Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – It hadn’t been the start to the season that the City High wrestling team expected.
The Little Hawks ended 2021 with a bang on Wednesday and are hoping they found a spark for the rest of the season in the process.
City High won eight of 12 contested matches including six by fall on its way to a 44-33 win over Class 3A fifth-ranked West High on Wednesday in the annual meeting of cross-town rivals at West High.
“I think this can be a big spark for us and we can just build from here and keep going up,” City High junior Zach Fern said. “This is definitely a good start. We always want to win this dual, it’s a big one so this was really fun.”
City High won four consecutive matches to open the dual and then got four consecutive pins from Nick Marker, Cameron Lacina, Ben Kueter and Kendall Kurtz to clinch the win.
The win avenged a 45-36 loss to the Trojans last season.
“I know I am fired up, if those kids aren’t fired up they don’t have a heartbeat,” City High coach Cory Connell said. “They should have a lot more belief in themselves moving forward and know that they can accomplish some pretty special things if they stay together.”
A combination of injuries and illness hampered City High at times during the first month of the season.
The Little Hawks weren’t 100 percent on Wednesday and gave up forfeits at 170 and 113 but had its lineup as close as full as they had all season and it showed.
“We still aren’t even close to being all there, after break we are going to be a lot better, we’ll get all our pieces in play after break,” Connell said. “That was fun, our kids are starting to figure things out.”
The stars were impressive on both sides on Wednesday.
Returning state champions Hunter Garvin and Robert Avila each had first-period pins for West High while third-ranked Grant O’Dell earned a 7-5 decision over Ryan Ott at 145 pounds.
For City High standout sophomores Cale Seaton and Kael Kurtz won by tech fall and fall respectively and two-time state champion Ben Kueter had a first-period pin of Brett Pelfrey at 285.
It was the rest of the Little Hawks that made the difference.
“I knew Cale and Kael and Ben were going to come out and win but Cam Lacina got us a big win, Nick Marker a lot of guys got us really big wins,” Connell said. “It was a total team that we needed to be successful and that’s what we had tonight.”
After Seaton and Kurtz opened the match with wins junior Zach Fern provided a major boost with a second-period pin of Gordey Gambrall at 132 pounds.
Following a scoreless first period Fern needed just 22 seconds to put Gambrall on his back in the second period.
“It started off and he hit a shot and I fought my way back and the biggest thing was just keeping heavy on his head,” Fern said. “When we got down I put in my move that I’m best at and I put him on his back.”
Jack Mitchell gave City High a 20-0 lead with a 10-9 decision over Kyler Scranton in the match of the night at 138.
Mitchell took a 9-6 lead with three nearfall points with 40 seconds left and used a late escape as time expired to secure the win.
“It was just guts really,” Mitchell said. “Just finishing the match even though it was really uncomfortable on bottom down there but just being able to push through it and come out on top.”
The win by Mitchell not only gave City High a 20-0 lead it set a tone for the match.
“We started at a perfect weight class with the Cale’s getting bonus points and then we had a big win at 132 to get the pin,” Mitchell said. “We started things rolling right off the bat which helped momentum.”
West High won the next five matches starting with O’Dell at 145 while Garvin and Avila posted pins, Kael Scranton won by forfeit and Drake Davis posted a pin at 182 that gave the Trojans a 27-20 lead.
It was all City High the rest of the way.
Marker pinned Dayne Van Dyke in 69 seconds, Lacina needed 62 seconds to pin Luke Ernst at 220 and Kueter needed 42 seconds to pin Pelfrey at 285.
Freshman Kendall Kurtz locked up the dual with a pin of Marissa Goodale in 1:19 at 106.
“We had a bunch of guys step up, guys like Zach Fern and Jake Mitchell,” Connell said. “Kids like that is what is going to drive our team forward. Kids like that are going to make our total team better.”
City High 44, West High 33
106– Kendall Kurtz (ICH) pinned Marissa Goodale 1:19
113 – Braden Doyle (ICW) won by forfeit
120 – Cale Seaton (ICH) tech. fall Sterling Warren 18-3
126 – Kael Kurtz (ICH) pinned Tommy Pierce 3:03
132 – Zach Fern (ICH) pinned Gordey Gambrall 2:22
138– Jake Mitchell (ICH) dec. Kyler Scranton 10-9
145 – Grant O’Dell (ICW) dec. Ryan Ott 7-5
152 – Robert Avila (ICW) pinned Kale Clark :24
160 – Hunter Garvin (ICW) pinned Jesse Hendershot :35
170 – Kael Scranton (ICW) won by forfeit
182 – Drake Davis (ICW) pinned Drew Nye 1:23
195 – Nick Marker (ICH) pinned Dayne Van Dyke 1:09
220 – Cameron Lacina (ICH) pinned Luke Ernst 1:02
285 – Ben Kueter (ICH) pinned Brett Pelfrey :42