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Learning from last season

West High’s Nelson Brands breaks down Jefferson’s Dustin Anderson in a 152-pound match Thursday, Jan. 19, at West High. (file photo by Chris Umscheid)

North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY– Mark Reiland, West High’s head varsity coach, doesn’t sugar coat his words. Ever.
Looking at the 2017-18 wrestling season, Reiland, in his 19th year at West High, said his team has, “Lots of returning kids with varsity experience, but not all of the experience was positive.”
In other words, for some of his Trojans, the 2016-17 season may well have been more of a learning situation.
Reiland returns three seniors who made it to the state individual tournament last year: 160-pound champion Nelson Brands (54-1 record), state qualifier Guy Snow (220-285 pounds, 39-16) and eighth-place Hans von Rabenau (113 pounds, 25-10). It was Brands’ second championship after having won at 138 pounds in 2016, and he earned Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) Mississippi Division Athlete of the Year honors with Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Matt Culver.
Von Rabenau was a First Team pick in the Mississippi Division along with now-graduated Carter Rohweder and returning letter winner Ashton Stumpff (170 pounds, 30-21).
Other letter winners include seniors Hunter Davis (126-138 pounds), Enutifa Gamia (195-220) and Miguel Paredes (132-145), as well as juniors Landon Green (182-195, 28-24 last season), Keaton Speicher (126-138 pounds, 26-22 record, MVC Second Team), Jo Dixon (145-152) and Micah Blair (145-152). Sophomore Will Hoeft is also back in the lineup (182-195 pounds).
New to the varsity squad are Frances Duggan (senior, 220-285 pounds) and freshmen Isaac Young (106 pounds) and Graham Gambrall (132-138 pounds).
Reiland said it will be a typical year in the MVC, where most of the same teams will be in the hunt again.
The Trojans were 12-10 overall last season and 6-4 in the MVC.
The 2017-18 season starts Tuesday, Nov. 28, at home in a triangular meet with Linn-Mar and Waterloo East starting at 5:30 p.m.