INDEPENDENCE — West Delaware and Independence share one of the coolest high school traditions in Eastern Iowa.
The Wamac Conference rivals created a traveling trophy for the winner of their annual regular-season dual. The prize had been anchored inside Independence’s trophy case the last four seasons.
The current Hawks were able to hoist the “Battle for the Highway 20” trophy and present it to their crowd for the first time. Class 2A third-ranked West Delaware won 12 of 14 weights and rolled to a 67-7 victory over the Mustangs, snapping a four-dual losing streak in the series and six overall.
West Delaware took a 5-4 edge in the event billed as the Highway 20 Clash.
“It’s amazing,” West Delaware senior Harrison Goebel said. “It’s been one of our goals as seniors to get that trophy back. It took a while. A lot of hard work, but we got there.”
West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss played down the rivalry leading into the dual. He said the only constant in the dual is it never goes how you plan, so the focus is on improvement.
“Honestly, I didn’t talk about this dual all week. It was just a matter of going out and getting better this week,” Voss said. “Hopefully, when we came out in the matches things would take care of itself.”
The Hawks (12-3, 8-0 Wamac) produced a plethora of bonus-point victories. The Hawks earned bonus points in nine wins. They recorded eight pins. The tight-knit Hawks feed off the energy of teammates’ successes.
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“The guys came out aggressive and that’s what we’ve been preaching all year,” Voss said. “Just be aggressive and relentless and they went out and did that. As the matches wore on, that aggressiveness came into play.”
The Hawks took control just three matches in to the meet, receiving consecutive wins from Jordan Bries (182) and Goebel at 195.
Fifth-ranked Goebel followed Bries’ second-period pin with five takedowns and two nearfall en route to a 16-3 major decision over Tayt Friedhof.
“We all try to be aggressive every match,” Goebel said. “It just takes one person to realize to be aggressive out there and let it fly. Everybody will be all right.”
Ben Ridenour, who bumped from 220 to heavyweight, Luke Farmer (106), 113-pounder Evan Woods and Reilly Dolan posted four consecutive falls for a 37-7 lead and all but put the dual out of reach for the Mustangs (17-13, 6-2).
“Going into the dual I though there were some key matches there from 160 to heavyweight,” Voss said. “When we got through that stretch, we won the matches I thought would be tossup type matches.”
Freshman Cael Meyer (145) and returning state medalist Mitchel Mangold closed the dual with falls for West Delaware.
Independence’s Cole Davis notched a 6-2 decision over Jack Neuhaus at 170, tying the dual, 3-3, after two matches. Seventh-ranked Hunter Crawford tallied eight takedowns in a 19-6 major at 220 for the Mustangs.
Both teams return to action Saturday at the Wamac Conference tournament in Maquoketa.
West Delaware 67, Independence 7
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160 pounds — Jared Voss (WD) dec. Seth House, 3-0; 170 — Cole Davis (I) dec. Jack Neuhaus, 6-2; 182 — Jordan Bries (WD) pinned Joe Kaiser, 2:42; 195 — Harrison Goebel (WD) major dec. Tayt Friedhof, 16-3; 220 — Hunter Crawford (I) major dec. Cody Wenger, 19-6; Hwt. — Ben Ridenour (WD) pinned Lucas Dawson, 4:31; 106 — Luke Farmer (WD) pinned Brock Eldridge, 3:39; 113 — Evan Woods (WD) pinned Thomas Matteson, 3:35; 120 — Reilly Dolan (WD) pinned Caleb Straw, 5:27; 126 — Stavely Maury (WD) won by forfeit; 132 — Ryan Phillips (WD) pinned Fischer Crawford, 1:08; 138 — Cole Engel (WD) won by forfeit; 145 — Cael Meyer (WD) pinned Joe Priebe, 4:23; 152 — Mitchel Mangold (WD) pinned Jarrett Orr, 2:41.
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