Bobcats’ Senior Night spoiled by rival Ames
Many of the Bobcat wrestlers that coach Mike Mann has become accustomed to counting on over the past few seasons again were at or near their best on Saturday at the Roundhouse.
Mann would just like to get a little better effort from the rest of his lineup.
The Bobcats hosted rival Ames for a make-up dual, but the Little Cyclones ruined Senior Night by winning eight of the 14 matches in a 38-28 victory during Central Iowa Conference Northern Division action.
“I am very disappointed,” said Mann. “We had three or four matches that we were winning, should be winning or are close in and then we give up big points and get pinned. The bonus points we give up are hurting us. We have to find a way to stop making those mistakes that cost us the match.”
Ames scored forfeit wins at 120 and 220 but also recorded two major decisions and two pins in the conference victory.
Derek Mann and Justus Bjelland both won matches on their Senior Night, and the Bobcats also got wins from Ryan Bitker, Mitch O’Hare, Josh Edel and Reese Hageman.
Mann, ranked 10th at 170 pounds, did not go up against No. 7 Hank Swalla but instead pinned Jacob Arrowsmith in 49 seconds. Edel also got a win by fall in the first period, while Bitker’s win was by major decision and Hageman’s was by forfeit.
“I think it would have been good for both of them mentally to get a match like that before districts, but it not happening was all right, too,” Coach Mann said of the anticipated Derek Mann-Swalla ranked showdown.
The night started at 182 but normal starter Ben Rebik did not wrestle because of a rib injury. Bjelland’s win at 195 was the only victory in the first four matches for the Bobcats, but Bitker’s win at 106 trimmed the Ames advantage to 15-7.
The lead blossomed to 25-7 thanks to a major decision from Conner Christensen at 113 and a win by forfeit from Michael Casey at 120. Hageman was handed a surprising forfeit at 126 and then O’Hare’s victory at 132 came in the first overtime period.
“Mitch has wrestled matches all year very close,” Coach Mann said. “He doesn’t have a lot of speed and doesn’t move real fast, but he has a big heart and he just finds a way to win and that’s awesome.”
Back-to-back pins by Ames at 138 and 145 extended its lead to 35-16 and locked up the dual win.
Peyton Williams lost a close match, 7-5, at 152 before Edel and Derek Mann finished off the night with easy pins.
“I am just frustrated at the way we are wrestling. We are not mentally tough enough, not being physical enough and not having a lot of fight,” Coach Mann said. “Then, you make a few mistakes and it costs us the match.”
The Bobcats honored four seniors before the match – Bjelland, Derek Mann, Dakota Platt and Austin Baker.
“Baker has been out four years and won a couple JV matches tonight to go out on a high note, and Dakota has been excellent in his only year of wrestling. It was good to have him out as a senior.
“Justus has been awesome. If I had a whole team of Justus’ we’d be all right. He’s just steady, he adjusts real well and has been a total pleasure to coach.”
Derek Mann recorded a pin to start off Coach Mann’s first-ever dual win as a varsity coach last year and then ended the night with a pin on his night Saturday.
“It’s kind of neat to coach your nephew and at the same time it’s kind of hard on both of us, but it’s been fun,” Coach Mann said. “He got that first pin last year when I got my first win as a head coach and then he wrestles the last match of the night and gets a pin on his night. That was cool.”
The next time MHS hits the mats will be at the district meet in Newton on Saturday. And it could be a tough day for the Bobcats as the field includes stallwarts Iowa City West and Cedar Rapids Prairie.
“The field is tough and the way we have looked this year, we are going to struggle to get guys through to state,” Coach Mann said. “I won’t sugar coat it. It will depend on how we get seeded and how we wrestle, but it’s going to be a tough day. It will be an uphill battle.”
Coach Mann said he expects Rebik to be ready to go for the district meet. Swalla did not wrestle because of an injury. Bjelland celebrated his 18th birthday with an 11-4 win by decision. Two managers and four cheerleaders also were honored on Senior Night. The two managers were Abby Saucedo and Kelly Vopava and the senior cheerleaders included Brooklyn Amundson, Salina Anderson, Taryn Eich and Kaylin Knox. The Bobcat junior varsity wrestlers lost to Ames, 15-9. Baker and Luis Chaves both earned wins for Marshalltown.