If coach Darrell Frain was worried about the mindset of his fifth-ranked Creston/O-M wrestling team going into Tuesday’s Class 2A Regional Dual Tournament here, they quickly put those fears to rest when they hit the mat.
The Panthers secured their fourth consecutive trip to State Duals, sixth in the last seven years and ninth overall in Frain’s 13 years as head coach with two lopsided victories.
After Creston/O-M (16-1) destroyed Clarinda, 77-6, in the semifinals, the Panthers thwarted any upset hopes early with five pins in the opening seven matches, plus a six-point forfeit win, to bolt to a 36-6 lead on the way to a 60-16 championship victory over Atlantic.
“I was not really happy with the way the night started because I thought our preparation wasn’t real good,” Frain said of the team’s warm-up in the wrestling room. “Usually we take pride in how we prepare. When they started wrestling, they got it going.”
The Panthers are seeded fifth in the state tourney beginning at 9 a.m. Feb. 13 at Wells Fargo Arena. The Panthers placed fourth last year, losing to Atlantic in the consolation match after getting edged by state champion Davenport Assumption in the semifinals.
“We get Charles City like last year and they return a lot of guys,” Frain said. “Two years ago we weren’t supposed to win up there (seeded seventh) and we made the finals. We’ll see what we can do.”
Frain was worried his team and Atlantic might battle on even terms for awhile Tuesday, and he was prepared to adjust the lineup. The dual began at 126 pounds.
“Coming in, I said we could easily split the first four matches,” Frain said. “If we got down at all, we were going to start bumping kids. Then we got those two falls, we stayed at our weight and things just kind of snowballed like they do sometimes when we wrestle in our gym.”
Atlantic coach Tim Duff said Creston/O-M 126-pounder Gage Cheers put a damper in his team’s hopes early with a pin over Marshal McDermott in the opening match.
“Those two have split and Marshal beat Cheers at conference,” Duff said. “They get a pin in a tossup match. That set the tone and got their fans into in right away.”
Creston/O-M defeated Atlantic in a much closer match on Dec. 6, 37-24.
“They beat us by 13 earlier,” Duff said. “That shows how much they’ve improved. They have their kids really wrestling at a high level right now. Hopefully they can make some noise and represent southwest Iowa very well.”
After the dual was tied 6-6, Jake Marlin got his second pin of the night to move within three of the state record of 146. He also stands at 193 career victories. He decked Atlantic’s Austin Williamson in 10 seconds.
Jacob Johnston followed with a fall in just 24 seconds as the Panther crowd had barely sat down from celebrating Marlin’s victory.
“That (145-pound) match was another we were hoping to compete,” Duff said. “But a senior at home like Johnston, wrestling with a chance to go to state duals, you knew he was real motivated.”
After Gavin Leith’s win by forfeit, the Panthers followed with pins by Trevor Frain and Adam Baker to go ahead 36-6.
Atlantic moved 170-pound 10th-ranked Matt Williamson up a weight class to take on Panther freshman Seth Maitlen, and Maitlen showed the superior offense on his feet in a 7-4 decision.
Leading 5-4, Maitlen countered a last desperation shot by the stocky Williamson to score the final two points as the home crowd erupted.
“He tried throwing me and I just positioned my hips right and ended up on top of him,” Maitlen said. He’s strong, but I knew if I stuck to the basics, I could get an ankle and get a takedown.”
Frain was ecstatic.
“Matt Williamson is good,” Frain said. “He’s beaten a lot of good kids and has won matches at the state tournament. Seth just keeps competing.”
Likewise, Cole Tanner defeated one of Atlantic’s better wrestlers in Tyler Stork, who bumped up from 195.
“They fully intended to get that one,” Frain said. “That was good for Cole, after not getting to districts.”
“He took a desperation shot and I was able to sprawl and get my two points,” Tanner said, explaining his winning takedown at the buzzer in a 4-2 decision. “I knew it was at 10 seconds when we came back to the middle, so it had to be getting down there.”
After Atlantic won the heavyweight match, Panther sophomore Stone Hammons, just 12-31 for the season, locked up a pin in 1:17 against William Weppler igniting another celebration in the bleachers.
“That’s great for Stone,” Frain said. “He went out there to win from the get-go. The crowd knows what he has put in and they appreciated that.”
“I really wanted the pin,” Hammons said. “I knew his legs were coming up and I tried to anticipate the cradle. I finally got it locked in.”
