The Creston/Orient-Macksburg wrestling team held a slim half-point advantage over Glenwood, 78.5-78, heading into the semifinal round of the Hawkeye 10 Conference wrestling tournament here on Saturday.
Things really got rolling for the Panthers when 113-pounder Kruz Adamson, the first of 10 Panther semifinalists, scored a dramatic upset victory over second-seeded and Class 2A fifth-ranked Chris Hopkins of Harlan, igniting the Creston/O-M fan base and the Panther team to a repeat Hawkeye 10 Conference tournament championship.
Creston/O-M beat out Hawkeye 10 duals champion Glenwood 242.5-223 for the team title.
Adamson and Hopkins went back-and-forth in their semifinal matchup. Adamson would score a takedown and back points, and then Hopkins would neck wrench Adamson, earning five points.
“Crazy match,” head coach Darrell Frain said. “He gets a takedown and puts the kid on his back, so we get a little lead. We know Hopkins and how he wrestles. He neck wrenches us two times, so two five-point moves.”
The match entered the final seconds tied at 15, when the official stopped the match with 1.9 seconds remaining and assessed Adamson a one-point penalty for putting a figure four on Hopkins’ head.
“It was unfortunate,” Frain said. “He did figure four the head. He didn’t try to, but in that situation, they had to call it. But, 1.9 seconds, you get a fresh start.”
Adamson thought he had cost himself the match when he was assessed the penalty.
“I was thinking, ‘crap, I just cost me the match.’” Adamson said. “Then I looked back and saw he was one point ahead of me, and I thought ‘OK, I can do this.’ I saw coach Frain kind of get up and grab my stuff and one second left.”
Standing neutral in the middle of the mat, on center stage in the middle of the gym right in front of the Creston/O-M fans, Adamson, nicknamed “Flash,” lunged forward on the whistle, grabbed Hopkins’ ankle and was able to get the takedown, all in the final 1.9 seconds, causing the Creston/O-M fans to erupt in celebration as Adamson sat on the mat with a look of disbelief on his face after his 17-16 win.
“I just quickly went for his ankle and got around him, and I got it, I guess,” Adamson said. “The fastest takedown I’ve ever had in my life. The time wasn’t really bugging me, but as soon as I got it, I got his legs and they stopped the match, I didn’t realize I won. Then he said ‘two,’ and I looked up at the clock and I thought we were going to overtime. Then, I saw him take off his ankle band. It was a great feeling.”
“I thought it was over. I really did,” Frain said about the moments after the figure four penalty was called. “I threw my program down, I was picking up his stuff and I look around, and he gets a low single and I didn’t even think it was possible to do in 1.9, but it was definitely exciting. It was pretty dang loud at that point.”
Creston/O-M assistant coach Cody Downing said it was the loudest reaction he can remember hearing in the Creston High School gymnasium.
After Adamson’s semifinal win, things started to snowball for the Panthers.
“Last week, we had an unbelievable quarterfinal round, and this week, we had a great semifinal,” Frain said. “We just got on a run. When Kruz got that big win in the semis, it just kind of took off from there. Everybody fed off of it, because about every kid was at the edge of the mat in Kruz’s match, and they all got excited for him. Everybody just kind of ran with it from there.”
Eight of the nine other Panther wrestlers in the semifinals won their matches, advancing to the finals, where the Panthers crowned six champions.
Adamson, along with Jake Marlin (138), Jacob Johnston (145), Trevor Frain (160), Keaton Hulett (195) and Cole Tanner (220) all won Hawkeye 10 championships, while Jesse Rathe (152) and Adam Baker (170) each lost close decisions in the finals. Freshman Seth Maitlen (182) made it to the finals where he lost by fall.
Marlin, with his win, became Creston/O-M’s first-ever four-time conference champion.
Frain praised Johnston, Rathe, Baker, Maitlen and freshman Joey Huntington for their performances, which were key in the Panthers winning the team title.
Rathe did not find out he was wrestling until 3 p.m. on Friday, with Gavin Leith still out with the flu.
“It’s pretty impressive just to get this thing,” Frain said. “The year we won state (2006-07), we didn’t win it and now to win two in a row, and the fact we did it at home is even better. We definitely wrestle better when we’re in front of our home crowd.”
