DES MOINES — A slow start cost Iowa Western any shot at a breakthrough dual meet title. But a strong finish Saturday still guaranteed an impressive top-half showing for the young wrestling program.
The No. 13 Reivers slogged through a 28-9 loss to No. 9 Nassau to open the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s multi-divisional dual meet Saturday at the Iowa Events Center. Some fatigue, jitters and a tough opponent conspired to limit IWCC to three decisions.
Knocked to the back side of the 16-school NJCAA bracket, the Council Bluffs team pieced together a 28-19 victory over co-No. 9 Niagara and ended with a 25-18 win against No. 20 Harper.
“We did not show up at all the first dual,” IWCC coach Josh Watts said. “But I feel like we rebounded a little bit in the second dual, and by the third we were starting to respond. My guys tend to start slow — I don’t know.”
Third-rated Peter Stewart (141 pounds) was the lone Reiver to go 3-0 on the opening day. The group returns to action Sunday against No. 8 Muskegon at 9 a.m., then completes the weekend at 1 p.m. by wrestling for either fifth or seventh place.
“Obviously everyone wants first,” said Stewart, a Sioux City North graduate. “But top eight is definitely a really good thing for us. It’s really awesome that we came together as a team on the last one and got what we came here for.”
The Reivers endured an uneven debut against Nassau. No. 10 Adrian Lozano (125) and Stewart each bagged three-point decisions to put IWCC ahead 6-3 early, but Nassau claimed the next six weights — going on a 25-0 run — before Reiver heavyweight Jesse Svoboda pulled out a 3-1 win.
Against No. 9 Niagara, Iowa Western jumped out to a 16-0 lead and cruised most of the way in the first-round consolation dual. Lozano picked up a quick pin and the Reivers added 10 points on a Stewart major decision and a Niagara open weight. No. 9 Tim Hester (165), Matt Walker and No. 5 Tim McDonald (197) also won.
“When guys wrestle well, it just builds,” Stewart said. “And more people wrestle well.”
The Reivers saved their best for the finale against Harper. Unrated Tyler Nation upset No. 8 Blake Santi 7-1 in their 149-pound match to help set up a 12-12 dual score. Then Hester responded with a decision and Walker added a major. A Harper decision made it 19-15, but McDonald pinned his opponent to ice the win.
With two-hour breaks between each dual, many wrestlers took to the hallways for power naps after beginning the day at 9 a.m. Watts said the format is not unlike the national tournament to end the year.
The opposition does an even better job simulating what the postseason will feel like, Watts said — and that’s a good thing for the young Reivers.
“Competing against the high-level competition is going to benefit these guys in February,” Watts said. “That’s why we came. To be able to be in the top eight in duals in our third year as a program, I think that’s an accomplishment.”
Nassau 28, Iowa Western 9: 125 pounds: Adrian Lozano, IW, dec. Enriquez DeJesus 10-4. 133: Santiago Valdez, N, dec. Wilfred Charbono 12-10. 141: Peter Stewart, IW, dec. Vincent Turano 9-3. 149: Alexis Blanco, N, dec. Tyler Nation 3-2. 157: Kyle Wade, N, pinned Aleksei Vickers, 6:57. 165: Adam DeJesus, N, pinned Tim Hester, :25. 174: Zacharia Small, N, dec. Matt Walker 6-4. 184: Steve Lambert, N, dec. Josh Kloppel 15-8. 197: Chris Chambers, N, major dec. Tim McDonald 13-2. 285: Jesse Svoboda, IW, dec. Nicholas Brennan 3-1.
Iowa Western 28, Niagara 19: 125 pounds: Adrian Lozano, IW, pinned Cody Carbery, 4:11. 133: Wilfred Charbono, IW, won by forfeit. 141: Peter Stewart, IW, major dec. Marcus Popp 19-11. 149: Kevin Strong, N, pinned Tyler Nation, 5:14. 157: Tyler Bruce, N, dec. Aleksei Vickers 7-4. 165: Tim Hester, IW, pinned Thomas Confer, 6:30. 174: Matt Walker, IW, dec. Shane Currey 6-0. 184: Gunner Thomas, N, pinned Josh Kloppel, 5:52. 197: Tim McDonald, IW, dec. Brian Kerwin 7-0. 285: El Shadai Cilmore, N, major dec. Jesse Svoboda 13-1.
Iowa Western 25, Harper 18: 125 pounds: Jake Bellis, H, pinned Adrian Lozano, 2:42. 133: Wilfred Charbono, IW, pinned Jon Arenas, 6:58. 141: Peter Stewart, IW, dec. Blake Tisza 6-4. 149: Tyler Nation, IW, dec. Blake Santi 7-1. 157: Greg Jacquez, H, pinned Aleksei Vickers, 2:10. 165: Tim Hester, IW, dec. Tyler Thomas 13-8. 174: Matt Walker major dec. David Hughes 10-2. 184: Kyle Bridgeman, H, dec. Josh Kloppel 11-7. 197: Tim McDonald, IW, pinned Dan Draski, 6:18. 285: Lavontay Cobb, H, dec. Nathan Judge 3-1 (SV).
Lewis Central grad Hildreth, St. Cloud State keep rolling
Another year, another dominant first day at the NWCA dual meet for Jay Hildreth and St. Cloud State.
Hildreth, a 2011 Council Bluffs Lewis Central graduate, earned a major decision over Jimmy Chase of Colorado State-Pueblo in his 149-pound match as the NCAA Division II No. 5 Huskies rolled 32-6. SCSU extended its overall dual win streak to 54 with a 37-3 win over No. 7 Kutztown, though Hildreth sat out.
“I had a good performance and wrestled tough,” Hildreth said. “Being in my home state, I’m getting fired up.”
St. Cloud State draws No. 1 Notre Dame College at 11 a.m. Sunday. A win would put the Huskies in the finals with a chance to win the meet for a third straight year.
Also in D-II, 2012 Lewis Central product and Maryville 174-pounder Zeb Wahle went 3-0. No. 15 Maryville lost to No. 12 Ouachita Baptist 27-19, then beat unrated Wisconsin-Parkside 38-3 before falling to No. 10 Upper Iowa 25-18.
In other NJCAA action, 2013 Tri-Center grad and three-time Iowa state champ Loren Williams wrestled his first two collegiate matches for Ellsworth, losing tight decisions by scores of 8-4 and 3-2. No. 5 Ellsworth still downed co-No. 9s Niagara 35-15 and Nassau 22-14 to reach Sunday’s final four. It draws No. 4 Clackamas at 11 a.m.
“I’m not back to normal, but it takes time to get used to the weight,” said Williams, who had been working toward making weight at 149. “I need to get some strength back and some speed back and get back in a rhythm.”