Atlantic’s dual season ends at 13-8.
“Now it’s time to concentrate on our seven individuals,” Duff said.
Creston/O-M takes 11 individuals to the district tournament Saturday in Knoxville.
Creston/O-M 60, Atlantic 16
126 — Gage Cheers (COM) pinned Marshall McDermott (Atl), 3:40.
132 — Reid Nichols (Atl) pinned Joey Huntington (COM), 2:12.
138 — Jake Marlin (COM) pinned Austin Williamson (Atl), :10.
145 — Jacob Johnston (COM) pinned Matthew Smith (Atl), :24.
152 — Gavin Leith (COM) by forfeit.
160 — Trevor Frain (COM) pinned Jacob Johnston (Atl), 2:56.
170 — Adam Baker (COM) pinned Jordan Mauk (Atl), :38.
182 — Seth Maitlen (COM) dec. Matthew Williamson (Atl), 7-4.
195 — Keaton Hulett (COM) pinned Keagan Hosfelt (Atl), 1:41.
220 — Cole Tanner (COM) dec. Tyler Stork (Atl), 4-2.
285 — Tyler Christensen (Atl) pinned Nathan Robinson (COM), 1:13.
106 — Stone Hammons (COM) pinned William Weppler (Atl), 1:17.
113 — Kruz Adamson (COM) pinned Christian Brumbaugh (Atl), 3:41.
120 — Dillion Cox (Atl) major dec. Wyatt Thompson (COM), 13-4.
Creston/O-M 77, Clarinda 6
120 — Wyatt Thompson (COM) pinned Donte Peterson (Clar), 5:24.
126 — Blake Luna (Clar) pinned Gage Cheers (COM), 3:08.
132 — Joey Huntington (COM) tech fall Kollyn Buch (Clar), 3:34 (15-0).
138 — Jake Marlin (COM) pinned Reagan Johnson (Clar), :59.
145 — Jacob Johnston (COM) pinned James VanFosson (Clar), 1:09.
152 — Gavin Leith (COM) pinned Kyle Holmes (Clar), 1:28.
160 — Trevor Frain (COM) pinned Ross Christie (Clar), :33.
170 — Adam Baker (COM) by forfeit.
182 — Seth Maitlen (COM) pinned Christian Lauritsen (Clar), 2:36.
195 — Keaton Hulett (COM) by forfeit.
220 — Cole Tanner (COM) pinned Brook Stephens (Clar), 1:28.
285 — Nathan Robinson (COM) pinned Dakota Calfee (Clar), 1:08.
106 — Stone Hammons (COM) by forfeit.
113 — Kruz Adamson (COM) by forfeit.
Atlantic 37, ADM 36
120 — Marshall McDermott (Atl) dec. Balley Betazza (ADM), 4-2; 126 — Dillion Cox (Atl) major dec. Logan Wendt (ADM), 10-1; 132 — Atlantic open; 138 — Zach Johnston (ADM) dec. Reid Nichols (Atl), 5-4; 145 — Matthew Smith (Atl) pinned Justin Wong (ADM), 1:27; 152 — Atlantic open; 160 — Sam Plagman (ADM) pinned Jacob Johnson (Atl), 1:51; 170 — Jordan Mauk (Atl) pinned Tate Jensen (ADM), 5:31; 182 — Jordan Grove (ADM) tech fall Matthew Williamson, 17-1 (4:00); 195 — Tyler Stork (Atl) pinned Darold Baker (ADM), :34; 220 — Dylan Nelson (ADM) pinned Keagan Hosfeldt (Atl), 3:45; 285 — Tyler Christensen (Atl) pinned Tristan Pitsenbarger (ADM), :22; 106 — Kyle Wilkerson (ADM) pinned William Weppler (Atl), 1:52; 113 — Trevor Harsh (ADM) major dec. Christian Brumbaugh (Atl), 4-2.
State Dual Pairings
Quarterfinals, 9 a.m. — West Delaware (1) 25-0 vs. Ballard (8) 16-5; Charles City (4) 19-4 vs. Creston/O-M (5) 16-1; Davenport Assumption (2) 23-5 vs. Boyden Hull/Rock Valley (7) 25-2; Mediapolis (3) 25-0 vs. Union, LaPorte City (6) 24-5.
Semifinals — 1 p.m.
Championship and third place — 6:30 p.m.
Consolation semifinals and fifth-seventh place — 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.