CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Austin Kegley was a traveling man in the offseason.
He would load into the family van with his dad, Chris, a coach and maybe some teammates, covering more than 1,500 miles that extended as far east as Akron, Ohio, and northwest to Fargo, N.D.
The remake of “Point Break” was go-to viewing and some fun rough-housing helped pass more than 20 hours on the road to wrestle 45 freestyle and Greco-Roman matches last spring and summer.
“We were just having fun,” Kegley said. “We brought a couple movies, listened to music and kind of wrestled around in the back of the van.”
Class 3A fifth-ranked Kegley has seen the benefits of his dedication, improving to 19-1 at 113 pounds this season with a first-period pin in 11th-ranked Prairie’s 63-15 Mississippi Valley Conference victory over Cedar Rapids Xavier on Thursday night at Ron Thillen Gymnasium.
“I feel good about how I’m wrestling right now,” Kegley said. “I have one loss to a tough kid (Fort Dodge’s top-ranked Drake Ayala). I’ll see him this weekend so hopefully I’ll bounce back and get that revenge win.
“I’m just working with my coaches and drilling every day after practice.”
Kegley trained at Prairie and with the Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club regularly throughout the offseason. He competed at the Cadet World Team Trials and the Junior Nationals, earning All-American honors in Greco-Roman and missing the feat by one victory in freestyle.
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“I don’t know how to describe it other than that he did every single opportunity offered and then some,” Prairie Coach Kane Thompson said. “He does awesome.”
“Pretty much everything available this summer he went to. It was pretty cool.”
All the work was to better last year’s finish. Kegley placed eighth at state as a sophomore. The aim is much higher on the awards stand in Des Moines.
“I’m looking to be a state champion,” Kegley said. “Last year, I wasn’t satisfied getting eighth at state. I left there pretty bummed out.
“I’m just looking to redeem myself this year.”
Kegley said the extra mat time has produced a relaxed approach that allows him to loosen up in competition without pressure. Greco-Roman wrestling has helped improved his ties from the neutral position. Thompson has seen the growth elsewhere.
“I can see confidence and consistency with how you approach every single match, whether the kid is ranked No. 1 in the state or not,” Thompson said. “It doesn’t matter. Consistency and no breaks during the match.”
Kegley needed just 1:06 to deck T.J. Cook, giving Prairie a 6-3 lead and one it didn’t surrender. The Hawks (10-2, 5-0 MVC) won 11 weight classes, getting additional falls from Johnny Washburn (138), Justis Kruse (152), 182-pounder Logan Andeway and Ashton Stoner-DeGroot at 195.
The Saints (3-6, 2-3) received pins from seniors Patrick Chambers (145) and 220-pounder Isaac Ball.
AT C.R. XAVIER
C.R. Prairie 63, C.R. Xavier 15
(Individual takedowns in parentheses)
106 pounds – Adrian Owens (CRX) dec. Colin Winborn, 16-12 (4,1); 113 – Austin Kegley (CRP) pinned T.J. Cook, 1:06 (3,0); 120 – Austin Steuhm (CRP) won by forfeit; 126 – Grant Beach (CRP) won by forfeit; 132 – Conrad Braswell (CRP) dec. Christian Stanek, 5-2 (2,1); 138 – Johnny Washburn (CRP) pinned Caelen Shannon, 1:21 (2,0); 145 – Patrick Chambers (CRX) pinned Brady Nicewanner, :58 (1,0); 152 – Justis Kruse (CRP) pinned Layden Angerer, 1:53 (2,0); 160 – Colton LaGrange (CRP) won by forfeit; 170 – Nick Pearson (CRP) won by forfeit; 182 – Logan Andeway (CRP) pinned Ryan Cook, 1:34 (1,0); 195 – Ashton Stoner-DeGroot (CRX) pinned Ryan Volk, 1:40 (5,0); 220 – Isaac Ball (CRX) pinned Jack Halvorson, 2:37 (2,0); Hwt. – Jordan Jacobus (CRP) won by forfeit.
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Takedowns – C.R. Prairie 16, C.R. Xavier 8. Reversals – C.R. Prairie 3, C.R. Xavier 1. Escapes – C.R. Prairie 3, C.R. Xavier 10. Nearfall points – C.R. Prairie 8, C.R. Xavier 3. Penalty points (awarded) – C.R. Prairie 0, C.R. Xavier 2. Total match points – C.R. Prairie 49, C.R. Xavier 33.
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