CEDAR RAPIDS — After placing fourth at the state wrestling meet last season, Cedar Rapids Kennedy had a few holes to fill.
It appears the Cougars have armed themselves with a corps of promising freshmen.
Three of Kennedy’s six pins were recorded by wrestlers making their varsity debut as the Cougars thumped Cedar Rapids Jefferson, 49-24, in a Mississippi Valley Conference season-opening dual Thursday night at Kennedy.
“We had a really strong class of freshmen come in this year,” junior Ben Sarasin said. “Pretty much all of our freshmen pulled off a win tonight in decisive fashion. In a year in which we lost a lot of seniors, we had some freshmen come in and fill those spots well.”
Newcomer Josh Vis stepped in at 220 and gave the Cougars the lead for good, 20-15, with a pin in 1:50 over Taylor Viktora. Two more pinning freshmen – Ben Hoeger (106) and Dylan Falck (126) – pushed the Cougars’ advantage to 43-18 after 12 matches.
“They were ready to wrestle,” Kennedy assistant coach Craig Mallicoat said. “The matches we have in our room, they’re getting to the point where we have to break them apart. So they were ready to see somebody else.”
The upperclassmen got things started for the Cougars. Junior Dylan Ironside opened the dual with a 19-3 technical fall at 145. Sarasin – ranked second at 170 by The Predicament – pinned Jefferson’s Jacob Sherzer in 58 seconds. Fourth-ranked senior Garrett Kubovec scored a rugged 7-2 decision over Braxton Bolden at 195 that pulled the Cougars within 15-14 before the freshmen fireworks.
Both Sarasin and Kubovec are returning state placewinners. Kennedy lost three state qualifiers to graduation.
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“I think this year we’re going to have even more kids qualify and we may do even better than we did last year,” Sarasin said.
Junior Cam Shaver and sophomore Eli Benion also won by fall for the Cougars.
Matt Culver (160) and Tavian Rashed (182) accounted for two of Jefferson’s three pins.
Both teams will compete at the Cedar Falls Invitational on Saturday.
AT C.R. KENNEDY
Cedar Rapids Kennedy 49, Cedar Rapids Jefferson 24
145 – Dylan Ironside (CRK) tech. fall Antonio Pagel (CRJ), 19-3; 152 – Coltin Endsley (CRJ) dec. Logan Benion (CRK), 3-2; 160 – Matt Culver (CRJ) pinned Hunter Erickson (CRK), 3:51; 170 – Ben Sarasin (CRK) pinned Jacob Sherzer (CRJ), 0:58; 182 – Tavian Rashed (CRJ) pinned Cade Parker (CRK), 3:10; 195 – Garrett Kubovec (CRK) dec. Braxton Bolden (CRJ); 220 – Josh Vis (CRK) pinned Taylor Viktora (CRJ), 1:50; 285 – David Bonner (CRJ) dec. Sam Pape (CRK), 3-1; 106 – Ben Hoeger (CRK) pinned Jaden Collins (CRJ), 0:39; 113 – Eli Benion (CRK) pinned Dallas Hargrave (CRJ), 0:12; 120 – Cam Shaver (CRK) tech. fall Colton Woods (CRJ), 18-3; 126 – Dylan Falck (CRK) pinned Jacob Coyle (CRJ), 1:11; 132 – Zach Main (CRJ) pinned Cole Curfman (CRK), 1:27; 138 – Noah Cunningham (CRK) pinned Noah Allers (CRJ), 2:35.
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