SPORTS

Another strong field highlights Battle of Waterloo

Prep wrestling notes: West Delaware, C.R. Prairie, Linn-Mar, Lisbon at BOW; North Cedar wins title; Liberty hosts first home dual

Jacob Wempen of Linn-Mar and Will Ahnen of Fennimore, Wisconsin wrestle at the Independence Invitational wrestling tournament at Independence High School on Saturday, December 1, 2018. Wempen won the bout with a tech fall.

KC McGinnis / The Gazette
Jacob Wempen of Linn-Mar and Will Ahnen of Fennimore, Wisconsin wrestle at the Independence Invitational wrestling tournament at Independence High School on Saturday, December 1, 2018. Wempen won the bout with a tech fall. KC McGinnis / The Gazette

West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss has entered the Hawks in the Battle of Waterloo every season since its inception in 2010.

The 32-team dual tournament made an immediate impression, bringing together some of the top teams in all classes for two full days of competition. So much that it had a lengthy waiting list of teams that wanted to join the field.

According to Voss, the event has become tougher each year.

“The way the tournament has evolved the last couple years is there are a lot of good teams there and the top three teams in each bracket could advance,” Voss said. “Where teams are seeded aren’t telling of where they will place.”

The Hawks are one of four top seeds for the 2018 Battle of Waterloo at Young Arena, beginning Friday at 9 a.m. Teams from most parts of the state will compete in one of four brackets the first day and then be paired into a round-robin pool of like finishes Saturday.

Eight Gazette-area teams are in the field, including Class 1A power Lisbon, 3A Metro teams Linn-Mar and Cedar Rapids Prairie, Iowa City High, Western Dubuque and 2A Independence and Union. Like West Delaware, Linn-Mar has been in the event each year.

“We’ve got some really good teams in and nice to see a few different teams come in,” Linn-Mar Coach Doug Streicher said. “We enjoy it. It is fairly local for us. You get to see a bunch of teams you don’t normally get to see.”

West Delaware joins Denver, Don Bosco and Waverly-Shell Rock as top seeds. Lisbon is seeded second in Bracket B with the Go-Hawks. The Hawks have two conference duals Thursday and will have eight duals in three days.

“It’s another good measuring stick for us of how we look as a dual team,” Voss said. “It will be a matter of managing them.”

West Delaware opens with Wapsie Valley, while Linn-Mar takes on Lake Mills. The winners will face off in the bracket C semifinal. Linn-Mar is 3-0, beating Prairie, Waterloo West and Iowa City Liberty.

The Lions have a good camaraderie and feed off one another.

“The thing that really sticks out for this team is it’s a good energy team,” Streicher said. “With the three dual meets we’ve had, the kids are up on mat side cheering on their teammates.

“It’s just a different chemistry and it seems to be pretty good, right now. We have some kids that still have a lot of work to do, putting some kids in the starting lineup that don’t have a whole lot of varsity experience.”

Prairie opens with Cedar Falls in the A bracket. The Hawks (2-1) are trying to work through logjams in the lineup as some wrestlers’ descent plans overlap. As wrestlers approach their certified weights, the Hawks’ lineup should solidify.

“We feel like we’re going to get better each week,” Prairie Coach Kane Thompson said. “We really feel like our lineup will be improved after the first of the year. We keep preaching that we need to still get better right now with the current group in there wrestling.”

NORTH CEDAR WINS AT HOME

North Cedar captured the team title at its own North Cedar Invitational on Saturday. The Knights tallied 144 points, topping runner-up North Linn by 19.

Ashlynn Miller (120) and heavyweight Chase Gallagher won individual titles, leading 11 Knights medalists. According to team and school leaders, it is the first tournament team title for the program since winning a 2006 sectional crown.

LIBERTY CROWNS FOUR

Iowa City Liberty crowned four champions and had five finalists Saturday, placing second at Maquoketa’s Zimmerman Invitational.

Sam Willette (113), Mike Luyeye (132), Jarrod Alger at 138 and 152-pounder Kaleb Williams at 152 each won titles. Ashton Barker was a finalist 170. Williams pinned his way to the finals and improved to 7-0 overall.

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More importantly for Liberty, the Lightning (0-2) will host Dubuque Hempstead (1-1) for the program’s first home dual Thursday.

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

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