In a tournament field ripe with talent and deep with experience, two Dallas County wrestlers emerged from the fray with their undefeated records intact.
Dallas Center-Grimes 120-pounder Trevor Murano won his 30th match of the season to take the top spot in the 120-pound bracket at the Tiger Invitational in Adel on Jan. 18. Waukee 113-pounder Zach Barnes ran the tables in his bracket and won four matches to improve to 23-0.
"Trevor is wrestling at a very high level right now, better than I have ever seen him," said Mustangs coach Clint Knoll, whose team fought its way the a second-place finish. "He has an amazing amount of confidence right now and he is transferring that into his matches. He just continues to get better every day."
Murano, the third-ranked 120-pounder in Class 3A, recorded two pins and one technical fall over the course of the day. He opened with a 16-1 victory over Newton’s Cole Peters, then pinned stuck Waukee’s Christian Hofbauer in under a minute in the semifinals. In the finals, he needed just 30 seconds to pin Class 2A No. 10 Dillon Cox of Atlantic.
Barnes, a freshman, dazzled with two technical falls and a pin, then ended the day with a 15-6 major decision of PCM’s Xavier Miller in the 113-pound title bout. Barnes scored early and often in each match to build quick leads.
"The approach he takes, which is spreading throughout the team, is to just keep scoring," Waukee coach Chad Vollmecke said. "He racks up a number of takedowns then goes for the fall.
"I’ve seen him maintain that same aggressive mindset and approach, regardless of the level of his opponent. It’s been a success with them all so far."
Knoll’s Mustangs finished 35 1/2 points behind Webster City for the team title. They finished near the top of the 17-team field on the strength of two other individual titles from Dakota Clausen and Cole Baker, and a second-place finish from 170-pounder Blake Wolinski. In all, nine Mustangs placed.
Baker, ranked seventh in Class 3A, improved to 27-3 with his first-place finish. He pinned Waukee’s Bryce Dunham in 2:57, blanked Audubon’s Matt Fett 6-0, then captured an 8-2 decision in the finale over Atlantic’s Tyler Christensen, the seventh-ranked wrestler in Class 2A.
Clausen, ranked 10th, improved to 23-6 with three victories. He won by major decision in the 182-pound finale, beating PCM’s Lucas Rains 12-0. Wolinski recorded three falls before dropping a 5-3 decision in the first-place match to Hank Swalla of Ames. Logan Buck had four victories and finished third at 160, and Ben Carr (106) and Zac Ross (138) each finished fourth.
DC-G edged Antioch (Ill.) by just half a point for the runner-up position.
"It was very nice to see our guys get second in the team race," Knoll said. "Webster City had too many horses for us to compete with in a big tournament.
"We showed a lot of fight on the backside of the bracket," he added. "It was a tough race for second all day and our kids stepped up."
Waukee finished fourth in the team race with 154 1/2 points, getting second-place finishes from Jakob Allison (106) and Grant Brown (138).
"If we put in everything we have, beat a few kids that the world tells us we shouldn’t, good things could happen," Vollmecke said of the team’s approach. "The philosophy paid off, with 10 of our kids finishing at or above their seed. We will continue to work at getting bonus points and moving up the podium."
Allison coasted to a 26-0 mark with two pins and a 9-4 semifinal win over Newton’s Koby Hull, but he was dealt his first loss of the season in the championship bout, a 9-4 defeat to Antioch’s Briley Schultz, who improved to 22-3.
Brown, too, worked his way to the finale with a major decision in the first round, an 8-1 decision of Ames’ Justus Robeson in the second round and a narrow 6-5 win over Matthew Smith-Peterson of Audubon. But he was turned away in the finale by Newton’s Dakota Dawson, who recorded a fall in the closing seconds of the first quarter.
Waukee padded its point total with a third-place finish from Hofbauer, a fourth-place finish from 126-pound Storm Eastvold, and a fifth-place finish by 220-pound Bryce Dunham.
Tournament host A-D-M finished eighth in the field of 17 with a score of 120 1/2. The Tigers roped three individual titles from Trevor Harsh (132), Zach Johnston (152) and Nathan Heath (285).
Harsh, who leaped to 21-7 on the season, recorded technical falls in his first two matches, won a decisive 8-2 decision over Antioch’s Pat Schoenfelder in the semifinal, and took down Chance Raleigh of Des Moines East 4-0 in the title bout.
Johnston, who improved to 26-4, nabbed two pins and major decision to start the day, then Class 3A’s fourth-ranked Josh Davis 3-2 in the championship. It was just the second loss this season in 29 matches for Davis.
Heath improved to 22-5 with three first-period pins: a 47-second fall of Waukee’s Nick Tweeten; a 1:18 pin of Roland-Story’s Danny Dankel, and a 1:06 pin of Webster City’s Gavin Dinsdale, the fourth-ranked wrestler in Class 2A.