Prep Wrestling

Iowa City High quickly turns attention to individual tournament after 8th-place State Duals finish

Little Hawks get younger wrestlers state experience

DES MOINES — Iowa City High went into the Wednesday’s State Duals tournament at Wells Fargo Arena as the No. 6 seed.

The Little Hawks finished in eighth place. In its first dual, City High lost to Wuakee 41-27. In its second dual, it lost a barn-burner to North Scott 39-36. The Little Hawks needed a pin at 152, the final weight of the dual, to tie the score. City High’s Kyle Hefley got an 8-7 decision.

After the first two dual losses, City High (25-5) Coach Cory Connell decided to give some other guys an opportunity to wrestle in a state tournament setting, looking toward the future.

“I think that we need to keep getting better,” Connell said. “It was a great experience for a lot of people that wrestled here today that otherwise wouldn’t have gotten the experience. Hopefully we can come back next year and build off that experience and get better from it.”

After the first two duals, Connell elected to sub some guys out, like Hefley and Jacob Dykes (195), for the seventh-place dual against Debuque Hemptstead. Hefley was 38-1 coming into the dual tournament and Dykes was 37-1. They both went 2-0 on Wednesday.

Connell elected to rest them to get ready for the individual tournament on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

“I think the State Duals is a great thing,” Connell said. “I love State Duals, I love individual state — I just don’t like where State Duals is at. I wish they would have it separate from the individual state tournament so coaches don’t have to make a decision of ‘should I wrestle my qualifiers or not wrestle my qualifiers?’ You’d be wrestling them because we want to win.

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“But we have to make a choice between individual state and this. It’s a decision I don’t think we should have to make.”

Connell would like them to be on separate weekends.

He made the decision to wrestle his starters on a match-by-match and wrestler-by-wrestler basis.

“They wanted to wrestle the first couple of rounds,” Connell said. “In the third round, I didn’t want them to. It was time to pull the plug. We were going for seventh or eighth. What’s the difference between seventh and eighth? Let’s just get ready for the rest of the weekend.”

City High had been rebuilding its wrestling program over the last several years. Connell believes it has been rebuilt, but there are still steps to take.

“It was great for our team to get here,” Connell said. “We didn’t want to just get here, we wanted to do better. Things didn’t go our way today, but we have to regroup and get ready for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.”

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