Prep Wrestling

Cedar Rapids Kennedy wrestling closes perfect MVC dual season

Cougars win first MVC dual title since 1986

Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Noah Cunningham (top) scores a takedown on Dubuque Hempstead’s Tyler Murphy during their 145-pound championship bout in Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet at Iowa City West High School in Iowa City on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. Cunningham won with a fall in 6:45. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Noah Cunningham (top) scores a takedown on Dubuque Hempstead’s Tyler Murphy during their 145-pound championship bout in Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet at Iowa City West High School in Iowa City on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. Cunningham won with a fall in 6:45. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Kennedy received some well-deserved recognition.

The Cougars capped Senior Night festivities standing in front of the crowd as their team accomplishments were announced.

Kennedy was unbeaten in Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division competition, won the conference tournament for the first time and even completed junior varsity duals without a loss.

“It’s exciting,” Kennedy Coach Dennis Hynek said after the Cougars closed the regular season with a 61-15 victory over Cedar Rapids Jefferson on Thursday night at home. “It’s a really cool atmosphere. All 46 kids are a part of something special this season.”

Kennedy improved to 10-2 overall and 7-0 in the MVC Valley, securing its first conference dual title since 1986 with a hard-fought win over Linn-Mar last week. The possibility began to take shape as the season progressed and the Cougars kept striving to make it happen.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Kennedy senior 220-pounder Cam Jones said. “We fought for it. It was cool to finish at home.”

The dual and perfect conference record wasn’t in question Thursday. Jefferson surrendered eight forfeits, accounting for 48 points.

Kennedy and Jefferson split six contested matches.

In a match of ranked opponents, Kennedy’s top-ranked Josh Vis scored a second-period escape for a 1-0 decision over No. 9 Dawson Sweet, who was in on a takedown attempt at the edge of the mat as time expired.

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Jake McLeod added a pin at 120 for Kennedy and senior MVC champion Noah Cunningham ended the meet with a 21-7 major decision at 145.

The Cougars head to Waukee for a regional dual semifinal against Iowa City West. The winner takes on the Warriors for a State Duals berth.

“We know we have an opportunity,” Jones said. “We have to wrestle tough.”

The Cougars look to peak for the postseason with the district meet next Saturday.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Hynek said. “The guys are wanting to get to state duals.

“Individually, our kids are starting to wrestle the way they want to wrestle.”

Jefferson (2-4, 1-4) received pins from Dakota Tatro and Colton Woods at 113 and 126 and a decision from 106-pounder Austin Clifton. Jefferson Coach Ryan Phillips said multiple reasons led to the open weights and all but two should be filled for districts.

AT C.R. KENNEDY

C.R. Kennedy 61, C.R. Jefferson 15

(Individual takedowns in parentheses)

182 pounds — Giuseppe Gianforte (CRK) won by forfeit; 195 — Cael Knox (CRK) won by forfeit; 220 — Cam Jones (CRK) won by forfeit; Hwt. — Josh Vis (CRK) dec. Dawson Sweet, 1-0 (0,0); 106 — Austin Clifton (CRJ) dec. Jonah Hallam, 1-0 (0,0; 113 — Dakota Tatro (CRJ) pinned Gunner Sparks, :54 (2,0); 120 — Jake McLeod (CRK) pinned Austin McAllister, 4:37 (3,0); 126 — Colton Woods (CRK) pinned Brenden Groth, 3:03 (1,1); 132 — Ben Hoeger (CRK) won by forfeit; 138 — Dylan Falck (CRK) won by forfeit; 145 — Noah Cunningham (CRK) major dec. Antonio Pagel, 21-7 (2,1); 152 — Divion Ocheltree (CRK) won by forfeit; 160 — Alex Koch (CRK) won by forfeit; 170 — Jay Oostendorp (CRK) won by forfeit.

MEET STATISTICS

Takedowns — C.R. Jefferson 4, C.R. Kennedy 6. Reversals — C.R. Jefferson 3, C.R. Kennedy 2. Escapes — C.R. Jefferson 3, C.R. Kennedy 4. Nearfall points — C.R. Jefferson 0, C.R. Kennedy 12. Penalty points (awarded) — C.R. Jefferson 1, C.R. Kennedy 0. Total match points — C.R. Jefferson 18, C.R. Kennedy 32.

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

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