Prep Wrestling

Iowa high school wrestling notes: MVC cancels Super Meet, but is the outlier so far

Other conference wrestling tournaments still scheduled to go on

Cedar Rapids Jefferson J-Hawks head coach Rob Martin (center) stands with his wrestlers during introductions of their du
Cedar Rapids Jefferson J-Hawks head coach Rob Martin (center) stands with his wrestlers during introductions of their dual meet against the Dubuque Senior Rams at Jefferson High School in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

The Mississippi Valley Conference will not have its Super Meet for the first time since it expanded to 14 teams for the 1992-83 wrestling season.

The conference announced that decision Friday.

Other area conferences still have plans to hold their respective conference tournaments, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be changes or the same fields as in previous seasons. Coaches, athletics directors and organizers have faced some tough challenges and even tougher decisions.

The postseason begins in less than three weeks and late quarantine could force a wrestler to miss sectionals on Feb. 6 or districts the following weekend.

“The conference meet involves all 16 schools,” MVC athletics directors said in a news release. “The large number of participants expected to compete, in conjunction with the close proximity to competing in the postseason, led the ADs to make the change for the safety of the athletes.”

The Wamac, Tri-Rivers, River Valley and Upper Iowa conference tournaments will be Jan. 30 as planned.

“We’re all in,” West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss said. “Our conference (Wamac) is doing everything they can to make it safe for the kids.”

Marion will host the 13-team Wamac tournament. Originally, it was set to be split with half at the high school and half at Vernon Middle School. Marion Coach Jason Haag said the tournament will be held at the high school, utilizing both gymnasiums. The decision was based on how Marion hosted the similarly-sized Loyd Shaffer Invitational.

Two mats will be used in each gym and fans will not be permitted.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“As far as I know we’re still having it,” said Williamsburg Coach Grant Eckenrod, who guided the Raiders to a team title at Marion’s tournament Saturday. “I am planning on taking my guys and do what we can.”

Some programs have decided not to attend or send junior varsity wrestlers, attempting to limit exposure. Eckenrod said he understands both perspectives.

“There’s no right or wrong answer,” Eckenrod said. “You just do what you think is best for your kids.”

The Tri-Rivers meet will be hosted by East Buchanan in Winthrop and limited attendance to fans per participant. Conference AD Roger Wright said they didn’t really discuss moving dates. The tournament remains on schedule, but the situation remains fluid.

“By noon on Friday, things could change,” Wright said. “We’re trying to do the best we can and be as proactive and cautious as we can.”

Alburnett has placed third in its two recent tournaments. The Pirates will plan to compete.

“If they have it, we’ll be there,” Alburnett Coach Clayton Rush said. “These kids only have so many opportunities to compete. My thought is get them out there and wrestle.”

Rush said he has heard some conference teams have decided not to wrestle. Lisbon Coach Brad Smith has said he would consider not wrestling if the Tri-Rivers date wasn’t changed. Wright said he has heard rumblings.

“As of right now,” Wright said, “nothing is finalized.”

The Upper Iowa Conference tournament will still be held at Elkader Central. The River Valley Conference meet will be hosted by Monticello.

Aidan Noonan sets wins record

Cascade two-time state champion and Class 1A top-ranked 132-pounder Aidan Noonan owns the school’s all-time wins record. Noonan defeated North Cedar’s Peyton Clarke in a dual last Thursday for his 161st career victory, passing the old mark of 160 held by his older brother, Nolan.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Cascade Coach Travis Andrews said they didn’t discuss the career wins mark and this was more an expectation.

“Aidan has bigger goals on the season than beating his brother’s win record,” Andrews said. “Nolan said that he would only have the record for a few years before Aidan took it over.

“After he won the match he did sit down and have a small bag of popcorn. The only time I’ve seen him stray from his normal routine. I wasn’t going to say anything to him, he had earned the bag of popcorn.”

Noonan, who signed with University of Wyoming, is 30-0 this season.

Lisbon Lions’ perfect 10

Lisbon set a school record with 10 individual champions at Solon’s Ed Hardenfeldt Invitational on Saturday.

The Lions went a perfect 10-0 in the finals, claiming the team title with 288 1/2 points over North Scott.

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

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.