It hasn’t been a typical season for the Creston/Orient-Macksburg wrestling team. Between 10 guys who had never wrestled varsity in the mix and a couple of injuries along the way, longtime coach Darrell Frain has never quite known what to expect from the Panthers from night to night.
Iowa loves its wrestling, and Creston/Orient-Macksburg has been at the heart of the championship chases for the last 15 years. The proof: nine top-four finishes in the Class 2-A traditional state meet in those 15 years, including seven top-three trophies and two titles (2007, 2016).
Carroll’s Dayton Ross caught 38 passes for 710 yards last year, before adding about 25 pounds of muscle in the offseason. The senior’s pass-catching skills haven’t diminished.
The Panthers forced turnovers on all four of Glenwood’s fourth-quarter possessions, and sophomore Kylan Smallwood’s 33-yard touchdown pass to Zach Carlson with 9:45 left stood for the winning score in the Panthers’ 27-24 Class 3-A, District 7 victory over Glenwood.
The Panthers have two teams in the Class 1-A girls state doubles tournament, played Thursday and Friday at Byrnes Park in Waterloo along with singles matches.
During a roughly 15-minute span early Friday afternoon, Creston/Orient-Macksburg put together the kind of stretch that wins state championships. Then the program nearly repeated the feat later Friday night.
The Creston/Orient-Macksburg wrestlers didn’t need any extra motivation entering Thursday’s state tournament. But then the Panthers on Wednesday came a whisker short of beating eventual Class 2-A state dual champion Davenport Assumption in the semifinals. Coach Darrell Frain was asked if that perhaps sharpened their focus.
Everybody knows about Creston/Orient-Macksburg this year. Last year, the Panthers were absent from the Class 2-A state team wrestling ratings the entire season before falling one match short of a team championship. The Panthers settled for a tie for second with Union, three points behind Mediapolis.
Not every Creston/Orient-Macksburg wrestler left as an individual champion, but all of them were reasons for the Panthers’ latest dominant showing.
There was a late pin. A third-period rally. A sudden-victory takedown. Even a penalty point swung a match. Creston/Orient-Macksburg wrestlers made sure they were the ones having their arms raised on each occasion.
Although their talents and positions cover a wide range on the field, the six honorary captains of The World-Herald’s All-Western Iowa football teams share one thing in common: a distaste for the sideline. Though selected as captains on one side of the ball, all six contributed heavily as two-way players.
You can imagine the challenges of a foreign-exchange student taking over the starting quarterback position at a program as successful as Creston/Orient-Macksburg. It starts with communication.
Two western Iowa bowlers earned top 10 medals and Creston/Orient-Macksburg finished third in the team race to highlight action at the Class 1-A girls state bowling meet at Plaza Lanes on Monday.
Pettit was released from Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines on Sunday and headed home.
The fairy-tale finish fell one match short. The Creston/Orient-Macksburg community will wonder in the coming days if Tayler Pettit could have scored the four points needed to push his school to an outright Class 2-A state team wrestling championship.
The folks from wrestling publication The Predicament generally do a fantastic job of the thankless task of ranking teams and individuals. This year, however, there was one glaring omission from the Class 2-A team rankings: Creston/Orient-Macksburg.
A day after its wrestlers were forced to cope with a life in peril, Creston/Orient-Macksburg returned to the mats. Their coach, who usually has a good handle on his team, didn’t know what to expect.
Darrell Frain insists it isn’t easy to win the John J. Harris tournament. Still, Creston-Orient/Macksburg makes it seem that way.
Among the six honorary captains of The World-Herald’s All-Western Iowa football teams, only one, Logan-Magnolia’s Brady Charbonneau, earned the right to celebrate a state championship.
In its 14-2 quarterfinal victory over Carroll, Sioux City Heelan rushed for a negative-25 yards. That prompted Heelan coach Roger Jansen to have a little discussion with his linemen.
Creston/Orient-Macksburg broke through a program barrier in record fashion Monday night in a 59-31 victory over Norwalk at Panther Field.
Creston/Orient-Macksburg’s drive for the No. 1 seed in District 8 of Class 3-A immediately got stuck in neutral and never moved.