COUNCIL BLUFFS — Though he is Iowa Western's team leader in victories this season, Sean Dulom wasn't scheduled to wrestle in Friday's home dual with No. 10 Ellsworth at Kanesville Arena.
The freshman from Florida competed at 149 pounds before the holiday break, but found himself out of the lineup because the No. 4 Reivers had sixth-ranked Casey Einerson at 149 against the Panthers.
Dulom weighed in Friday at 157, where fifth-rated Zak Benitz got the start. But when Benitz lost his match with unranked Nate Woodard 3-2 on a takedown with 11 seconds remaining, Iowa Western coach Josh Watts turned to Dulom to wrestle two classes up at 165.
The freshman responded with a momentum-changing victory, pinning Ellsworth's Jeff Lyon in 1:27 to put the Reivers up in the dual 15-10. Dan Williams then moved up a class to win at 174, and Devin Peterson won by fall at 184 to clinch a 24-19 victory for Iowa Western.
“We knew it was going to be a close dual,” Watts said. “We had Sean ready to go, just in case. I wish I could've given him a little more notice than two seconds before the match. But he performed. ... It was huge. Sean won the dual.”
The victory moved the Reivers to 2-0 in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference in dual competition. They'll meet No. 11 Iowa Central at Kanesville on Feb. 1.
Iowa Western hadn't faced junior college competition in more than a month. It had lost its past three duals to NCAA Division I programs from Purdue, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Northern Iowa.
The Reivers led 9-7 after four matches Friday, but trailed at the halfway point following Woodard's upset of Benitz. The Panthers, 1-3 in duals, had momentum on their side.
Dulom changed that when he caught Lyon in a front headlock. The match didn't last long from there.
“I wasn't even sure I was going to compete tonight,” he said. “I just dug deep, then I went out there and stuck him. I was so excited after that. That was the best feeling in the world.”
The win was his 16th of the season. Most of them have come by fall.
Dulom came to Iowa Western from Sarasota, Fla. He said it's been a learning experience so far.
“This is my freshman year, and I haven't competed against this quality of guys,” he said. “I come from Florida. And coming to Iowa ... this is the mecca.”
Watts said the dual win was big for the Reivers moving forward. They'll meet No. 8 Ridgewater next week before facing the Tritons in Council Bluffs in early February.
The NJCAA national qualifying meet is the week after that.
“All of those duals are going to be hard fought, and then we're going to see each other at the national qualifier,” Watts said. “I think our guys learned a lot, and we're improving.”
Individual results: 125: Da'Wayne Robertson, Ell, major dec. Adrian Lozano, 10-2. 133: Eric Franklin, Ell, dec. Seth Stender, 5-2. 141: Peter Stewart, IW, dec. Tyler Lashbrook, Ell, 13-7. 149: Kasey Einerson, IW, pinned James Kent, 4:26. 157: Nate Woodward, Ell, dec. Zak Benitz, 3-2. 165: Sean Dulom, IW, pinned Jeff Lyon, 1:27. 174: Dan Williams, IW, dec. Eddie Mora, 7-4. 184: Devin Peterson, IW, pinned Edwin Wilson, :41. 197: Josh DaSilveria, Ell, dec. Aaron Satterwhite, 10-6. 285: Josh Lambrecht, Ell, pinned Ronald Lemons, IW, 4:50.