Prep Wrestling

This West Delaware wrestler never misses a practice, despite being unable to wrestle

State wrestling notes: MV's Paul Ryan moves up; scary moment for Kennedy's Dylan Falck

West Delaware student assistant Dylan Linderwell (center) presents Jordan Bries with the team's pin belt during a Class 2A 182-pound consolation dual in Wednesday's State Duals tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
West Delaware student assistant Dylan Linderwell (center) presents Jordan Bries with the team's pin belt during a Class 2A 182-pound consolation dual in Wednesday's State Duals tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — West Delaware senior Dylan Linderwell had to change his mentality after his freshman season of wrestling.

He was transitioning from a competitor to a student coach. He had just suffered his second concussion — his first in wrestling. He got a third concussion when he was a junior playing football. His competitive career in contact sports was at an end.

“You just have to learn how to be the best teammate you can be,” Linderwell said. “Even though you can’t compete, you have to be there supporting everybody.”

And he was there supporting everybody, every day.

He didn’t miss a single wrestling practice over his four years — not even the optional ones.

It was hard for him to see his friends and teammates competing when he couldn’t anymore. But he embraced his role and tried to help the team and Coach Jeff Voss in any way he could.

He did everything from team DJ in the wrestling room, to keeping time and score if they had live wrestling in practice. He became the ultimate teammate. Voss named him a student coach.

West Delaware is a young team with five freshmen and three sophomores in its starting lineup. This season was supposed to be a rebuilding year.

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On Wednesday, the Hawks finished third at the State Duals tournament. They also qualified six wrestlers for the individual tournament.

“My favorite part about going to practice was seeing everybody get better every single day,” Linderwell said. “You get to watch and see every group get better.”

Voss said a big reason for the team’s improvement over the course of the year was the senior leadership from Linderwell as well as fellow seniors Cole Engle, Tristan Voelker and Harrison Goebel.

“We led by example and taught them, even if you’re struggling, it gets better,” Linderwell said. “You just have to trust the process as you go.”

Because West Delaware was such a young team, Linderwell wanted a way to bring some excitement to the dual meets throughout the season. He had bought a WWE Championship Belt replica a few years ago at a WWE event. He wanted to use it as a pin belt — similar to Ohio State’s pin chain and Miami’s turnover chain. Every time someone got a pin in a dual, they’d get the belt — at least until someone else got a pin.

The belt helped grow team chemistry and it got the fans excited. He personalized the belt by putting a West Delaware football helmet sticker on the center of it.

“We have the best fans in the state, in my opinion, and we wanted to get them excited somehow with a new, young and up-and-coming team,” Linderwell said. “What better way to do that than bring out a pin belt?”

It also motivated the young wrestlers. The first time Linderwell broke out the pin belt, it caught assistant coach Scott Litterer by surprise (Linderwell did run it by Voss before the dual), and Litterer went with it. He said sometimes the seniors know how to motivate the wrestlers better than the coaches do.

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“They went out aggressively and there was no fear in them,” Voss said. “With some of our younger kids, even our older ones, this is the first time they competed at this level — they improved that much. They didn’t have any fear of losing and I think that was a big key to their improvement this year.”

Linderwell may not be able to compete anymore, but his impact on the West Delaware wrestling team still is being felt.

Moving up

Mount Vernon’s Paul Ryan ended the regular season ranked fifth at 160 pounds. He weighed the allowable 162, which includes a two-pound allowance, at the sectional meet.

In a spontaneous move, Ryan actually moved up for the postseason at the request of the Mount Vernon coaching staff that morning.

An illness to the Mustangs’ 170-pounder left a weight open and he hesitantly bumped up a class. The move has worked out well.

Ryan opened the state tournament with a 17-3 major decision over Shenandoah’s Kyle Owens.

“I feel good,” Ryan said. “I had a good week at practice. I had a few people pushing me and I’m ready to go.

“It was a good win. I scored a lot of points.”

Ryan, a junior, weighed in for the first round at 167 1/2 pounds. He’s tried to bulk up in a short period of time but he burns off most of it.

“I’m on full feed,” Ryan said. “I get up there and every practice I lose like five pounds. It’s hard to stay up there.”

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Ryan (37-7) uses his advantage in conditioning and quickness to offset any disadvantage in size.

“I have to keep my pace up and keep moving,” said Ryan, who placed eighth at 145 last year. “Get them out of position. If I keep my pace up, I’ll be able to get them tired.”

Scary moment

Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Dylan Falck was locked up in an upper-body situation. His opponent, Eli Loyd of Pleasant Valley, threw him to the mat.

Falck landed on the mat and the pin was called immediately.

“It was something where he felt something in his neck,” Kennedy Coach Dennis Hynek said. “It was a legal move by the other kid, we just landed really, really hard. I think we’re being extra cautious. Hopefully Dylan’s OK.”

The paramedics were on the scene immediately. Falck was able to grab and squeeze the paramedics’ hands as they attended to him. Falck was eventually put on a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance.

Hynek was grateful for the quick response from the medical staff on hand.

“He’s in great hands, he’s going to the hospital with mom and dad,” Hynek said. “I feel comfortable and great that everybody was right on the spot helping out.

“As soon as we get done with this round, we’re going to head over and hang out with him and hope for the best.”

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