MFL MarMac wrestling team claims Upper Iowa Conference title

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MFL MarMac claimed the team title at the Upper Iowa Conference Tournament, held Jan. 29 at Central. Pictured (front, left to right) are manager Emily Hendrickson-Troester, manager Rose Koehn, Cortney Schroeder; (middle) Collin Henkels, head coach Chet Bachman, assistant coach Travis Johnson, Koal Klenk, Gabe McGeough, Holden Mathis, Karter Decker, Kashton Mathis, Konnor Barat-Klimesh; (back) Nolan Lerch, Austin Nickolai, Jacob Trudo, Logan Brown, Michael Knickerbocker, Andrew Heins, Tristen Koehn, Austin Schlee, Taylor Herzmann, Bryce Radloff, assistant coaches Collin Stubbs and Tracy Decker, Kadence Pape and assistant coach Brent Pape. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Holden Mathis

Karter Decker

Kashton Mathis

Gabe McGeough

Andrew Heins

Koal Klenk

Austin Schlee

Four Bulldogs are individual champions

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


It was another successful week for the MFL MarMac wrestling team, which earned three more victories to stay undefeated in duals, then claimed the top spot at the Upper Iowa Conference Tournament.


The Bulldogs hosted several teams in a home dual meet on Jan. 28, picking up wins against Clayton Ridge, Oelwein and Waukon.


They easily won the opening dual with Clayton Ridge, 72-3. The Eagles had just two wrestlers, giving MFL MarMac nearly all its wins via forfeit. Austin Nickolai won his match at 195 pounds, while Konnor Barat-Klimesh narrowly lost an 8-6 decision at 113.


It wasn’t much different in the second dual with Waukon, which the Bulldogs took 66-9. Nickolai, Kashton Mathis (145), Gabe McGeough (170), Jacob Trudo (285) and Andrew Heins (126) led the effort with falls. Barat-Klimesh scored a 10-4 decision victory and 132-pound Bryce Radloff won his match 5-2. Karter Decker (138), Tristen Koehn (152), Austin Schlee (160), Michael Knickerbocker (182) and Logan Brown (220) picked up forfeit wins.


Holden Mathis lost his 120-pound match by a close 7-6 decision, and Waukon earned its remaining points by an MFL MarMac forfeit at 106.


The final dual of the night was closer, with the Bulldogs defeating Oelwein 54-27. Barat-Klimesh, Kashton Mathis, McGeough, Holden Mathis, Radloff and Decker all won by fall. Nickolai, Koehn and Trudo added on with forfeit victories.


At 126 pounds, Heins came out on the wrong side of a 4-2 decision, and Schlee, Knickerbocker and Brown were pinned by their opponents.


MFL MarMac continued to perform well at the Jan. 29 Upper Iowa Conference Tournament at Central, which was moved up a day due to impending weather. The team scored 234 total points, edging out South Winneshiek, who had 219, for the title.


“The kids wrestled well,” said head coach Chet Bachman. “We did a lot of damage on the back side—got a lot of pins—to get it done. Going in, they knew they had to wrestle hard and not worry about seeding. Just beat who’s in front of you.”


The Bulldogs also had four individual champions, including Holden Mathis at 120 pounds, Decker at 138 pounds, Kashton Mathis at 145 pounds and McGeough at 160 pounds.


Holden Mathis, one of the team’s strong freshmen, set the stage with a 7-4 decision victory over North Fayette Valley’s Nick Koch in the first-place match.


“He just never quits,” said Bachman. “That was a huge upset and set the tone for us.”


The finishes for Holden’s older brother, Kashton Mathis, and teammates Decker and McGeough were a bit more predictable, but still exciting, shared Bachman.


“Their leadership really showed,” he said. “They got done what they were supposed to do, and I’m happy with the way they went about it.”


In addition to the four champions, three other Bulldogs wrestled for first place. All the matches were close battles, with Barat-Klimesh losing 10-7 to Postville’s Jackson Wedo in the 113 weight class, while Heins lost a 7-5 decision to South Winn’s Ethan Maldonado at 126 and Trudo lost 3-2 to NFV’s Jackson Blue at heavyweight.


“Andrew’s close,” said Bachman of the junior, who was conference champion as a freshman but missed last season due to injury. “He’s about to the point where he left off two years ago. He just has to push through.”


Bachman said Trudo fell victim to a sparse weight class. In addition to Blue and Trudo, there was just one other heavyweight wrestler, and he was unable to wrestle Trudo earlier in the tournament due to injury.


“So Trudo had to sit all day, for five hours,” he said.


The Bulldogs also got a big boost from 106-pound Koal Klenk, 132-pound Radloff, 152-pound Koehn and 170-pound Schlee, who all wrestled well on the back side to place third. Brown finished fourth at 220 pounds, while Nickolai was fifth at 195 and Knickerbocker sixth at 182. 


MFL MarMac will work to keep the momentum going into the postseason, with sectionals this Saturday, Feb. 6. The Bulldogs will host this year, welcoming familiar conference opponents Central and Postville, as well as Denver, Edgewood-Colesburg, Starmont, Sumner-Fredericksburg and Wapsie Valley.


“It’ll be nice in our home gym. We don’t have to travel,” said Bachman. “But we look at it as just another day. You just have to step on the mat and wrestle who’s in front of you, win against who’s in front of you. Everything else will take care of itself.” 

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