Forfeits plague improved MHS grapplers
Marshalltown’s Josh Edel had a tough time with Class 3A No. 8 Stone Sturges the first time the wrestlers faced off this season.
The state-ranked grappler from Mason City dominated on his way to a 13-3 win. Thursday, Edel came up short again but this time frustrated Sturges in an 8-4 decision.
It’s that kind of effort that MHS coach Mike Mann is looking for as he tries to rebuild the Bobcats back into a contender in the CIML.
Unfortunately, the end result as a team was another loss. Marshalltown gave away four forfeits and Mason City recorded bonus points in three other matches as the Mohawks walked out of the Roundhouse with a 46-20 victory, spoiling Marshalltown’s Senior Night
“The last time Josh wrestled that guy he was aggressive but spastic,” Mann said. “He learned from that experience and changed his philosophy. You can still be aggressive but not spastic. He anticipated the shots and frustrated him some. He could have won the match with a mistake. It was a victory for us.”
The Bobcats are improving, but Mann admitted there are still things that need to be worked on as the season winds down.
“Things are definitely looking better,” he said. “We still have to work on fundamentals. It can be frustrating because we will work on it in practice but it doesn’t always seem to carry over into the matches.”
Three of the four forfeits came because Pedro Gomez, Justus Bjelland and Cody Mast all have skin infections.
Bjelland and Mast were both cleared to wrestle, but Mann wanted to give them another few days to allow it to clear up completely. Gomez, who is ranked No. 4 in Class 3A at heavyweight, is expected to miss at least a week.
All three wrestlers should be available for the CIML Conference meet a week from today at Southeast Polk.
“It is a bummer for Cody and Pedro because it was Senior Night, but these are things we can’t always control,” Mann said. “You just try to take care of stuff like this the best you can, but I am not with them all the time.”
Mann said the Bobcats (4-16, 0-3) scored 20 points against Mason City in the previous meeting. He was pleased they got to 20 points again especially since Bjelland and Gomez were both favored to win their matches.
Junior Derek Mann got the Bobcats on the board first with a 4-1 win over Mason City’s Billy O’Neill.
Following back-to-back forfeits by the Bobcats, senior Matt Vandegrift scored a pin over Christian O’Banion at 220. That cut the Mohawk lead to three but another forfeit at heavyweight extended the Bobcat deficit to nine.
The Mohawks essentially wrapped up the dual in the next two matches as Quinn Slaven (106) and top-ranked Kaz Onoo (113) each won by fall. That made it 30-9 and Mason City was never threatened the rest of the night.
The Bobcats scored bonus points at 120 as Colten Phillips scored a 19-4 technical fall over Mason City’s Matt Tornquist. Phillips had three takedowns and two near fall points in the first period and led 8-2. He extended the lead to 12-3 after two periods and finished with a third-period takedown and four near fall points.
The other two wins for the Bobcats came at 138 and 145.
In the most competitive match of the night, MHS senior Zach Slocum pulled off a 12-9 win at 138 pounds. He led 4-1 with two takedowns after the first period but trailed 6-5 after two.
Slocum’s third-period included a takedown to regain the lead and a takedown inside 30 seconds to seal the win. The other points were collected from two escapes and a locked hands call against Mason City.
“He may have gotten a little jacked up from Senior Night because he just looked tired out there,” Coach Mann said. “He dug deep though. You won’t always be on your best game, but he finished the win.”
Ben Rebik scored a 6-1 decision against Jacob Strait at 145. The first four points from Rebik came at the end of the first two periods as he took down Strait as time expired twice.
A third-period reversal locked up the victory for the Bobcat sophomore.
“Rebik’s win was very good and Mann and Jordan Paone both did a good job today, too,” Coach Mann said.
Seniors Gomez, Vandegrift, Mast, Phillips, Slocum and Alec Gill all were honored before the match with their parents. … Coach Mann chose to put Vandegrift up against O’Banion at 220 instead of Vandegrift facing Will Slaven at his usual 195 weight class. … Paone lost his match 11-4 but did a great job of not giving up any bonus points. He was in a near-fall position for more than 30 seconds in the second period but battled to lose 11-4. … The Bobcats next wrestle at the CIML meet a week from today at 3:30 p.m. at Southeast Polk.