An emotional roller-coaster.
That’s the only way to describe the 2013-14 wrestling season, coach Darrell Frain said Monday night at the team’s postseason awards banquet.
No matter what transpired, this would have been a banquet that pulled on Frain’s emotions, because his oldest son (Trevor) was part of a senior class that began wrestling together as kindergarten and first-grade youngsters at area tournaments.
As it turned out, there were tremendous highlights as well as some disappointing outcomes in this season.
“We had highs and lows,” Frain said. “You look at finishing fourth at state duals, it was a bit of both. Our kids wrestled their tails off, some of the best wrestling we had all year. Yet, a slip-up on my part (penalty point for protesting a call), and we end up in fourth place instead of third. Then, after that at individual state, whether it was injuries or just not wrestling at that level again, we didn’t finish quite the way we wanted. It’s tough to find that balance point between your approach to state duals and the next three days at individual state. It was a tough four days.”
After matching their state rating by taking fourth in the state dual tourney, Creston/O-M was 15th in Class 2A at the traditional state tournament with 36.5 points. Atlantic, which was defeated by the Panthers in the dual regional and the conference tournament and dual race, ended up finishing higher in eighth place with 53 points.
The Panthers, 10-0 in league duals and 17-2 overall, qualified seven wrestlers for state. Three were placewinners in runner-up Chase Shiltz (145 pounds), Trevor Frain sixth at 170 and Seth Maitlen eighth at 195.
It was the 12th time in Frain’s 14 years as coach that Creston/O-M had at least one wrestler in the state finals.
Shiltz reaching the finals as a freshman and Maitlen getting on the medal stand as a sophomore were highlights, Frain said. On the other hand, second-ranked Trevor Frain getting edged in overtime in the semifinals and ending up sixth, after suffering a torn meniscus in the semifinal match, was “gut-wrenching” coach Frain said.
And, injuries from state duals hampered seniors Kruz Adamson and Adam Baker from performing at top level in their first and only state tournament opportunity, Frain noted.
“We still haven’t worked out how we want to balance that approach to state duals and individual state,” Frain said. “We wrestled great in state duals, but then we know we had some situations where we weren’t able to wrestle at our best at individual state. It’s tough.”
Seniors honored at Monday’s event were Trevor Luther, Garret Taylor, Zack Peppmeier, Gavin Leith, Adamson, Baker and Frain. Coach Frain was informed that Baker, Peppmeier and Taylor were named to the Hawkeye 10 All-Academic Team for wrestling. To be eligible, seniors must have a cumulative 3.5 grade point average or above.
Frain said the team as a whole also qualified for the Iowa High School Athletic Association academic honor for teams achieving a GPA of 3.0 to 3.24.
Leith, Adamson, Baker and Frain were all district qualifiers; and Adamson, Baker and Frain earned trips to state. Coach Frain noted that Leith was “knocking on the door” in three district appearances, often hampered by injuries. This year he came back from a separated shoulder in Kansas City to win a John J. Harris Tournament title.
Shiltz, Maitlen, sophomore Joey Huntington and junior Tayler Pettit were other state qualifiers.
Trevor Frain, earning the 2014 Mike Abel Most Outstanding Wrestler Award, finished a stellar 189-41 career with three state appearances (two medals) and the 189 victories ranks second on the all-time wins chart behind four-time champion Jake Marlin. He ended up in front of state champs Kalab Evans (181), Andrew Long (180), Keaton Hulett (178), Quin Leith (175) and Collin Bevins (158).
Frain’s 99 career falls ranks only behind Marlin (147), Boone Hayes (109), Andrew Long (107) and Collin Bevins (104). He tied for eighth for most wins in a season (52). Shiltz was right behind with 51, and his 31 falls in a season is tied for 13th.
Adamson ranks 13th among the all-time winners in Creston history with 141 and 13th in falls (66). Baker stands 24th in victories with 110.
Junior varsity and middle school wrestlers were also honored by coaches Cody Downing and Chris Olesen.
Downing said coaching the JV group was “like having another varsity team.” The Panther JV was fifth among 13 varsity teams at the Lenox Invitational, and won the Atlantic JV tournament by 150 points.
Assistant Matt Long noted a quotation by Scott Casber of Takedown Radio, that 30 percent of the wrestlers on the U.S. world team or competing to be on the team, had not placed in the national tournament in college or won a state tournament in high school.
“It’s not over until your dream’s over,” Long said.
Frain added that eight All-Americans at the NCAA Tournament this year were not state champions.
Seniors — Kruz Adamson (113), 36-10 (18 pins); Garret Taylor (145), 2-3 (1 pin); Gavin Leith (152), 22-7 (11 pins); Zach Peppmeier (152), 1-2 (1 pin); Trevor Frain (170), 52-6 (35 pins); Adam Baker (182), 45-12 (27 pins); Trevor Luther (182), 5-2 (4 pins).
Juniors — Alex Fargo (126), 22-15 (12 pins); Spencer Wray (132), 37-12 (22 pins); Bryce Briley (138), 5-9 (4 pins); Tyler Helm (138), 3-2 (1 pin); Tayler Pettit (160), 39-23 (19 pins); Jake Gutschenritter (285), 15-13 (8 pins).
Sophomores — Wyatt Thompson (120), 31-20 (18 pins); Cameron Leith (132), 8-8 (3 pins); Joey Huntington (138), 37-15 (9 pins); Seth Maitlen (195), 39-14 (20 pins); Zach Hoffman (220), 5-2 (5 pins).
Freshmen — Brody Frain (106), 28-20 (12 pins); Trevor Marlin (106), 10-15 (5 pins); Jacob Goodson (106), 2-2 (2 pins); Carson Wheat (113), 1-2 (1 pin); Chase Shiltz (145), 51-6 (32 pins); Jackson Mikkelsen (152), 2-5 (1 pin); Kadon Hulett (220), 30-14 (15 pins); Cody Tanner (285), 13-13 (6 pins).
Participation awards — Stone Hammons (Jr.), Chad Lamb (Jr.), Darrian Fischer (So.), Kyle Fenton (So.), Demitrius Campbell (Fr.), Colton Bolinger (Fr.), Keaton Eslinger (Fr.).
Managers — Tanner Webb (Jr.), Nate Haley (Sr.), Matt Hoffman (Fr.).
Statisticians — Alex Chapman (Sr.), Tyson Tucker (Jr.).
Mike Abel Most Outstanding Wrestler Award — Trevor Frain.
Wins — 2. Trevor Frain 189; 13. Kruz Adamson 141; 24. Adam Baker 110.
Falls — 5. Trevor Frain 99; 13. Kruz Adamson 66.
Wins — 6. (tie) Trevor Frain and Kalab Evans (2008) 52; 8. (tie) Chase Shiltz, Keaton Hulett (2012), Collin Bevins (2011), Andrew Long (2008), Kaleb Evans (2007) 51; 28. (tie) Adam Baker, Jake Marlin (2010), Boone Hayes (2004), Andrew Hayes (2000) 45.
Falls — 13. (tie) Chase Shiltz, Keaton Hulett (2012), Collin Bevins (2011), Jake Marlin (2011), Jake Marlin (2010), Boone Hayes (2002) 31.
Team points — 7. Trevor Frain 354; 9. Chase Shiltz 349; 22. Adam Baker 261.