COUNCIL BLUFFS — Doug Kjeldgaard knew Council Bluffs Lewis Central would celebrate its wrestling past. He figured his current team would get some extra appreciation on a big stage.
But after an impressive 45-21 dual win over Omaha Creighton Prep at home Thursday night, the Lewis Central coach and his young Titans are getting excited about their future, too.
L.C. won nine straight weights at one point to bag perhaps its best victory of the season. Grand View and Maryville — two rising college wrestling programs with ties to the high school — capped the unique prep/college doubleheader as Grand View prevailed 33-0.
“For our guys, they were happy to get a little more recognition for being part of a special night,” Kjeldgaard said. “Our guys stepped up and scored points where we needed to score points. I expected it to be a very close dual, but our guys just stepped up to a new level tonight and wrestled very well.”
Lewis Central spotted its opponent an open weight at 285 before taking the next nine matches. Five of those came by way of gritty decisions from underclassmen in the middle of the lineup.
After a 7-2 win by freshman Austin Cline (120) and a Prep forfeit at 126, freshman Mac Southard (132) went into an extra period to bump Prep junior Matt Falewitch 11-9. LC junior Nate Storey (138) followed with a 9-6 decision in a match tied until the final 30 seconds.
“The hype followed all the way through,” Storey said. “Guys were psyched, and it helped out a lot.”
Sophomore Cory Lear (145) then rallied for a 10-8 victory, Iowa Class 3-A No. 3 Ethan Ruby (152) added a 54-second pin and sophomore Colton Lear (160) polished off a 5-2 decision.
After defending Nebraska state champ Jake Anderson’s tech fall brought the Junior Jays within 39-11, L.C. junior Chris Thomas pinned his man for his team’s 10th win of the dual.
“We’re not doing anything different,” Kjeldgaard said. “Just maybe a little better.”
On the heels of a dramatic sweep of the Council Bluffs Duals on Tuesday, the young Titans are certainly enjoying the week. Storey said everyone is starting to find their wrestling identities in the last month. A focus on conditioning in practice is starting to pay off late in matches.
“It feels like we’re on a roll,” Storey said. “Just follow the momentum. It’s all momentum, and it’s keeping us going.”
The college nightcap was full of Titan connections as two-time defending NAIA champs and top-rated Grand View (Iowa) swept the matchup. Derek Nightser, who took third at the national tournament for the Vikings last year, is now an L.C. assistant coach. College freshman Zach Renshaw, a state-runner up for the Council Bluffs school last year, is redshirting for the program and was in attendance at his one-time stomping grounds.
Maryville (Mo.), rated No. 19 in NCAA Division II, countered with 2012 Lewis Central grad and former state champion Zeb Wahle. The 174-pounder lost 4-1 to NAIA No. 2 Jimmie Schuessler.
“It’s fun to be here and see everybody and have everybody come support you,” Wahle said. “It’s obviously better to win, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. It’s fun to show my team where I came from.”
The dual was also a homecoming for Maryville volunteer assistant coach George Ivanov, who graduated from L.C. in 2008. He and Wahle visited their old wrestling room and stood where Ivanov experienced his first wrestle-off.
The event was spearheaded by Maryville head coach Mike Denney, the longtime head man at the University of Nebraska at Omaha before it scrapped its wrestling program. Now he tries to return to the area every year to allow former supporters to see his teams.
Maryville, in its third year supporting wrestling, battled plenty of inexperience Thursday. It didn’t help that Grand View rolled out a nationally ranked wrestler at every weight.
“I probably was a little rambunctious with our scheduling,” Denney said. “Tonight we had one senior in our lineup and a whole bunch of freshmen. We’re trying to rebuild and bounce back. We got cheap-shoted (at UNO) and we’re trying to show some resilience.”
Grand View coach Nick Mitchell had plenty of fun as his squad improved to 15-1 in duals. His program, in its sixth year, had been through its own growing pains before taking off.
“I know what those guys are going through right now,” Mitchell said of Maryville. “The team score tonight did not show how good those guys are. The third year for us was a lot like that.”
Lewis Central 45, Creighton Prep 21: 106 pounds: Daytona Smith, LC, pinned Barrett Preister, 5:00. 113: Paxton Whiteaker, LC, pinned Taran Theel, :43. 120: Austin Cline, LC, dec. Riley Pelster, 7-2. 126: Jordan Bailey, LC, won by forfeit. 132: Mac Southard, LC, dec. Matt Falewitch, 11-9. 138: Nate Storey, LC, dec. James Smith, 9-6. 145: Cory Lear, LC, dec. Derrick Hobbs, 10-8. 152: Ethan Ruby, LC, pinned Josh Anderson, :55. 160: Colton Lear, LC, dec. Nick Janecek, 5-2. 170: Jake Anderson, CP, tech. fall Hayden Waldstein, 19-3. 182: Chris Thomas, LC, pinned Cade Brownlee, 1:07. 195: Davis Becker, CP, major dec. Wyatt Steingraber, 16-5. 220: John Ursick, CP, pinned Jake Mutum, 1:20. 285: Nick Pray, CP, won by forfeit.
Grand View 33, Maryville 0: 125 pounds: Ryak Finch, GV, major dec. Brandon Oshiro, 14-4. 133: Brandon Benvenuti, GV, dec. Keygan Foster, 8-4. 141: Brandon Wright, GV, dec. Darick Lapaglia, 6-1. 149: Gustavo Martinez, GV, dec. Joseph Moorhouse, 6-3. 157: Dallas Houchins, GV, major dec. Christian Loges, 9-1. 165: Chad Lowman, GV, major dec. Dimitri Willis, 10-1. 174: Jimmie Schuessler, GV, dec. Zeb Wahle, 4-1. 184: Christian Mays, GV, dec. Nick Burghardt, 3-1 (SV). 197: AJ Mott, GV, dec. Morgan Denson, 3-1. 285: Eric Thompson, GV, dec. Donnell Walker, 3-2.