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.

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 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.

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.

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.