Wrestling ends week as co-champs

Chari Esmoil · Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Thursday, Dec. 7 the Comet wrestling team took to the road once again for a lopsided River Valley Conference quadrangular.

This time, the Comets found themselves manhandling their opponents at Mid-Prairie High School. Iowa City Regina and West Branch also joined in on the fun.

The Comets disposed of the Regina Regals first by a 72-6 score. Getting pins were Talen Dengler and Bryce Esmoil. The short-handed Regals gave up ten forfeits throughout the contest.

Mid-Prairie surrendered four forfeits to the Comets during the second dual of the night.

Pinning their opponents were Brian Collins, Talen Dengler, Justis Dengler, Joe Kelly, Austin Beaver, AJ Lenz, Bryce Esmoil, Kobe Simon and Sam Gingerich. Jackson Gingerich gritted out a 6-2 decision to round out the Comet scoring. Final score was 81-0.

West Branch suffered similarly during the final dual of the night, falling 78-0 to the Comets.

Pinners against the Bears were Talen Dengler, Justis Dengler, Kelly, Austin Beaver, Lenz, Andy Lopez and Sam Gingerich. The fall recorded by Sam avenged an earlier season loss. The Bears scattered six forfeits to the Comets.

Saturday, Dec. 9, the team tested itself at the Mount Vernon Invitational along with 14 other teams.

Last year the team finished in fourth place with 155 points. The competition proved to be top-notch again this year, with at least 39 ranked wrestlers from all three classes.

Among the ranked competitors were nineteen returning 2017 Iowa High School Athletic Association State place winners. Included in the mix were five returning state champs, two runners up and three third place finishers.

Competing at 106 pounds, Sam Gingerich collected a 5th place finish, going 2-1 on the day. He earned a 5:19 fall in his final match over Matt Collett of Washington.

Brian Collins was 1-2 at 113 pounds to garner sixth place, getting a pin in his second match of the afternoon.

At 126, Talen Dengler battled to a 1-2 record and a fourth place finish, getting a valuable 1:56 pin against his Davenport Assumption foe in his first match.

Will Esmoil made his run to the finals at 132 by a fall and a 9-0 major decision. He would settle for a runner up spot after falling to top-ranked returning state champ, Matt Robertson of Davenport Assumption 6-4.

At 138, Coy Ruess opened with a 11-2 major decision and a 5:19 fall over second seed Adam Laubenthal of Davenport Assumption to reach the finals. There, he dropped an 11-4 decision to returning state runner up Donny Schmit of Wapsie Valley to finish second.

Justis Dengler had a memorable day, recording his 100th career win with a close 1-0 victory over Mitchell Louwagie of Mt Vernon. Dengler was 2-1 on the day to collect a third place finish.

A new but familiar face at 152, Joe Kelly dropped down a weight to enter a buzzsaw of a bracket that included returning state champ Kaleb Krall of Wapsie Valley and highly ranked Brayden Nunemaker of East Buchanan.

Kelly won by fall, beat Nunemaker 16-8 and destroyed Krall by a 12-3 major decision to claim the first Comet championship on the day.

Bumping up to 160 for the first time this season, Austin Beaver opened with a big 8-7 victory over sixth ranked Collin Schrader of Wapsie Valley.

He went toe-to-toe with his next opponent, losing by fall towards the end of the match. His final match ended in a 0-5 loss, landing him in the fourth place position.

A brand new face at 170, Kolton Armey, stepped in and went 3-2 in his first competition as a Comet, with two big pins and an 8-4 decision to place 5th.

Jackson Gingerich rebounded after a first round loss to finish 2-1 and earn a fifth place medal at 182 with a 3:50 pin in his final match over a crafty Mount Vernon opponent.

At 195, Bryce Esmoil recorded three pins to claim the second championship podium spot for the Comets. His pin in the finals pulled the Comets to within four team points of Lisbon, who had led the team race the entire day.

At 220, freshman Kobe Simon went 1-2 with an opening round pin over his senior opponent from Beckman Catholic.

Andy Lopez proved to be the hero for the Comets at heavyweight. Two straight pins propelled him into the championship match with familiar foe and top-seeded Mitchell Huisenga of Washington.

With his team trailing by just four points, Lopez was determined to get the win for his comrades. Huisenga found himself on his back at least three times, just barely escaping being pinned by Lopez.

The final match score was 4-0 in favor of Lopez, pushing the Comets to co-championship honors with Lisbon.

Both teams ended with 222 points. Finishing behind the champs were Mt Vernon (165), Davenport Assumption (153), Washington (150.5), Wapsie Valley (103.5), Beckman Catholic (87), East Buchanan (85), Wapello (84.5), Sigourney-Keota (66.5), Louisa Muscatine (64.5), Xavier (53), Cascade (52), Marion (31) and Mid Prairie (18).

Next up for the Comets will be another RVC quad on Thursday, Dec. 14 at Tipton with North Cedar and Bellevue at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, the team will compete at the Cedar Rapids Xavier Duals beginning at 9 a.m.
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