East Marshall/GMG finds No. 8 Knights’ armor impenetrable again

LE GRAND – After winter weather canceled the East Marshall/GMG wrestling team’s final regular season home meet, the Mustangs earned the opportunity to take to their purple and gold mat at least one more time.

A second time would have meant upsetting Class 2A No. 8 Union Community – the same Knights team that trampled EM/GMG 65-9 earlier in the season.

Union had no problem putting away the Mustangs again in Tuesday’s regional dual meet semifinals, and then the Knights cleared Bondurant-Farrar to earn the program’s eighth trip to state duals – and first since 2008.

East Marshall/GMG (11-18) improved by one match victory against the Knights this time around, falling 53-15, before Union (24-5) dispatched Bondurant-Farrar by nearly the same score, 52-15.

The Bluejays bounced Grinnell in their opener, 43-22.

Seventh-ranked Jay Reisetter (37-3) was the lone senior in the Mustang lineup to win his final home match, defeating Tanner Shirk at 182 pounds by the same 10-4 score he did in the two teams’ prior meeting Jan. 17 in La Porte City.

Ninth-ranked Zach Underhill (41-5), a junior, registered a pin at 120 against the Knights again, while sophomore Steven Proffitt (24-22) preceded it with a pin at 113.

Those were the only three match victories the Mustangs could muster, knowing well and good that they were a long-shot to duplicate their 2010 trip to state duals.

“It would have taken everything but a miracle to do that,” East Marshall/GMG coach Troy Underhill said of trying to upset Union. “They’re really strong all throughout and they’ve got a lot of experience, and that’s something that we don’t have a whole lot of.”

The Mustangs fell behind 23-0 after five matches as the Knights won the first two bouts by fall, another by technical fall and two minor decisions. Reisetter’s victory over Shirk ended the home team’s drought, but barely dented Union’s substantial lead.

Two more pins preceded the only match between ranked wrestlers on the docket. Second-ranked heavyweight Josh Clark of Union and No. 7 Nate Judge of EM/GMG squared off for the second time in 10 days. Clark won a 1-0 battle during the NICL meet and this time came away with a 7-0 decision.

“We had a couple things we were going to try, like I said Nate had nothing to lose,” said Coach Underhill. “He was doing some stuff that maybe he might not have, and that’s probably why the score was a little bit more than it would have been had he wrestled him differently.

“It was special to see Nate come back and give it his all. He had nothing to lose. It was just a horrible day on Saturday for him, I feel horrible for him. It was tough and he came back and he gave it his all and I’m very proud of him.”

Judge (23-7) suffered defeat in a true second place match at Saturday’s 2A sectional meet in Tama, missing out on districts and a chance at state.

Proffitt scored a second-period pin over Union’s Kole Hedeman at 113, and Underhill did the same against Ted Tecklenburg at 120.

Four Mustang wrestlers moved up a weight class for their final meet, Coach Underhill said, giving those who wanted to a chance to go on full feed and enjoy their final go-round this winter.

“Tonight we knew we were going to bump some kids up and let them wrestle their last night, no sense in them cutting weight to go into matches that we knew we were overpowered with some young kids,” Coach Underhill said, “so I just let the kids that wanted to move up move up, and all I asked them to do today was come out and wrestle hard, and I thought they gave a good effort today.”