Dual meets this early in the prep wrestling season vary in importance depending on the teams.
There are schools that can’t even fill out an entire starting lineup, and there are schools that are ready to bout at every weight on the score sheet.
The West High wrestling team was one of those clubs Thursday night, sending a wrestler to the mat for all 14 weight classes en route to defeating Cedar Rapids Xavier 51-26 in the season opener in Iowa City. Xavier proved to be formidable at the matches it did enter, winning five of seven. West won seven matches by forfeit.
“(Xavier) had a bunch of kids out of the lineup, so it was kind of a nice start,” West coach Mark Reiland said. “The reality is when you only have seven matches, the dual meet isn’t in doubt obviously, but there were some good matches. The kids they do have are good, and we didn’t match up with a couple of them very well at all. It is what it is.”
Nate Kelsay and Donovan Doyle upended their opponents at 170 and 195 pounds, respectively, while Alex Aguirre, Jeff Garbutt, Tyler Yoerger, Guy Snow, and Blake Moser all lost. Seven of West’s wrestlers won by forfeit: Aaron Stumpf, Hunter Davis, Nelson Brands, Carter Rohweder, Sam Cayler, Ben Bertell, and Karl Ratner.
Doyle won by fall over Xavier’s Sam Meyers. Doyle noted the Trojans’ approach heading into Thursday’s action, and also reflected on his match at 195 pounds. The junior completed the victory in the first period.
“We need to get our offense going,” Doyle said. “It’s all about closing the gap on guys and trying to minimize the other teams’ bonus points, so when we face those tougher teams down the road we’re at our best.
“(Meyers) was a tough kid. Big, strong kid. I was trying to get as much offense going as I could. I was trying to get into my takedowns, my setups, and when I got the opportunity, I took it and finished the match early.”
West qualified for the state tournament last season, and the Trojans return nearly every starting wrestler this winter plus have depth. There could be some lineup shuffling as the season moves along. West competes at the Gardner Edgerton Invitational Saturday in Gardner, Kan.
But Doyle, and others, have a postseason mindset already. In December. The state tournament is in February.
“Not many kids wrestled (Thursday), but the ones that did we expected them to go out there and improve,” Doyle said. “Early in the season, that’s what it’s all about — being the best you can be so you can compete for February. That’s what our goal is right now. We’re working hard, we’re on that grind right now. We don’t get a lot of breaks in that (wrestling) room. But it’s all about February. That’s our focus.”
WEST HIGH 51, C.R. XAVIER 26
106—Jeff Vipond (CRX) dec. Alex Aguirre (6-3); 113—Aaron Stumpf (W) won by forfeit; 120—Hunter Davis (W) won by forfeit; 126—Nelson Brands (W) won by forfeit; 132—Josh Gerke (CRX) fall Jeff Garbutt (0:51); 138—Clint Lembeck (CRX) tech. fall Tyler Yoerger (18-2 3:08); 145—Carter Rohweder (W) won by forfeit; 152—Sam Cayler (W) won by forfeit ; 160—Ben Bertell (W) won by forfeit; 170—Nate Kelsay (W) dec. Ryan Williams (2-1); 182—Karl Ratner (W) won by forfeit; 195—Donovan Doyle (W) fall Sam Meyers (1:42); 220—Alex Francois (CRX) fall Guy Snow (0:55); 285—Mike Maher (CRX) fall Blake Moser (0:56).