But, Frain said his team needs to realize that winning the conference championship has no bearing on what lies ahead over the course of the next three weeks as the Panthers head into sectionals, districts and state.
Hawkeye 10 Conference Tournament
Team standings — 1. Creston/Orient-Macksburg 242.5, 2. Glenwood 223, 3. Clarinda 165, 4. Atlantic 140.5, 5. Harlan 124, 6. Lewis Central 108.5, 7. Kuemper Catholic 96, 8. Red Oak 70, 9. Shenandoah 69.5, 10. Denison 48.
106 — 1. Tanner Mertz (RO) dec. Chase Evans (G), 5-2; 3. Josef Rogers (D) pinned Paxton Whiteaker (LC), 1:45; 5. Will Beach (H) pinned Nate Hoyt (Shen), 4:20.
113 — 1. Kruz Adamson (COM) dec. Cole Peckham (G), 6-2; 3. Zac McCoy (Shen) dec. Dakota Petty (RO), 8-2; 5. Jorge Partida (D) injury default Chris Hopkins (H).
120 — 1. Blake Luna (Clar) major dec. Dillon Cox (A), 21-9; 3. Broghan Kelly (H) dec. Matt Malcom (G), 6-2; 5. Sean Skillern (Shen) dec. Wyatt Thompson (COM), 3-2.
126 — 1. Sam Jameson (G) dec. Jared Eischeid (KC), 15-9; 3. Cole Race (Clar) dec. Marshal McDermott (A), 3-2; 5. Gage Cheers (COM) pinned Jordan Bailey (LC).
132 — 1. Alexander Schmitz (KC) dec. Seth Warren (G), 3-1; 3. Reid Nichols (A) dec. Joseph Heitshusen (Shen), 5-4; 5. Joey Huntington (COM) pinned Trey White (Clar), 3:40.
138 — 1. Jake Marlin (COM) pinned Jesse Bendt (G), 1:57; 3. Trey Stickler (Clar) dec. Mason Heredia-Pugh (LC), 8-1; 5. Austin Williamson (A) major dec. Bailey Akers (RO), 16-4.
145 — 1. Jacob Johnston (COM) dec. Luke Strong (Clar), 8-7; 3. Kolby Hilgenberg (KC) technical fall Matt Smith (A), 16-0; 5. Andrew Tilley (G) pinned Jacob Koke (H), :49.
152 — 1. Josh Clark (G) dec. Jesse Rathe (COM), 9-6; 3. JJ Clark (Clar) major dec. Adam Scharfenkamp (KC), 10-2; 5. Jose Rendon (Shen) dec. Manuel Borroso (D), 15-8.
160 — 1. Trevor Frain (COM) dec. Ryan Nightser (LC), 8-2; 3. Jon Sands (RO) pinned Ross Christie (Clar), 3:09; 5. Jordan Krewson (G) pinned Austin Foss (H), 1:53.
170 — 1. Matt Williamson (A) dec. Adam Baker (COM), 4-0; 3. Christian Lauritsen (Clar) pinned Adam Zaccone (H), 1:49; 5. Hayden Waldstein (LC) dec. Nick Leinen (RO), 11-8.
182 — 1. Austin Lear (LC) pinned Seth Maitlen (COM), 2:30; 3. Dalton Bendorf (H) dec. Dusty Swindler (Clar), 7-4; 5. Jordan Mauk (A) pinned Nate Phillips (G), 2:30.
195 — 1. Keaton Hulett (COM) dec. Cale Stork (H), 7-0; 3. Cain Johanns (Clar) pinned Tyler Stork (A), 1:39; 5. Logan Ruth (G) dec. Mitch Cam (D), 9-8.
220 — 1. Cole Tanner (COM) dec. Tyler Christensen (A), 3-1; 3. Tyler Johannsen (H) pinned Drayton Slaughter (G), 3:15; 5. Trevor Johnson (Shen) pinned John Seidl (KC), :58.
285 — 1. Alex Killpack (G) pinned Zach Renshaw (LC), 5:30; 3. Alex Bruch (KC) pinned Nate Robinson (COM), 3:04; 5. Jordan Siebert dec. Dakota Calfee (Clar), 2-1.