won via pin, while Brandy Beatty and Whittle battled to hard-fought losses via pin. 


The match-up against Clayton Ridge saw a total of nine forfeits, with Central winning eight of them and going 1-1 in other matches to win the dual 54-12. The lone victory was recorded by Whittle, who pinned his opponent in 32 seconds. Maria Medberry fought for almost six minutes before succumbing via pin. 


The most important turn of events at the home meet was the dual against Hudson, who beat Central earlier in the year, 72-9. This time around, the Warriors closed the gap, losing 60-21, showing that the process is working, and the wrestlers are starting to listen and put practice in action. In fact, the Warriors finished 4-4 in wrestling matches, but Hudson was aided by six forfeits. In the win column was Deitchler, who pulled off an 11-9 decision, while teammates Nate Shirbroun (170 pounds), Diersen and Heer all came away with falls. 


“I was very proud of how the boys performed there. It was definitely our best performance of the season and I let them know it,” Koehn commented. “Conference I am pretty excited for because we have the potential to do some damage and score some serious team points. I think the kids are on track to where I want them to be at. We’re going to keep closing and scratching our way to the top and earn the respect I think we deserve.” 


This all led up to the girls state meet at Coralville, where Medberry, Beatty and Rebecca Suhr represented Central and the future of girls wrestling. Medberry finished the meet with two wins—albeit one was a bye—and two losses. Beatty won two matches with one pin and a bye, but lost two as well, both via pin. Suhr performed slightly better, ending the meet with a 3-2 record, with the wins coming  by fall and two byes, and the losses via pin. 


“It was a great experience at a new venue. The girls and coaches had a lot of fun competing and taking in the experience. We came up a bit short of what we all wanted but it’s what you learn from everything that matters. We learned that wrestling isn’t a nice sport and doesn’t always give in,” Koehn said. “Maria, Brandy and Rebecca each represented the school very well and I know that everybody is proud of them. They went down and competed and won a match in the toughest girls’ tournament in the state. Very happy for those young women.”


At the John Byers Invitational, the boys put in some solid performances, but ultimately finished with just two top-three finishers. Whittle was the team’s top performer, placing second at 220 pounds, and Shirbroun placed third at 170. Royer placed sixth at 120 pounds, while Heer was sixth at 182. Deitchler, Sam Fettkether and Sean Wilwert did not place. 


In total, Central finished with nine pin victories, one decision win and eight byes, while losing 12 matches via fall, one by decision and one by forfeit. 


“It was a good tournament with lots of teams that we don’t see. Really enjoy seeing that kind of competition outside of our area,” Koehn said. “I think the team performed OK. A few kids know that they didn’t do as they had hoped, and we need to grow and learn from it. Postseason is right around the corner and we can’t be dragging our feet from a loss a month ago.” 


As the season nears its end, the team has shown growth and resilience that hasn’t always reflected in the win/loss column. The Warriors will need that resilience as they compete in the Upper Iowa Conference Tournament this Saturday, Jan. 30. Central will host the tournament, which starts at 10 a.m.

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