Fighting to a bitter end
IOWA CITY– Two “firsts” occurred Wednesday night in the West High gymnasium.
One, the Trojans won’t be going to the state dual meet in Des Moines for the first time in a decade.
The other, the West Des Moines Dowling Maroons will be going for the first time since 1993. The Maroons bested West by one point, winning a Class 3A Regional Dual Meet, 35-34.
Chris Walters, Kegan Wakefield, Micah Kelsay and Colin Foerstner all won by fall, with Wakefield only needing 22 seconds to put his man away. John Milani picked up a key major decision, Tyler Hebl and Mickey Pelfrey both earned decisions.
West coach Mark Reiland said, “we had to wrestle tough and unfortunately we got caught early. There was a lot of ifs, ands and buts, and we came out on the wrong end of it for a change.”
“We wanted to be there, there’s no doubt about it,” Reiland said about the state duals, which are held the day before the state wrestling tournament kicks-off. “We’re disappointed that we’re not, but quite frankly we move on.” The coach said the focus would go into preparing for the district meet on Saturday, Feb. 9, in Mount Pleasant where individual qualifiers for state would be determined. “I thought the effort was there tonight,” Reiland said. “It certainly wasn’t because we gave up and rolled over.”
Looking back on the season Reiland said few gave his team much hope at the beginning. “I don’t think anybody gave us a shot,” he said. “At the start of the year, if they would’ve said we’d be one point away from the state duals, I think most people would’ve laughed. I don’t think most people thought we would’ve been in this position.” He conceded early on the naysayers may have had a point. “If you looked at us the second week of the season, we weren’t in this position. But we have gotten better, we just came up a little bit short.”
The final score was Dowling Catholic 35.0, Iowa City West 34.0.
Six Iowa City West wrestlers earned a berth at the individual state meet to be held Feb. 14 through Feb. 16 at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. They were: junior Tristen Bowers, 132 lbs., with a record of 16-12; sophomore Jordan Crawford, 106 lbs., with a record of 26-27; sophomore John Milani, 152 lbs., with a record of 26-18; senior Mickey Pelfrey, 195 lbs., with a record of 45-6; senior Kegan Wakefield, 138 lbs., with a record of 47-4; and junior Chris Walters, 126 lbs., with a record of 49-7.