It was a hard-fought battle but in the end, the hopes of a dual state tournament berth fell short for Dallas Center-Grimes wrestling Wednesday night.

The Mustangs seeded as the 24th team in the Class 3A dual-team format, needed two victories to make it to dual state. They had to go through eighth-ranked Linn-Mar but in the end, fell just short in a 40-30 outcome.

The Mustangs weren’t at full roster strength but still put up a big challenge on the night, something that pleased the likes of head coach Corey Stratton.

“Our guys did a good job of finishing matches and going strong for all three periods,” began Stratton. “There were positions earlier in the season that we would have given up but we ended up doing very well in tonight.”

Overall, the Mustangs picked up six individual victories on the night. Two wins came via pinfall while two more came from decision and a forfeit victory rounded out the night for the Mustangs. Trevon Wells, ranked seventh in the latest Class 3A 132-pound polls, kicked off the wins for DC-G by picking up an 11-6 decision. Wells took off strong and captured points in all three periods. The conclusion of the first period saw Wells up 4-2 and with the help of a takedown, led by a 6-2 margin. The senior tacked on five more points in the third period to eventually take the 11-6 victory.

Gavin Moran picked up where Wells left off and completed a nearly unblemished match. En route to his pinfall victory, Moran led 2-0 after the first period and 5-0 through period two. It took into the third period but Moran ended up walking away with the pinfall victory. As a team, the Mustangs fell on drought with four straight defeats including Brayden Broderick who fell to Class 3A’s eighth-ranked 152-pound wrestler in Abass Kemokai by 8-1 decision. In fact, DC-G saw three straight ranked wrestlers including at 160-pounds (Tate Naaktgeboren ranked fifth) and a top-ten battle between fifth-ranked Ryan Plummer and sixth-ranked Zach Needham at 170-pounds. It was a battle for sure but after Needham got turned around and slightly out of position, Plummer took advantage and stunned the DC-G crowd by defeating Needham by pinfall.

Garrett Morris rallied the troops at 182-pounds, besting Linn0Mar’s A.J. Frost by pinfall in the first period of action. The win seemed almost inevitable as a Morris led 2-0 with a takedown within the first ten seconds of the match. He then improved that mark to 4-1 before earning the pinfall victory.

Following a Luke Stover victory by forfeit at 106-pounds, Jacob Fistler at 113-pounds picked up DC-G’s fourth individual victory of the night. Fistler’s victory path began with a commanding 9-2 lead after the first period alone. That mark stayed across the second period but the third period sure made things interesting. It was more about playing defense the rest of the way for Fistler who held off a late surge to earn the victory by 9-7 decision. Logan Gard picked up the second pinfall win and final overall victory of the night for the Mustangs, taking just over one minute to capture the win.

While the lineup wasn’t full for the Mustangs who suffered the overall defeat, it did provide a strong opportunity for the DC-G coaching staff.

“This was our night to really polish some things and get fully healthy,” said Stratton. “It’s really exciting because we’re in a position to actually win the district tournament and send at least five to six guys on.”

Next up for the Mustang grapplers will be the district tournament held inside DC-G Meadows Gym Saturday, Feb. 15 beginning at 12 p.m.