Wrestling Weekend That Was: 2 years after stroke, Upper Iowa's Maleek Williams still going strong

Observations in wrestling for Dec. 15-17

Upper Iowa redshirt freshman Maleek Williams in the wrestling room at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa, on Monday, March 7, 2016. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Upper Iowa redshirt freshman Maleek Williams in the wrestling room at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa, on Monday, March 7, 2016. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Competition starts to slow down as the holidays approach. Wrestlers will get a small break to heal up, unless they were making the trip with Wartburg, Coe and Grand View to the Desert Duals in Las Vegas. Bet it is a fun trip. Here are some early gifts from last weekend.

Williams still going strong

Upper Iowa’s Maleek Williams added to his list of accomplishments. The Peacocks’ 125-pound junior placed second at University of Indianapolis’ 39th Annual Midwest Classic last weekend, earning Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Wrestler of the Week honors Monday. Williams is ranked sixth nationally in NCAA Division II by the National Wrestling Coaches Association, so the feat is not a surprise.

The astounding part is that Williams is just two years removed from suffering a stroke and open-heart surgery to repair a hole in his heart. Williams made liars out of medical personnel that said he likely wouldn’t be able to wrestle again after the procedure. In fact, just a couple months later, Williams took the mat near the end of his redshirt freshman season and reached the NCAA tournament.

The two-time national qualifier posted a 4-1 mark, leading Upper Iowa to a 12th-place finish in the 35-team field. Williams opened with two major decisions and reached the finals with two straight decisions. He dropped a 7-5 decision to No. 9-ranked Carlos Jacquez, Lindenwood (Mo.) in the title bout.

Williams, from Miami, Fla., is 12-3 this season with seven bonus-point victories, including five pins. He is 6-1 since dropping down to 125. His success continues to be a feel-good story.

Iowa preps in Reno

Former Iowa City West state champ Jack Hathaway placed sixth at 141 for Oregon State at the Reno Tournament of Champions, winning four straight consolation matches. Hathaway was a four-time state medalist for the Trojans, recording 200 career wins and 137 pins.

The Oregon State senior is 6-5 this season, but has 67 career victories at 141 and 133 with 20 more wins as a redshirt.

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Hathaway is a two-time NCAA qualifier for the Beavers. He did not wrestle in the placing match, finishing one spot back of former Southeast Polk state champion Zach Barnes, who is redshirting in his first year at Campbell University.

Beast mode

Iowa State recruit David Carr won the renowned “Beast of the East” wrestling tournament at Newark, Del. Carr, the nation’s top-ranked 152-pounder, is the son of former Cyclone three-time NCAA champion, Nate Carr (1981-83).

The three-time state champion at Massillon Perry (Ohio) High School, posted a 6-3 decision over Sammy Sasso, of Nazareth, Pa., in the finals. Sasso is top-ranked nationally at 145 and bumped up for the tournament.

The title was the second significant title in the last two weeks for Carr, who recently won the Walsh Jesuit Ironman tournament championship.

BOW Don

The eighth Battle of Waterloo (BOW) was held Friday and Saturday at Young Arena. One of the smallest schools in the field produced the biggest performance.

Class 1A power Don Bosco claimed the team title, going 6-0 and beating bigger programs like Waverly-Shell Rock, top-ranked 2A power New Hampton on day one and North Scott and West Des Moines Valley and 1A rival Lisbon on second day.

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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