116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS – Young, tough and talented.
First-year Cedar Rapids Prairie head coach Derick Ball has inherited a group of driven wrestlers that have embraced every challenge thrown at them.
“These kids like to get in and scrap,” Ball said. “They’re a fun team. I love going to practice every day. I’m really excited to move forward.
“They’re young and want to get better. I’ve been able to push them harder than any team I’ve ever had. There is just something about them.”
The Hawks displayed their hard-nosed and energetic demeanor, recording four pins and winning 10 bouts in a 43-24 victory over Cedar Falls in a Mississippi Valley Conference high school wrestling dual Thursday night at Prairie. The Hawks improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference.
“I guess the two things we focus on early on are just the fight and team cohesiveness,” Ball said. “The guys rally around each other.
“We’re going to pick up technique. We were definitely sloppy tonight. There’s stuff we will clean up. Technique-wise we will be at our best in February and that’s when it matters (most).”
Prairie bolted to a 21-0 lead, winning the first four matches. Tyler Lee (126) and Wyatt Vlasek (132) opened the dual with consecutive pins. Casey Kelley used three takedowns for an 8-3 decision over Henry Koehn at 138. Logan Redig followed with another pin at 145, working a bar-arm patiently in the third period, getting the turn and ending the match with Kaleb Larson in 5:55.
“We have some sophomores who are tougher than nails,” said Ball, noting that he hoped the dual started at 126 which is in the heart of Prairie’s order. “I wanted to throw those guys out there, because they get fired up and get each other fired up. That’s where I wanted to start and I think that was a huge part of the outcome of the dual.”
The unity was a big part of the early run, according to Ball. The Hawks feed off one another.
“The guys love each other,” Ball said. “They fight for each other. It’s fun.”
The Hawks claimed four of the final five weights to secure the victory. Muhanned Al-Suleiman started the stretch with a 10-1 major decisions over Drew R. Campbell at 220. Heavyweight Carter Dawley followed with a decision.
State finalist Blake Gioimo iced the dual with a pin at 113. He built an 11-0 advantage, including a takedown and seven nearfall in the first period, before decking Carter Fadiga in 3:56. Alex Bumba (120), Nick Smith (160) and Tate Joens at 182 won by decision.
Prairie’s grit and conditioning made a difference. The Hawks took control in the second half of matches. They outscored Cedar Falls, 27-15, in the third period and 46-29 in the last two periods combined.
“That’s stuff that coaches are stressing every day in the practice room,” Ball said. “We train to win matches in the third period. We train to wrestle hard. Tough wrestling is fun wrestling. If you don’t like a tough fight you shouldn’t be in wrestling.”
Cedar Falls (4-1, 1-1) posted pins in all four of its wins. State finalist Dylan Whitt won by fall at 152 to put the Tigers on the board. Kyle Campbell (170), 195-pounder Drew M. Campbell and Evan Simpson at 106 also had pins.
AT C.R. PRAIRIE
C.R. Prairie 43, Cedar Falls 24
(Individual takedowns in parentheses)
126 pounds – Tyler Lee (CRP) pinned Brayden Wiles, :51 (1,0); 132 – Wyatt Vlasek (CRP) pinned Carson Cross, 1:14 (1,0); 138 – Casey Kelley (CRP) dec. Henry Koehn, 8-3 (3,1); 145 – Logan Redig (CRP) pinned Kaleb Larson, 5:55 (1,1); 152 – Dylan Whitt (CF) pinned Rigley Koch, 5:44 (5,0); 160 – Nick Smith (CRP) dec. Aden Hanson, 8-3 (3,0); 170 – Kyle Campbell (CF) pinned Cole Smith, 2:55 (2,0); 182 – Tate Joens (CRP) dec. Ethan Beneke, 8-6 (3,1); 195 – Drew M. Campbell (CF) pinned Henry Hynek, 1:15 (1,0); 220 – Muhanned Al-Suleiman (CRP) major dec. Drew R. Campbell, 10-1 (3,0); Hwt. – Carter Dawley (CRP) dec. Will Doyle, 9-3 (1,0); 106 – Evan Simpson (CF) pinned Riley Berk, 1:20 (1,0); 113 – Blake Gioimo (CRP) pinned Carter Fadiga, 3:56 (2,0); 120 – Alex Bumba (CRP) dec. Kane Shimp, 6-5 (3,0).
Takedown – Cedar Falls 12, C.R. Prairie 21. Reversals – Cedar Falls 1, C.R. Prairie 0. Escapes – Cedar Falls 12, C.R. Prairie 9. Nearfall points – Cedar Falls 8, C.R. Prairie 15. Penalty points (awarded) – Cedar Falls 4, C.R. Prairie 5. Total match points – Cedar Falls 50, C.R. Prairie 71.