Mustangs mount sweep in season opener

CONRAD For many, the rust had to be shaken off and some early nerves had to be quelled.

East Marshall/GMG freshman Nick Meling didn’t seem to show signs of either.

Providing a pair of pins at 106 pounds, the Class 2A No. 8 ranked wrestler lived up to his billing in his first varsity competition, sparking the Mustangs to a pair of victories at the South Hardin-BCLUW Double Dual Thursday.

East Marshall/GMG opened with a 37-27 victory over the Cougars before streaking past the Storm 45-21 to start their season 2-0.

“We had some jitters in that first one,” said East Marshall/GMG coach Troy Underhill. “For some of the kids it was their first time out wrestling at the varsity level, so there were some nerves. They stepped it up in the second one and wrestled very well.”

Meling didn’t need much time to settle in for his varsity debut. The freshman pinned AGWSR’s Eonn Springer in 54 seconds and returned for a 32-second win by fall over the Storm’s Orion Gunderson.

“Nick’s got a lot of confidence and he’s going to do well (at 106),” said Underhill.

“We expect a lot of things out of him. He’s a very hard worker and he’s going to get everything he earns because he works really hard in the (wrestling) room.”

Meling’s fellow cross country teammate Drew Schossow tallied two wins by fall at 145, while Zach Underhill ranked No. 10 at 126 – had a pin and a major decision at 132. Other two-match winners for the Mustangs included Steve Proffitt (120), Max Upah (138) and Nick Long (160).

AGWSR followed up its opening defeat with a 46-36 decision over South Hardin-BCLUW. Class 1A No. 6 ranked Clay Meinders claimed both of his matches at 195, including a third period pin against fellow 2013 state qualifier Blake Cooper. Meinders, who claimed seventh at 190 in Des Moines last February, downed Cooper with 19 seconds left in the match, after earning a 6-2 lead in the first period and a 10-3 advantage after two. Meinders also posted a 6-0 decision over the Mustangs’ Jaryd Young in his first match.

Miguel Reyes pieced together a pin and major decision at 126, while Austin Dolleslager (113), Brandon Johnson (152), Caleb Meinders (220) and Michael Young (285) also came away with 2-0 outings.

Ben Kuhl and Tyler Lutes led the Storm with unblemished marks at 182 and 170 respectively. Kuhl pinned his opponents in a combined 2:51, while Lutes won both of his matches by forfeit.

“We’ve got a long ways to go,” said South Hardin-BCLUW co-coach Mike Olson. “We gave a good effort but we’ve got some technical issues to work onWe were getting dominated in all the tie-ups and we didn’t dictate the match on our feet. We were giving away wrist control everywhere on the mat top, bottom, neutral – and trying to wrestle one-handed. We were reacting rather than attacking.”

Olson was disappointed Lutes didn’t get to wrestle, though that comes with the territory of being a stronger wrestler.

“It would have been nice to see Lutes in action, but he’s got a little bit of a reputation and he’s got to deal with that,” said Olson.”They didn’t go out of their way to wrestle him.”

Like the Storm, Underhill had several things to address with his squad for their next practice.

“We’ve got a lot to work on, just little stuff like hand positioning and where we’re at on the mat,” said coach Underhill.

“They realize know how hard we work them on getting in shape and that they can also work on that a little bit harder.”

The Mustangs are still waiting on a few more guys to fill in their roster with a few members out due to injury or not making weight. Underhill said Talon Roseland will rejoin the squad at 132, which will allow Zach Underhill to move down to 126.

South Hardin/BCLUW will compete at the Gilbert Tournament Saturday at 9 a.m., while East Marshall/GMG heads to the Montezuma Tournament Saturday starting at 10 a.m. AGWSR will host Dike-New Hartford and Waterloo Columbus in a double dual next Thursday at 6:30 p.m.