June 19, 2024

Wheeler, Brinegar continue dominance at home tournament

PCM wrestlers finish sixth at Mustang Invitational

Tucker Wheeler

MONROE — Tucker Wheeler is undefeated and looking better than ever right now. And Hewitt Brinegar looks pretty sharp, too.

Both Mustangs claimed the individual championships at their respective weight classes on Saturday during the PCM Mustang Invitational.

The two wrestlers combined to go 8-0 with seven pins and that led the PCM wrestling team to sixth at its home tournament.

“Tucker looked as crisp and fresh as I’ve seen him in a while. He looked like he had more energy,” PCM head wrestling coach Jeff Nicholson said. “Hewitt is as hot as anyone, too. I was proud of all of our kids today. There weren’t a ton of surprises.”

Hewitt Brinegar

Three Mustangs reached championship matches with Wheeler winning at 144 and Brinegar claiming the title at 150. Kaliber Fry finished second in his first appearance at 113 and Wyatt Wheeler and Kaden Clark both took third at 175 and 285, respectively.

PCM’s 15 wrestlers accounted for 139 points. Southeast Polk’s junior varsity won the tournament with 230.5 points. The rest of the top five included Class 1A No. 9 Earlham (170.5), South Tama County (151), Indianola JV (150) and Pleasantville (147.5).

Tucker Wheeler, who is ranked third in Class 2A at 144 by IAwrestle.com, finished 4-0 with four pins and two first-period falls. He defeated 1A No. 12 Zane Mullenix (26-3) of Pleasantville in the championship match.

“The mindset was no different. I just wrestle as hard as I can and give everything I got,” said Tucker Wheeler, who improved to 29-0. “I put in a bunch of work and the hard work is paying off. I’m wrestling better because of it. I can always improve though and still have things to work on.”

Brinegar, who is ranked 12th in 2A at 150, improved to 27-3 after a 4-0 day. He recorded three first-period pins. He defeated Carter Metcalf (21-6) of Pleasantville, 9-2, in the championship bout.

“We all really push each other in the room,” Brinegar said. “Going against Tucker every day, it gets competitive. It’s hard to not get better going against him. We go live a lot.”

Nicholson said a reason for Brinegar’s big improvement this season is his aggressiveness on his feet.

“He’s gotten comfortable at being aggressive on his feet,” Nicholson said about Brinegar. “He’s always been hard to score on. He’s stingy and he can wear you out when he gets his offense going.”

Remington Fry

Fry (17-9) moved from 120 to 113 during the winter break and looked as strong as ever on Saturday. He was 2-1 with a 20-8 win by major decision and another victory by decision. His loss in the finals came against 1A No. 9 Tommy Booth (24-2) of Pleasantville.

“(Kaliber) moved really well at the lighter weight,” Nicholson said. “He didn’t open up his offense until the third period in the finals. That’s a good wrestler he faced, but we might have given him too much respect early on.”

Wyatt Wheeler (24-7) was 4-1 for the day at 175. He had one pin and two wins by decision. His only loss was 7-4 to Indianola’s Gabby King in the semifinals. King was a state qualifier last season.

The other third-place finish came from Clark, who was 4-1 with four pins at 285. Clark (23-5) bounced back from an early loss to win four straight by fall. Three of those pins came in the first period.

“Wyatt lost to a state qualifier from last year. It was a good match. He just got beat but got the next best thing,” Nicholson said. “Kaden knows he shouldn’t have lost that match but credit to him for coming all the back to get third. He also finished ahead of the kid who beat him. He made a mistake, and it’s correctable.”

The Mustangs’ next best finish came from Jeffrey McDanel, who was fifth at 157. Sawyer Bouwkamp also competed at 157 and finished eighth.

McDanel was 3-2 with one pin and Bouwkamp was 2-3 for the day. The difference was McDanel’s win over his teammate.

Kaiden Valcore

Besides Clark, Nicholson said the other wrestler who didn’t finish as well as they had projected was Remington Fry. But the senior is battling a shoulder injury that will not be healed before the season is over.

Remington Fry (20-10) was seventh at 138 after a 3-2 day. He had one pin and two wins by decision.

“He finished lower than we thought, but that was a tough bracket,” Nicholson said about Remington Fry. “He’s a good wrestler, and he was seeded sixth or seventh.”

The other Mustangs who recorded one win for the day were Charlie Sitzmann (126), Trystin Anderson (165), Trent Nickelson (190) and Kaiden Valcore (215). Both Sitzmann and Anderson had wins by pin.

The rest of the 14-team field included Panorama (120), Chariton (108.5), Southeast Warren/Melcher-Dallas (103.5), Gilbert (94), Central Decatur (87), Iowa Falls-Alden (73), Colfax-Mingo (69) and Nevada (51).

Notes: Nicholson said all of his wrestlers will benefit from the two-pound allowance given after the winter break, but Tucker Wheeler seems to be benefiting a lot. “I feel pretty good. I think I was sick and down at Fort Madison, but I felt great today,” Tucker Wheeler said. “It’s always nice to have the ability to eat more food and drink more water.” ... Brinegar knows how important Tucker Wheeler has been to his success this season. He also said he’s taking way more shots than in previous seasons. “The biggest difference in my season from past years is I’m taking way more shots and it’s just easy to get better when Tucker is in the room battling with me every day,” Brinegar said. “I have always been better on my feet, but I’m taking more shots and being more aggressive this year.”

Wyatt Wheeler