Comet grapplers continue to wrangle

Chari Esmoil · Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Thursday, Jan. 11, Mother Nature played the spoiler in eastern Iowa, forcing the entire area to cancel or postpone all extracurricular activities.

Included in that list of postponements was the Comet wrestling quadrangular with Camanche, Monticello and Northeast Gooselake.

Instead, the RVC contest will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 16 at West Liberty High School Gymnasium beginning at 5:30 pm.

However, cold weather did not keep the Solon Ed Hadenfeldt Invitational from taking place on Saturday, Jan. 13. Thirteen teams brought wrestlers to compete for the team and individual crowns on this day.

West Liberty would come in third place behind Lisbon and Solon, the consequence of several long and hard fought out matches.

Starting at 106, Sam Gingerich received a first round bye. Gingerich lost his next match by fall, but bounced back to win two straight matches, one by fall and another by 7-5 victory to reach the consolation finals.

There, he dropped his last match to finish the day at 2-2 to grab 4th place.

Brian Collins had a tough day at 113 pounds, receiving a first round bye and losing his next two matches to bow out of the tournament.

The 120 pound bracket was undeniably the toughest weight class of the tournament, boasting four ranked wrestlers-two of them being ranked number 1 in their respective classes as well as being returning state champs.

Talen Dengler received a first round bye. After dropping his next two matches, Dengler came back to win his final bout with a :45 pin to secure fifth place.

Montana Herrold wrestled in another bracket full of talent at 126. He began the day with a bye and a loss

Herrold came back with a nice 1:55 pin of his own in his next match. He went on to drop his next two contests to grab 6th place.

At 132, Will Esmoil also started his day with a bye. Two pins later, he found himself in the championship match. There, he would win 8-3 over his opponent to claim the first of three Comet titles.

Coy Ruess followed suit with another first round bye. Next he recorded a 1:10 fall to reach the semifinals.

He was edged out by a 3-2 loss to send him to the consolation side. There, he won by fall in 1:07 and a 6-0 decision to claim third place.

At 145, Justis Dengler took a first round bye. Next, he lost a scrappy 5-3 decision, followed by a hard nosed 14-12 win. Dengler lost his final two matches to claim 6th place.

Through his first three bouts, Joe Kelly was only on the mat a total of 1:02 at 152 pounds thanks to a bye and two super speedy falls.

Kelly set himself up for the finals with his wins. There, he wrestled a determined opponent that ended up besting Kelly by a 9-8 decision to give him runner-up status.

At 160, Austin beaver made an appearance after sitting out for over a week with illness. The break apparently suited Beaver well, as he took a first round bye, a 2:37 fall and a 6-4 decision into the finals. There, he held on for a 3-2 win and the second Comet championship.

Wrestling at 170, AJ Lenz took a first round bye. Next, he lost a heartbreaking 6-4 overtime match. Another loss sent him to the 5th/6th place matches where he recorded a 1:34 fall to secure fifth place.

Like his other teammates, wrestling at 182, Jackson Gingerich received a first round bye. Next up, he lost a close 5-2 decision to his opponent.

Gingerich followed that up with a 1:28 fall. He would go 1-1 in his next two matches, including a 5-4 revenge win over his first opponent of the day to claim fifth place.

Bryce Esmoil took two straight byes into the semifinals before ever hitting the mat at 195. He then decked his next two opponents by fall, including a 2:37 triumph in the finals to secure the third Comet championship.

Kobe Simon took a first round bye at 220. He dropped a 5-2 loss in his next bout. After another loss, Simon ended his day with a 4:20 pin to finish fifth.

Andy Lopez battled it out with twelve other heavyweights to determine the king of the giants. With a bye and two pins, he found himself in the championship match. He dropped that final bout 11-2 to finish second.

The team race was neck and neck for a couple of rounds, but as the day progressed, Lisbon pulled away for the team championship.

The Comets were in second place for some time, but after a couple of rough rounds, they would settle for third behind Lisbon and Solon.

Next up for the Comets, the rescheduled quad was at home on Jan. 16, which was also senior night.

Thursday, Jan. 18, another RVC quad with Bellevue and Durant will be hosted by Iowa City Regina. Start time is at 5:30 p.m. for both nights.

On Saturday, Jan. 20 the Comets will compete in the Louisa Muscatine Invitational beginning at 10 a.m.
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