Prep Wrestling

Iowa high school wrestling 2018-19: Area wrestlers and teams to watch

Lisbon junior Cael Happel looks for third state title; Kennedy, Prairie, City High among logjam atop MVC

Cedar Rapids Prairie's Conrad Braswell tries to pin Cedar Rapids Xavier's Keegan Schultschik in the 120 pound championship match of the 2018 Mississippi Valley Conference Varsity Wrestling Tournament at Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, January 27, 2018. Braswell won by major decision 12 to 2. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Prairie's Conrad Braswell tries to pin Cedar Rapids Xavier's Keegan Schultschik in the 120 pound championship match of the 2018 Mississippi Valley Conference Varsity Wrestling Tournament at Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, January 27, 2018. Braswell won by major decision 12 to 2. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
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A look at Gazette area wrestlers and teams to watch in the 2018-19 season.

Wrestlers

Conrad Braswell, Cedar Rapids Prairie, sr., Three-time state medalist, placing eighth last season with 43-9 record, first-team all-MVC Valley Division and conference champion.

Will Esmoil, West Liberty, jr., Two-time state qualifier, placing third as a freshman and top-ranked for part of last season, two-time River Valley Conference champion.

Caleb Fuessley, Center Point-Urbana, sr., Two-time state medalist, placing sixth with 44-7 mark in 2018, three-time Wamac Conference champion.

Zeb Gnida, Solon, jr., Placed fourth at 2018 state tournament, posting 46-12 record, Wamac Conference finalist.

Cael Happel, Lisbon, jr., Two-time state champion, winning 1A 120-pound title last year with 56-2 mark, owns 111-5 career mark.

Brady Henderson, North Linn, sr., Two-time state qualifier and 2018 1A state runner-up at 132 pounds, going 33-5, two-time Tri-Rivers runner-up.

Chase Luensman, Monticello, sr., Three-time state qualifier and two-time medalist, finishing fourth in 2018 with 49-5 record, 2016 River Valley Conference champion and two-time finalist.

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Mitch Mangold, West Delaware, sr., Two-time state medalist, finishing fifth last season and going 38-7, Wamac Conference runner-up.

Paul Ryan, Mount Vernon, sr., Two-time state medalist, placing fourth in 2018 with a 39-9 record, 2017 Wamac finalist.

Cobe Siebrecht, Lisbon sr., Two-time 1A state runner-up and two-time Tri-Rivers Conference champion, Posted 53-3 record last season, improving career mark to 139-28.

Garet Sims, Iowa Valley, sr., 2018 state runner-up, two-time state medalist and three-time state qualifier, finished 55-2 last season, two-time SICL champion and three-time conference finalist.

Jack Thomsen, Union Community, jr., Two-time state medalist, placing third with 47-3 mark last season, NICL champion.

Jacob Wempen, Linn-Mar, sr., Placed fifth at 2018 3A state meet, finishing with a 42-4 record, first-team all-MVC Mississippi Division, MVC runner-up.

Jaymus Wilson, Alburnett, sr., 2018 1A state finalist and three-time state medalist, Two-time Tri-Rivers Conference champion and three-time conference finalist, compiled 41-5 record last season.

Ethan Wood-Finley, Iowa City High, jr., Finished fifth at 3A state meet last season, posting 42-7 record, first-team all-MVC Valley Division, conference champion.

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Teams

Cedar Rapids Kennedy: The Cougars return four wrestlers with state experience, including heavyweight Josh Vis, who placed seventh last season. Kennedy has four wrestlers back with at least 30 wins from last season and eight that reached the 20-win mark. Even though they don’t have one big point scorer, the Cougars are balanced and solid, especially from 182 through 285.

Cedar Rapids Prairie: The Hawks also return four wrestlers with state experience, including medalists Austin Kegley, Conrad Braswell and Ashton Stoner-DeGroot. State qualifier Nick Hatcher, Johnny Washburn and Justis Kruse are back and each won at least 27 matches. Prairie has eight returning letterwinners and always seems to have someone make a huge leap between seasons. Hawks have experience and talent ready to step in.

Iowa City High: The Little Hawks were a great story last season. They captured the Mississippi Valley Conference team title and reached the regional duals, taking another big step in Coach Cory Connell’s resurrection of the program. City High returns four state qualifiers, including Kyle Hefley, Brandon Lalla and heavyweight Jacob Murry. Eight more have varsity experience led by state medalist Ethan Wood-Finley.

Lisbon: The Lions have regained their place as kings of the wrestling jungle. They have won two straight Class 1A traditional tournament titles with a runner-up finish in 2016 and have made four straight State Duals appearances. The Lions have some elite individuals in two-time state champion Cael Happel and two-time state finalist Cobe Siebrecht. Lisbon has some good young talent but not the depth in recent seasons. They will need to develop a few and stay healthy.

Monticello: Monticello has been a team on the rise. The Panthers have some strong individuals back in state medalists Kain Luensman, Chase Luensman and Lake Stahlberg. Kain and Chase each had 49 victories last season. Monticello returns half of its lineup from an 18-5 dual record. They have the experience and leadership. It could be a team that progresses along with the season.

West Delaware: West Delaware is a sneaky good team that may have underperformed at the state tournament for whatever reason. The Hawks return four state qualifiers and three more district qualifiers on a team that won the Wamac tournament title. West Delaware has a lot of experience and another strong freshman class that provides depth and competition in the room.

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

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