Mustangs capture LHC tournament crown
Dallas Center-Grimes rallied late to capture the Little Hawkeye Conference tournament championship in Norwalk on Feb. 1.
The Mustangs, who trailed by 37 points after the consolation semifinals, rallied for a 14 1/2-point team victory over Grinnell, 204 1/2-190. The tournament host Warriors finished third with 184 points.
“It was a tight team battle all day between Grinnell, Norwalk and Newton,” DC-G coach Clint Knoll said. “I think five teams went into this tournament thinking they had a chance to win it. There was some great competition all day.”
Trevor Murano (120), Blake Wolinski (170) and Cole Baker (220) all collected conference championship, and 182-pound Dakota Cluasen finished second.
“We knew we would get a lot of points from our big four guys,” Knoll said. “We had nine guys get top-3 (finishes) which was great. All 14 guys contributed, and that’s what you need to have to win a tournament.”
Murano improved to 37-1 on the year with two more victories. AFter a first-round bye, he pinned Newton’s Cole Peters in 58 seconds, then rolled up a 10-2 major decision over Oskaloosa’s Skyler DeJong in the finale.
Wolinski improved to 36-5 with three victories, including a fall over Knoxville’s Jared McClung and a 13-9 victory in the finale over Grinnell’s Bryce Lidtka. Baker won his 30th match of the season with a fall in the 220-pound finale over Anthony Clayton of Grinnell, one of two pins for Baker on the day. Clausen had two victories, including one fall, in his first two matches but dropped a narrow 4-2 decision to Julio Sanchez of Grinnell in the finale.
But to separate themselves in the team standings, the Mustangs needed big contributions from the rest of the lineup. All but one DC-G wrestler placed, and five wrestlers claimed third-place finishes. Those included Bryce Murano, who had two pins and a technical fall at 106. Dallas Miles had two pins and a major decision at 145, Nick Brushaber scored a 5-4 decision in his third-place match at 152, Tomah Lemah had two wins at 160, and Bryce Shutt recorded three falls to finish third at 285.
Ben Carr finished fourth at 113, as did Reed Hillenga at 132.
Knoll hopes his team is able to ride the momentum into districts on Feb. 15. The Mustangs will at Johnston with the Dragons, Ankeny, Ankeny Centennial, Des Moines East, Des Moines North/Hoover, Southeast Polk and Urbandale with state tournament berths hanging in the balance.
“We are hoping this springboards us into districts in a couple of weeks,” he said.
In its last meet before the Little Hawkeye Conference meet on Feb. 1, the DC-G notched a close win against Newton in Grimes to improve its season record to 10-5. The Mustangs defeated the Cardinals 40-34 on Jan. 30.
The Mustangs got six points each out of Brushaber at 152 pounds and Andrew Seim at 220 pounds who won by forfeit and Zac Ross who pinned Newton’s Tanner Petro 0:45 into the match.
Murano at 120 pounds, Miles at 145 pounds and Leamah at 160 pounds all won by technical fall.
Wolinski defeated Newton’s Jeffrey Thongvanh 9-3 at 170 pounds and Clausen defeated Newton’s Jordan Henning by major decision, 13-2, at 182 pounds.