GRINNELL — It was hard to tell if it was just rust from the winter break or a bad habit from earlier in the season showing itself again, but the Newton wrestling team was able to battle back from a slow start Thursday night.
After a 51-21 loss to Grinnell in their first match since Dec. 18, the Cardinals recovered with a 42-39, come-from-behind victory over West Marshall to earn a 1-1 split at a double dual in Grinnell.
“For the most part, we wrestled hard,” Newton coach Bill Reed said. “It’s all fixable things. I think the guys that were able to be at all the practices over break are sitting fine, and it showed for some of the guys that missed practices.”
Based on Newton’s start to the night, one wouldn’t believe the team has been slow to get going in double duals. Senior Derrick Hurt and sophomore Koby Hull (285 and 106 pounds, respectively) led off the Cardinals’ first dual, against Grinnell, with back-to-back pins and freshman Cole Peters (113) followed those up with a 4-3 decision to give Newton an early 15-0 lead.
However, that would be the Cardinals’ last victory for the next six weights. Grinnell rattled off four pins, a decision and a forfeit to take a commanding 33-15 lead until Newton sophomore Jeff Thongvanh ended the run at 160 pounds with a 9-4 decision. Newton junior Ray Schroder, wrestling up at 220 pounds to accomodate a sick Jacob Williams, earned the Cards’ last victory with a 5-2 decision to end the first dual.
“When I looked at the dual and realized we were going to have a few little holes, I was looking to split seven to seven,” Reed said. “They ended up getting nine and even if we won a few of those back I think they still would’ve won the meet.”
The second meet of the night got off to a similar start as Hull stuck his West Marshall opponent for a pin in just 21 seconds for a fast 6-0 Newton lead. Two weights later, freshman Alex Bentley earned another pin to put Newton back up 12-6 after an injury default at 113. Fellow freshman Bryce Tish then followed that up with a hard-fought pin of his own to give Newton an 18-6 lead.
After Newton sophomore Dakota Dawson received a forfeit at 132, West Marshall made its move. Taking the next six weight classes with four pins, a decision and a forfeit, the Trojans suddenly led 39-24 with three classes left.
Newton junior Joey Wright, wrestling at Schroder’s usual 195, earned arguably the biggest win of the night when he stuck West Marshall’s Chris Sjoblom to put Newton down by nine. After a strong 9-3 first period, Wright was able to get Sjoblom on his back with just nine seconds to get in the second.
“Thankfully, Joey is just ready to go,” Reed said. “He battles with Jacob and Ray every day in practice, so we felt pretty comfortable sliding him in and moving Ray up. It worked out for us.”
It was almost automatic from that point on as Schroder earned a second-period pin at 220 to close the gap to 39-36, and Hurt turned in his second pin of the night in just 37 seconds to clinch the 42-39 victory for the Cards.
“That was great,” Reed said. “The guys responded well, especially in the upper weights. Our upper weights did what they should always do, which is score bonus points and win us meets.”
Although he was pleased with the night overall, Reed did express his concern over the team’s slow starts, which have been happening throughout the season. With a tournament at Ottumwa this weekend and a busy schedule ahead, the Cards will be needing to buck that trend to keep pace.
“We’ve got double duals these next two Thursdays, so we need to get out of this funk we’re in for the first dual,” Reed said. “Two consecutive times now, we’ve wrestled our second dual hands down better than the first. The guys definitely have momentum, we just need to figure out how to get ready for that first dual over the next week.”
Grinnell 51, Newton 21
106: Koby Hull (N) pinned Shaden Wyatt (G), 0:29. 113: Cole Peters (N) dec. Vlad Dimit (G), 4-3. 120: Jacob Staroska (G) pinned Alex Bentley (N), 0:25. 126: Dalton Kies (G), pinned Bryce Tish (N), 1:10. 132: Josh Crawford (G) dec. Dakota Dawson (N), 5-2. 138: Garrett Kay (G) received a forfeit. 145: Brody Beck (G) pinned Nicoli Allspach (N), 2:42. 152: Kenny Clark (G) pinned Jacob Herduin (N), 3:40. 160: Jeff Thongvanh (N) dec. Bryce Lidtka (G), 9-4. 170: Julio Sanchez (G) pinned Sean Cook (N), 0:36. 182: Kaden Moore (G) pinned Jordan Henning (N), 0:54. 195: Jack Leshen (G) pinned Joey Wright (N), 1:49. 220: Ray Schroder (N) dec. Austin Warrington (G), 5-2. *285: Derrick Hurt (N) pinned Tanner Hofstetter (G), 0:44.
Newton 42, West Marshall 39
*106: Koby Hull (N) pinned Colton Bittner (W), 0:21. 113: Cole Needham (W) injury default over Cole Peters (N). 120: Alex Bentley (N) pinned Nic Price (W), 1:13. 126: Bryce Tish (N) pinned Nick Goecke (W), 2:28. 132: Dakota Dawson (N) received a forfeit. 138: Kyle Blocker (W) received a forfeit. 145: Jared Johnson (W) pinned Nicoli Allspach (N), 1:26. 152: Tanner Arnold (W) pinned Jacob Herduin (N), 0:45. 160: Dale Hilleman (W) dec. Jeff Thongvanh (N), 9-5. 170: Devin Chessler (W) pinned Sean Cook (N), 1:09. 182: Brandon Overman (W) pinned Jordan Henning, 0:44. 195: Joey Wright (N) pinned Chris Sjoblom (W), 3:51. 220: Ray Schroder (N) pinned Carsen Dunn (W), 2:34. 285: Derrick Hurt (N) pinned James Long (W), 0:37.