GLENWOOD, Iowa — Chase Shiltz called it a “come together.” His coach dubbed it a chance for new varsity members to gain some perspective.
Either way, Creston/Orient-Macksburg wrestlers spent the last few practice days making sure a rare Hawkeye Ten Conference dual loss a week earlier wouldn’t turn into a trend.
The Panthers proved their recent resolve Tuesday by winning six of their first seven matchups against fellow contender Glenwood en route to a 41-24 victory. They also downed shorthanded Underwood 54-20 while continuing their follow-up to last season’s Iowa Class 2-A state-tournament title.
“We’re trying to figure out what we have,” Creston coach Darrell Frain said. “We have guys learning how to practice hard, learning how to compete hard. Our top-end guys I’ll take against anybody, but we got to get those (younger) guys where we need them to compete in the Hawk-10 at the end of the year. We’ve got holes.”
A 36-32 loss to Atlantic on Dec. 6 marked the Panthers’ second league defeat in their last 51 tries spanning more than five seasons. Unlike that night against the Trojans, Creston’s lightweights set the tone Tuesday by pushing their side out to a 34-3 lead. Consecutive pins by Brodie Starlin (106 pounds), Jacob Goodson (113), Carson Wheat (120), Cade Vicker (126) and Kelby Luther (132) preceded a Trevor Marlin major decision at 138.
Glenwood drew as close as 34-21 on decisions by Jordan Renshaw (145) and Eli Bales (170) and pins from Trevor Anderson (152) and AJ Slaughter (160). But Shiltz — Creston’s two-time defending state champ and top-rated senior grappler at 182 — clinched the dual with a 5-1 result against Class 3-A No. 2 (at 195) Anthony Sherry.
“A lot of our younger guys and guys who are stepping up just this year didn’t really understand how the team points add up so fast if you’re not fighting off your back or working for bonus points,” said Shiltz, a North Dakota State recruit. “We preached that last week as leaders, as did the coaching staff. I think we did a lot better at that tonight.”
The rival programs split two other matchups of ranked opponents: Glenwood’s Isaac Bales (3-A No. 4 at 182) edged Jackson Mikkelsen (2-A No. 3) 4-3 in the ultimate tiebreaker at 195 while Creston’s Kadon Hulett (2-A No. 2) majored Zach Haggstrom (3-A No. 3) 13-4 at 220. Caleb Sanders (3-A No. 5) started the dual for the hosts with an ultimate tiebreaker win over Cody Tanner at heavyweight.
Creston — winner of tournaments at Dallas Center-Grimes and Central Decatur already this year — next wrestles at the 40-school Kansas City Stampede event this weekend. Shiltz said the Panthers will go with the knowledge that reports of their demise are a bit premature.
“We lost a lot of good guys, but that’s not really an excuse,” Shiltz said. “Our younger guys are stepping up, guys who wrestled JV last year are stepping up. I think by the end of the year, we’ll be all right.”
106 pounds: Brodie Starlin, C/OM, pinned Dalton Bell, 1:23. 113: Jacob Goodson, C/OM, pinned Dalton Book, 1:31. 120: Carson Wheat, C/OM, pinned Jonathan Riemann, 1:44. 126: Cade Vicker, C/OM, pinned Michael Radford, 1:31. 132: Kelby Luther, C/OM, pinned Cole Fuoss, 1:31. 138: Trevor Marlin, C/OM, major dec. Trevor Stanley 13-4. 145: Jordan Renshaw, G, dec. Mitchel Swank 2-1. 152: Trevor Anderson, G, pinned Brant Looney, 2:39. 160: AJ Slaughter, G, pinned Sam Chapman, 1:35. 170: Eli Bales, G, dec. Kolby Tomas 11-7. 182: Chase Shiltz, C/OM, dec. Anthony Sherry 5-1. 195: Isaac Bales, G, dec. Jackson Mikkelsen 4-3 (UTB-2). 220: Kadon Hulett, C/OM, major dec. Zach Haggstrom 13-4. 285: Caleb Sanders, G, dec. Cody Tanner 3-2 (UTB).