Small College Sports

Coe hopes for strong second half of wrestling season

College wrestling notes: Coe out to 3-1 start; UNI hosts Cornell University; Cassioppi earns honor

Coe College’s Jake Voss (from left) scores back points on Cornell College’s John Marsh during the 174-pound bout of their college wrestling dual at the Small Multi-Sport Center in Mount Vernon on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. Voss won with a technical fall 16-1 in 2:56. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Coe College’s Jake Voss (from left) scores back points on Cornell College’s John Marsh during the 174-pound bout of their college wrestling dual at the Small Multi-Sport Center in Mount Vernon on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. Voss won with a technical fall 16-1 in 2:56. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Coe Coach John Oostendorp recognizes potential for the near future.

The past month was good as well.

Despite illness and injury, Coe has beaten two ranked teams and is unbeaten in American Rivers Conference duals. The Kohawks are ranked 11th nationally and will head to Las Vegas for the Desert Duals on Monday.

“I feel really good with this team and where we can go second semester,” Oostendorp said. “We’ll put out a very competitive lineup.”

After a long weekend preparing for first-term final exams, the Kohawks trained together Monday. They demonstrated the attitude that powers this team, resembling some of Oostendorp’s top teams. It is one of the reasons he has high expectations after the break.

“They came in and had a great workout,” Oostendorp said. “They are getting a lot out of their workouts. They have the right frame of mind. That’s what I’ve seen from my better teams here.”

Two Kohawks remained in the latest national rankings. Brock Henderson, a former North Linn prep, is fourth at 133 pounds. All-American Jake Voss, formerly of West Delaware, sits fifth at 174.

Coe has received a strong contribution from a pair of former Metro preps. Former Cedar Rapids Xavier prep Josh Gerke (149) owns a 10-2 mark and is second on the team with seven pins. Former Cedar Rapids Prairie wrestler Taylor Mehmen is 6-2 at 197, recording three pins and two technical falls.

“They are wrestling as well as anybody on our team,” Oostendorp said of Gerke and Mehmen. “I’d like to keep the top Metro kids close to represent their city and school.”

Kaleb Reeves, a freshman from Sigourney-Keota, has received some time in the lineup at heavyweight, going 10-1 with nine pins.

Coe is 3-1 overall with two victories over A-R-C foes. It has wins over 14th-ranked Central and No. 16 UW-Whitewater. It fell to No. 10 UW-La Crosse with two sick wrestlers and a missing starter. The Kohawks are hoping to be healthy and at full strength after the break.

They will face regional foe North Central (Ill.) and Division-II Colorado State-Pueblo as part of three meets in Las Vegas.

“I feel we’ll have some good duals out there,” Oostendorp said. “There are some big matches for regional seeds.”

UNI hosts Big Red

Northern Iowa will host eighth-ranked Cornell University on Sunday at the West Gym in Cedar Falls, starting at 2 p.m. The Panthers are 1-1 overall, while Cornell is 2-0.

The teams combined for 12 ranked wrestlers, including seven for UNI. The dual could have two top-10 matchups. At 141, UNI Open champ and 12th-ranked Josh Alber is expected to wrestle Cornell NCAA titlist and top-ranked Yianni Diakomihalis. UNI All-American and sixth-ranked Drew Foster could face No. 10 Max Dean at 184.

The Big Red own a 5-0 record in the series that started in 1997 and includes a 30-10 victory last year in Ithaca, N.Y.

“I looked at 30-10 (and) that’s the first thing I saw when I looked at this page,” UNI Coach Doug Schwab said, referencing a piece of paper during his weekly news conference. “I think there was something in the paper last year about the bears mauling the Panthers, and they did, but we’d certainly like to return that favor.”

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Cassioppi wins national honors

Iowa freshman heavyweight Tony Cassioppi was named Athlete of the Week by USA Wrestling.

Cassioppi posted three first-period falls, winning the UNI Open on Saturday. He earned his third tournament title and improved to 11-0 with 10 pins.

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

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