On Thursday, Jan. 21, the West Liberty Comet wrestling team went to Mid Prairie High School to compete in an important River Valley Conference quadrangular with Mid Prairie, Durant and Wilton, coming away a winner in all three matches.
It was the highlight of the week for the Comets as they kept their top spot in the conference before also participating in a tournament at Louisa-Muscatine.
The Comets opened up with Durant in the quadrangular and soared through that dual thanks to six forfeits from the Wildcats.
Felipe Molina, Kobe Simon, Colin Cassady, Alex Beaver, Joshua Zeman and Lake Newton all pinned their opponents. Getting forfeit victories for West Liberty were Quintyn Rocha, Sam Gingerich, Joshua Mateo, Drake Collins and Joe Barten. The final team score was 66-12, highly favoring the Comets.
Against Mid Prairie, West Liberty was forced to work much harder for their points. Zeman, Gingerich and Collins were the only Comets to receive forfeits in the dual.
Cassady, Beaver, Mateo and Newton were all victorious by fall. Simon took a nice 13-5 major decision to round out the Comet scoring at a much closer 46-35 margin.
River Valley Conference rival Wilton was next in line for the Comets. Many expected this to be a close dual and the Comet wrestlers did not disappoint with their efforts.
Simon and Rocha started the match with back to back falls. After a decision and two forfeit victories by the Beavers, the Comets trailed 12-15.
West Liberty’s Beaver took a forfeit and Zeman got a quick :50 pin to put the Comets back on top, 24-15. Gingerich worked another quick :46 pin and Collins ground out a tough 7-3 victory in their matches.
The Comet’s Barten earned a decisive pin in 1:06 that took the wind out of the Beavers' sails. Molina pinned his foe in the final bout of the dual to seal the statement win for the Comets, 45-29.
West Liberty’s team participated in the Louisa Muscatine Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 23, placing third in the team race with 138.5 points. Central Dewitt won the event with 203.5, followed by Belle Plaine with 151.5 total points.
Comet Colin Casady went 3-1 with three nice pins to secure third place in the 106 pound bracket.
At 126, Alex Beaver received an opening round bye. He then went 2-1 with a pin and a gutsy 11-10 victory to place third.
Joshua Zeman reached the finals at 132 for the Comets with a super fast :12 pin and a 6-1 decision. Zeman dropped his finals match 12-6 to finish runner up.
At 145, Joshua Mateo dropped his first round match for the Comets by a close 5-4 score. He then received a bye and won his next match 9-3. Mateo lost his final match by fall to finish fourth.
Drake Collins raced to the finals with two pins and an injury default match for the Comets. Collins put an exclamation point on the day with a 1:09 in his final match to secure the first Comet championship of the day.
At 160, Lake Newton won his first match by fall and dropped his second by fall. He injury-defaulted out of the tournament after that to finish in sixth place.
Joe Barten went 1-3 on the day at 170 with a pin to place third.
At 182, Austin Elizalde went 1-3 with a close 4-3 victory for the Comet wrestlers to place sixth.
Felipe Molina marched through his 195-pound bracket with two pins each in under a minute to reach the finals. There, Molina toughed out a 8-6 overtime victory to claim the second Comet championship.
Kobe Simon made it three Comet champs when he won the 220 pound division with a pin and a tech fall to enter the finals. There, Simon won with a 14-6 major decision to claim gold.
The Comets were to compete Monday, Jan. 25 in an RVC event at Camanche, but due to inclement weather, the event was cancelled. The next scheduled meet is the River Valley Conference meet in Monticello, which begins at 10 a.m. this Saturday. The Comets will be defending their title in the key meet.