DENISON — Depth was the key here Saturday for the Creston/Orient-Macksburg wrestling team, as it wrapped up a three-peat of the Hawkeye 10 Tournament and a season sweep of the Hawkeye 10 crowns.
The Panthers rolled to the team title, scoring 258.5 points, besting second-place Clarinda’s 195. Glenwood finished third with 178 points.
Creston/O-M seized control of the team race early on, advancing 12 of 14 wrestlers to the semifinals and nine to the finals. The Panthers crowned five individual champions.
“Our depth is what carried us through the whole day,” head coach Darrell Frain said. “We might not have finished the final round as strong as we would have liked to, but like I said, our depth is what carried us early and kept us in the lead the whole time.”
Frain said a change in training over the past several years is what’s led to his team’s success in the Hawkeye 10 Tournament.
“All those years we won state and everything, we never won it,” he said. “The last three years we’ve kind of changed our training coming into it. I used to just kill them during this week and we didn’t wrestle well at all. We’ve pulled back the last three years and it’s paid off with winning it three years in a row.”
After advancing nine wrestlers to the finals, Frain said he would have liked to have finished with more than just five individual champions.
Still, it was a successful day for the Panthers.
Kruz Adamson (113) and Trevor Frain (170) became repeat Hawkeye 10 champions, while Joey Huntington (138), Chase Shiltz (145) and Adam Baker (182) each won his first conference championship.
Adamson built an early lead in his finals match against Jorge Partida of Denison, but Partida scored a takedown late in the match to make the score 6-4, as Adamson avoided being turned to his back to seal the win.
Frain dominated his finals matchup, winning a 15-0 technical fall in 3:08. He couldn’t even be stopped by a pair of blood timeouts.
In the process, Frain also picked up the 175th victory of his career.
In the 138-pound finals, Huntington scored a takedown in the final 25 seconds to break a 6-6 tie, earning an 8-6 decision over Clarinda’s Trey Stickler.
Shiltz, ranked sixth in Class 2A, earned his championship, beating a pair of ranked wrestlers on his way to the 145 crown.
The Panther freshman fell behind 4-0 early to Kuemper Catholic’s Jared Eischeid in the finals, but stayed calm and grinded out an 11-5 win.
“He didn’t panic, just kept doing what he does and kept grinding on him the whole match,” Frain said. “And eventually, it led to more points and more points. It ended up being a pretty big lead. The score didn’t indicate how close of a match it was.”
Baker picked up a 6-2 decision over Clarinda’s Cain Johanns to win his first Hawkeye 10 crown — and the first individual tournament title of his career. He also picked up the 100th win of his career.
“Adam getting 100 and it’s the first tournament he’s ever won, so big time to start winning tournaments,” Frain said.
The Panthers came just :01 away from crowning a sixth champion, as sophomore Seth Maitlen nearly won the 195-pound title.
Maitlen built an early lead on Harlan’s Cale Stork in the finals, but gave up a takedown in the final :10 and tried to survive the final :05 without being turned to his back.
But, Stork was awarded the nearfall points in the final second, scoring a 6-5 come-from-behind win over Maitlen.
“Stork does a lot of high-risk moves with the chance of putting us on our back, but we were in control of the match to a degree,” Frain said. “We just have to be a little smarter in the end. When it matters to go to state, we can’t let that happen. We’ve got to make sure if we’re ahead, it doesn’t get to that point.”
The other Panthers who finished runner-up were Wyatt Thompson (120), Spencer Wray (132) and Gavin Leith (152). Brody Frain (106), Tayler Pettit (160) and Kadon Hulett (220) were the other Panther semifinalists. Alex Fargo placed fifth at 126 pounds for Creston/O-M.
Creston/O-M placed in 13 of the 14 weight classes.
Now, the Panthers turn their attention to the postseason tournaments, with sectionals coming up on Saturday in Shenandoah.
Coach Frain said his team learned a lot about itself heading into the postseason tournaments.
“The biggest thing is those close matches like Maitlen’s or you get a situation like even Pettit’s where he got beat in the consolations — those things can’t happen if you want to have a chance to go to state,” he said. “We have a lot to work on still, but I feel good about where we’re at right now.”
And, Frain expects plenty of matchups this week in which his wrestlers will need to show some improvement.
“Almost every one of these guys is going to have a rematch next week,” he said. “As a whole, we won a lot of close ones where we have to get the gap bigger by next week.”
Hawkeye 10 Tournament
Team standings — 1. Creston/O-M 258.5, 2. Clarinda 195, 3. Glenwood 178, 4. Lewis Central 160.5, 5. Atlantic 142, 6. Harlan 112.5, 7. Red Oak 85, 8. Council Bluffs St. Albert 72, 9. Kuemper Catholic 65.5, 10. Denison 54, 11. Shenandoah 48.
Championship matches and Creston/O-M placing matches
106 — 1. Paxton Whiteaker (LC) dec. Josef Rogers (Den), 8-7; 3. Wil Beach (Har) dec. Brody Frain (COM), 8-3.
113 — 1. Kruz Adamson (COM) dec. Jorge Partida (Den), 6-4.
120 — 1. Dillon Cox (Atl) pinned Wyatt Thompson (COM), 3:54.
126 — 1. Darrian Schwenke (Atl) major dec. Blake Luna (Clar), 11-2; 5. William Fargo (COM) pinned Brody Bopp (Shen), 1:15.
132 — 1. Matt Malcom (Glen) pinned Spencer Wray (COM), :43.
138 — 1. Joey Huntington (COM) dec. Trey Stickler (Clar), 8-6.
145 — 1. Chase Shiltz (COM) dec. Jared Eischeid (KC), 11-5.
152 — 1. Ethan Ruby (LC) dec. Gavin Leith (COM), 8-3.
160 — 1. Wyatt Lewis (CBSA) pinned John Clark (Clar), 1:31; 3. Josh Clark (Glen) pinned Tayler Pettit (COM), 1:33.
170 — 1. Trevor Frain (COM) technical fall Hayden Waldstein (LC), 15-0 (3:08).
182 — 1. Adam Baker (COM) dec. Cain Johanns (Clar), 6-2.
195 — 1. Cale Stork (Har) dec. Seth Maitlen (COM), 6-5.
220 — 1. Dallon Bendorf (Har) pinned Sean O’Neill (CBSA), 5:07; 3. Tyler Christensen (Atl) pinned Kadon Hulett (COM), 3:47.
285 — 1. Dakota Calfee (Clar) dec. Jacob Cook (LC), 5-2.