116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State teamed up to sweep Oklahoma schools. Luther Coach Dave Mitchell reaches 300-victory plateau. Conference tournaments dominated the high school slate in the Wrestling Weekend That Was.
UNI, IOWA STATE SWEEPIN’ DOWN THE PLAIN
University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State were not gracious guests on a road trip, visiting Big 12 foes Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. The Panthers and Cyclones completed the sweep, combining for a 4-0 record.
UNI (5-5 overall, 3-2 Big 12) grabbed college wrestling fans’ attention, upsetting third-ranked Oklahoma State, 19-15, at famed Gallagher-Iba Arena, and handing the Cowboys their first loss of the season. The victory marked the first time UNI has won at Oklahoma State, in a series that dates back to 1962.
The Panthers did it in comeback fashion, trailing 12-0 after four matches. They answered with four straight wins of their own for a 16-12 lead with two left. The wins came against opponents that were considered heavy favorites.
Derek Holschlag (157) started the run with a 3-2 decision over No. 12 Wyatt Sheets. Austin Yant followed with his fifth straight dual win of the season, beating fourth-ranked Travis Wittlake, 2-0, at 165. The biggest blow was delivered by UNI 174-pounder Lance Runyon. In just his second match of the season, Runyon pinned No. 4 Dustin Plott in 4:59, tying the team score at 12-12 with three bouts left.
All-American Parker Keckeisen gave UNI its first lead at 16-12 with a major decision at 184.
The dual came down to heavyweight with UNI clinging to a one-point advantage. Waterloo native and former Waterloo East prep Terrell Gordon secured the Panthers’ victory. Gordon earned riding time and added a third-period escape for a 2-0 decision.
“Anytime you do something that hasn’t been done in the history of the program, it’s a very big deal,” UNI Coach Doug Schwab said. “They don’t lose there a whole lot. They have quite a record there.”
UNI capped the weekend with a 17-15 win over No. 21 Oklahoma – the Panthers’ third win over a ranked team this season.
“Our team had been talking about doing somethings that haven’t been done, or haven’t been done in a long time, that’s how you do it, but you have to follow it up the next day.
“We found a way to win (at Oklahoma), but we didn’t win some of those close matches. We had some guys do a good job of getting bonus points.”
UNI has won straight duals with Air Force and West Virginia coming to Cedar Falls this weekend.
“I’m proud of our team and how they competed,” Schwab said. “There’s still a lot in them.”
The weekend went from bad to worse when the No. 7 Cyclones came to town. Iowa State also delayed the Cowboys’ bid for their 500th all-time dual victory at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Iowa State (11-1, 4-0) won six matches, receiving major decisions from NCAA champion and top-ranked 157-pounder David Carr and Yonger Bastida at 197. Cyclones Kysen Terukina (125) and 184-Marcus Coleman added notable wins. Terukina, ranked 19th, upset No. 6 Trevor Mastrogiovanni, 2-1, earning a point for a 1:43 riding-time advantage.
Iowa State also thumped Oklahoma, 22-9.
MITCHELL CLAIMS 300TH WIN
Luther Coach Dave Mitchell reached a special milestone Friday night in Decorah. In his 26th season leading the Norse, Mitchell earned his 300th career dual victory in the program with an 18-13 win over University of Dubuque.
Luther improved to 8-4 overall and 3-3 in the American Rivers Conference. Mitchell joins former Wartburg Coach Jim Miller (413-37-2) and former Buena Vista Coach Al Baxter as the only A-R-C - formerly known as the Iowa Conference - to reach the win plateau. Miller finished with a 413-37-2 mark, while Baxter was 376-119-5.
Mitchell thanked the “hundreds” of Luther wrestlers that played a part in each of those victories and praised former teammate and longtime friend and teammate Jeff O’Gara, who has been on staff since Day 1.
"Those wins are theirs and the Luther wresting family is strong and growing,” Mitchell said. “It is rare and special to have the same assistant coach for the past 26 years. He is a great friend, fierce competitor, and high level coach and we complement each other for the betterment of our guys. This accomplishment is his more than it is mine.”
Mitchell’s son, Isaiah, started the dual at 184 pounds. The senior posted a 5-1 decision over Kurtis Modlin, making it 15-8 with two matches left. Seventh-ranked Donovan Corn sealed the win with a decision at 197.
Mitchell’s son, Elijah, is a sophomore on the team. The success has been a family affair.
“I would like to also thank my family for their amazing support and love throughout the years,” Dave said. “It is special to have my two sons on this year's team, and to have two daughters, who are Luther grads
“And finally, thank you to Luther College and the great colleagues, friends and alumni who have been a part of this program for the past 71 years. Luther is a special place filled with special people.”
UTTERBACK TO BACK
Sigourney-Keota’s Reenah Utterback won the 110-pound title at the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association girls’ state tournament Jan. 22. Her encore performance was winning the 106 championship of the South Iowa Cedar League tournament Saturday at BGM in Brooklyn.
Utterback, a freshman, posted two first-period wins and improved to 31-2 this season. She was one of five champions and eight finalists for Sigourney-Keota, which won the team race.
Four Mississippi Valley Conference wrestlers repeated as champions at the MVC Super Meet on Saturday at Cedar Rapids Jefferson.
Hunter Garvin, who was named Outstanding Wrestler for his title at 152, became the 17th wrestler to win three MVC crowns since the conference began the competition in 1993. Garvin won titles at 132 in 2020 and 120 in 2019.
Iowa City West’s Grant O’Dell, Cedar Rapids’ Xavier’s Christian Stanek and Iowa City High’s Ben Kueter became the MVC’s 57th, 58th and 59th two-time champions
O’Dell, who won the 138-title, won at 106 as a freshman in 2019.
Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Christian Stanek won his second championship. He won at 138 two seasons ago. The Iowa State commit won the 160 title. Stanek is just the second Saint to achieve the feat, joining Josh Gerke, who won in 2015-16.
Kueter captured the 220-pound title. He won his second and will attempt to match Garvin as a three-timer next season. Kueter won at 160 as a freshman in 2020.
The 2021 MVC Super Meet was canceled.
5 AND COUNTING
West Delaware and Lisbon have been one of the top teams in the state for many years. Each have hoisted championship trophies at state duals and individual competitions.
They also have held a stranglehold on their respective conferences, capturing five straight conference tournament titles.
West Delaware extended its streak in the Wamac, scoring 278 points and beating runner-up Independence by 31.5. The Hawks crowned five champions with seven total finalists.
Lisbon also had five champions at the Tri-Rivers tournament. The Lions scored 216.5 points, topping Alburnett by 21.5.
Lisbon eighth-ranked heavyweight Wyatt Smith highlighted the final round, building a 4-1 lead before pinning East Buchanan’s Class 1A No. 2 Cody Fox.
PAYS TO BE ON TOP
In nine conference tournaments on Saturday, 107 of 126 top-seeded wrestlers won their brackets. Do the math and it comes out to about 85-percent of the No. 1 wrestlers held their seeds.
In the Mississippi Valley Conference and Southeast Iowa Super Conference, 13 of 14 top seeds won. Twelve won titles in the Tri-Rivers, Wamac, NEIC and River Valley. None were less than 11.
The lowest seed to win a conference title was Anamosa heavyweight Cole Sigler. He was the fourth seed, beating the top seed in the semifinals and defeating West Liberty’s No. 3 seed Quyntin Rocha, 3-2, in the ultimate tiebreaker.