MARION — Bryce Parke doesn’t have to look far for a good training partner and teammate.
The Linn-Mar senior enjoys the fact that his sophomore brother, Brayden, fills that role.
“When we wrestle together, it’s hard from start to finish,” Bryce said of practice. “He knows how to drill hard, physical and it’s pretty close to live when we’re drilling. It’s fun. I just like having him as a partner.”
The Parkes provide the Lions with a strong back-to-back combo in the lower part of the lineup. They each recorded second-period falls, helping Class 3A ninth-ranked Linn-Mar defeat No. 14 Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 52-27, in a Mississippi Valley Conference dual Saturday at home.
The Lions (2-0) won nine weights, adding bonus points in each.
“We wrestled hard and tough,” Linn-Mar Coach Doug Streicher said. “We were aggressive.”
Brayden Parke took the mat first and needed 3:44 to pin Jonah Hallam at 126 pounds. Bryce Parke built a 9-1 lead before decking Colin Falck in 3:53 at 132.
Interestingly, their weights are reversed. Bryce placed fifth at state with a 36-3 mark at 126 last season, while Brayden spent time in the starting lineup at 132. Even though he focuses on mental and physical preparation for his match, Bryce said he likes the chance to watch his brother perform.
“I love it,” Parke said. “I get to go out right after him and wrestle. It was the opposite way last year. It’s just a cool experience.”
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Streicher described both as grounded with a good work ethic. They are also surrounded by strong workout partners, including 145-pounder Reece Seery and freshmen Kane Naaktgeboren and Grant Kress at 120 and 138, respectively. All notched pins against Kennedy.
“They’re supportive,” Streicher said. “They’re pretty good friends. When they get after it, they get after each other. It doesn’t change.
“They take it serious. This is a serious sport for them.”
Linn-Mar opened with a pin from Kain Wempen at 160 and major decision from state finalist Tate Naaktgeboren. The top-ranked wrestler at 160 moved up to 170 and beat No. 8 Alex Koch, 21-8. Dylan Page (220) added a pin for the Lions, who missed three weeks due to the school district’s move to virtual learning early this season.
“It’s our second match of the year,” Streicher said. “It’s not an excuse. It just shows we’re not doing some of the things we’ve talked about in practices recently.”
Kennedy (2-3) won four bouts, including two over ranked foes. Eighth-ranked Divion Ocheltree capped the dual with an 8-3 decision over No. 6 Abass Kemokai at 152. After a scoreless first, Ocheltree scored a takedown and then cinched up a cradle for three nearfall for a 5-1 lead at the end of the second.
Cael Knox produced an upset at 220. He came out on top of a flurry of action for upper weights, putting No. 4 Luke Gaffney on his back for a pin in 1:01. Colin Flannagan (182) and heavyweight Parker Heidt had pins, helping Kennedy to a 24-16 lead at the midway point.
Linn-Mar 52, Cedar Rapids Kennedy 27
(Individual takedowns in parentheses)
160 pounds – Kain Wempen (LM) pinned Rashon Jennings, 3:10 (2,0); 170 – Tate Naaktgeboren (LM) major dec. Alex Koch, 21-8 (8,0); 182 – Colin Flannagan (CRK) pinned Clayton Muszynski, 5:08 (1,0); 195 – Dylan Page (LM) pinned Giuseppe Gianforte, :40 (1,0); 220 – Cael Knox (CRK) pinned Luke Gaffney, 1:01 (1,0); Hwt. – Parker Heidt (CRK) pinned Gavin Howk-Erwin, 1:25 (1-1); 106 – Cael Long (CRK) won by forfeit; 113 – Keaton Williams (LM) won by forfeit; 120 – Kane Naaktgeboren (LM) pinned Cael Smithhart, 2:47 (3,0); 126 – Brayden Parke (LM) pinned Jonah Hallam, 3:44 (2,0); 132 – Bryce Parke (LM) pinned Colin Falck, 3:53 (3,0); 138 – Grant Kress (LM) pinned Kyan Stricker, 1:59 (3,0); 145 – Reece Seery (LM) pinned Jordan Twitty, 1:18 (1,0); 152 – Divion Ocheltree (CRK) dec. Abass Kemokai, 8-3 (2,0).
Takedowns – C.R. Kennedy 5, Linn-Mar 24. Reversals – C.R. Kennedy 1, Linn-Mar 2. Escapes – C.R. Kennedy 15, Linn-Mar 3. Nearfall points – C.R. Kennedy 3, Linn-Mar 30. Penalty points (awarded) – C.R. Kennedy 0, Linn-Mar 1. Total match points – C.R. Kennedy 30, Linn-Mar 86.
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