DES MOINES — The Prairie City-Monroe, Colfax-Mingo and Collins-Maxwell-Baxter wrestling teams participated in the Heart of Iowa Conference wrestling tournament at the home of the conference’s newest team, Saydel, on Saturday.
Two area competitors, Colfax-Mingo’s Jimmy Abell and PCM’s Ron Marshall, earned conference titles, while 17 total competitors made it to the podium.
PCM finished fifth overall in the close team scoring, while CMB was ninth and Colfax-Mingo was 10th. Greene County won the overall team championship.
Sophomore Ron Marshall couldn’t have picked a better time for his first tournament championship of the season.
Three Mustang wrestlers reached the championship round, but Marshall (182 pounds) was the only one able to push through with an 11-2 major decision over Gilbert’s Kelly Pierce to end his day that included three victories and two pins.
“The first time I wrestled (Pierce), I just got a lucky catch and put him to his back,” Marshall said. “Today, I think we both came more ready to wrestle and it turned out to be a good match.”
Other Mustangs to reach the finals were Dakota Timmins (170) and Lucas Rains (195) who each fell to pins in those matches. Going into the final rounds, PCM was just one point of second place in the team standings, but fell to fifth when it was all said and done.
“We needed to win a few more matches, and I think we could’ve won a few more,” PCM coach Cory Waddell said. “It was real close in points in the end, and I don’t think we did what we should’ve done in that last round. Overall, I guess I can be pleased once I read through the stats and everything.”
PCM had the most medal winners of the county competitors with nine. Luke Cummings (160) recovered from a pin in his first match of the day to earn third with a victory over Nevada’s Kory Harrelson, who dealt him that first pin. Most of the Mustang podium finishers took fourth, including Tristan Clark (126), Ian Reed (145), Hunter Reed (152) and Blake Sidie (220), while Skyler Koder took fifth at 138.
The Mustangs will host senior night on Thursday when South Hamilton, Greene County and North Polk come to Monroe for a miniature Heart of Iowa meet. They then only have one more dual scheduled before sectionals on Feb. 2.
“We’ve got a pretty decent sectional and I think we can move some kids through if they wrestle well,” Waddell said. “We’re hoping to get somewhere between three to five kids to regionals, and then we’ll see from there.”
Sophomore Jimmy Abell earned his second Heart of Iowa championship in as may tries on Saturday, but he was mainly thankful for a day of solid competition.
Abell, ranked No. 8 in Class 1A at 106 pounds, was able to justify that ranking and improve to 27-0 after dealing with a string of forfeits and no-shows for much of this season.
“The only reason I’m so far up in the 20s is I’ve had so many forfeits, and then I’ve had a bunch of kids at my weight bump up and not wrestle me,” Abell said. “It’s kind of hard, especially when you get into a tough match. I need those kinds of matches for districts and state since that was my problem last year.”
Abell scored a pin in his opening round of the tournament, then managed an 8-2 decision in his second to reach the finals. There, he was up against CMB’s Jake Hennick, who he had defeated by a narrow 2-0 margin when the two met on Thursday. On Saturday, however, a more healthy Abell made a stronger statement.
After scoring an early takedown in the Jasper County final, Abell tried to turn Hennick for a pin, but couldn’t in the first period. He was able to in the second period, however, sticking Hennick at the 1:06 mark to clinch his second conference title.
“Today I felt great, strong and just came out there and worked him,” Abell said. “It feels good two win two in a row, but it helps when you’re in there every day with your coaches.”
No other Tigerhawks reached the podium, although a few got close. Rebecca Jensen (120) and Ty Carlson (113) each finished sixth, losing by pin and overtime decision, respectively, in their fifth-place matches.
“The group we brought today was very inexperienced, so we knew it could be a tough day,” C-M coach Bryan Poulter said. “We saw some nice efforts and lost some matches here and there that could’ve gone out way, but they battled and we just need to keep giving them experience to make them better.”
The Tigerhawks will return to Saydel on Thursday and host a tournament on Satruday to wrap up their regular season.
Although the Raider didn’t have any individual champions, seven wrestlers did make it to the podium.
“I think it went really good for us,” CMB coach Dennis Hennick said. “The boys have been working very, very, very hard and I think it’ll pay off at the end of the year for the boys that should do good. I think it’s starting to come around.”
Leading the way was Jake Hennick (106), who earned a decision in the semfinals to reach his match against Abell in the championship. Lehvi Bucklin, who came in as the No. 1 seed at 170, was surprised with a pin in the semis, but recovered with two pins to take third on the day.
The rest of the Raiders’ medal winners finished fifth, including Beau Iske (120), Charles Robinson (160), Logan Cory (182), Shane White (220) and Dawson Dahlke (285).
CMB will wrap up its season on Saturday at a tournament at Colfax-Mingo before sectionals begin the Saturday after. Hennick is hoping the success his team had at conference will translate to the postseason when it rolls around.
“The boys that have the opportunity of going to regionals or state are going to have tough matchups, which they need to have for sectionals,” Hennick said. “Having that competition should pan out better for all of us.”