By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Everything about his first season of high school wrestling went the way that Nick Milder imagined.
Except for the ending.
Milder racked up 32 wins as a freshman at Regina last season, winning a River Valley Conference title along the way.
None of that is what Milder remembers most about his freshman season.
It’s what happened the week after her claimed the RVC title that Milder can’t stop thinking about.
Milder lost his opening match at sectionals to Wilton sophomore Cameron Reddick 5-2, a week after edging Reddick 3-2 for the RVC crown.
“My dad asked me last year do you want a great year and not make it to state or a bad year and make it to state and I said the second one and it ended up being the first one,” Milder said. “I was really disappointed, it was a big blow to me personally.”
Milder is in the middle of another strong season as a sophomore but has plans for a much different ending.
“I think one word that really encompasses Nick is determination, I haven’t seen anybody that is more determined than Nick Milder,” Regina coach Adam Martensen said. “He is just so driven to keep pushing the pace, to keep scoring points and holding nothing back. I think that last year’s loss and not making it to state is really driving him this year to take that even up to another level.”
Milder opened last season at 170 pounds but eventually dropped to 160.
This season Milder has settled in at 170 pounds.
No longer concerned about his weight he has focused more on his technique and the results have followed.
“Last year I was putting too much pressure on my body and not doing a lot of recovering,” Milder said. “This year I’m doing a lot more focus on technique and making sure I feel good and not beating myself up at every practice.”
Milder is 19-2 this season and has been more aggressive especially on offense.
Of his 19 wins, 13 are by pin and two more have come by tech fall.
“My offense is much better, a lot of my top positions are better and I’m able to turn guys better,” Milder said. “I think I’ve work on my offense a lot more and that is something my coaches have drilled in my head.”
With conference, sectionals, districts and state all looming over the next month the biggest matches are ahead for Milder this season.
After the sudden end to last year Martensen believes Milder is poised for a much different finish.
“Last year he had a great season but it got cut short,” Martensen said. “He’s a different wrestler this year, he really believes in where he is at right now and he’s real confident.”
Welcome back: West High and Regina both got a boost following the holiday break with a return of a veteran wrestler to their lineup.
Senior Hans vonRabenau has gone 6-0 since returning to the West High lineup at 106 pounds.
vonRabenau was a state qualifier a year ago, going 20-25 as a junior.
Junior Ryan Schott has posted a 4-1 record since entering the Regina lineup.
Schott missed the first part of the season with an injury after finishing 37-10 last year.
Unbeatens: The list of area unbeaten wrestlers is down to two.
Regina senior heavyweight Jared Brinkman and City High junior 195 pounder Jacob Dykes are the only two area wrestlers without a loss on their resume.
Dykes is 23-0 and ranked fourth in Class 3A while Brinkman is 20-0 and ranked number one in Class 1A.
Number One: The state meet in February is when being number one really matters.
A little more than a month from that time three area wrestlers are atop the rankings at their respective weight classes.
Nelson Brands, Jared Brinkman and Bryce West were all ranked No. 1 in the Jan. 3 rankings by IAWrestling.
Brands (30-1) is the top-ranked 152 pounder in Class 3A while Brinkman (20-0) is the top-ranked heavyweight in Class 1A.
West (29-1) is ranked No. 1 in Class 2A at 120 pounds.