Prep Wrestling

MVC wrestling: Prairie's Conrad Braswell claims fourth title, Kennedy wins team championship

Braswell is 10th four-time MVC Super Meet champion, first from Metro

IOWA CITY — Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Conrad Braswell realized this was a possibility two years ago.

When he watched Iowa City West’s Nelson Brands do it last season, he was determined to join an elite group. Braswell finished the job Saturday.

Braswell became Prairie’s first four-time Mississippi Valley Conference champion and just the 10th all-time, beating Dubuque Hempstead’s Joe Pins in the 132-pound final of the MVC Super Meet at Iowa City West. Cedar Rapids Kennedy also notched a program first, winning the team title with 221 points.

Braswell stood at center mat and raised four fingers to the crowd, including some members of the Prairie crowd with his name printed across the back of their T-shirts. He is also the first wrestler to win four conference crowns for a Metro program.

“Nobody’s done it in school history, so it’s something I’ve been striving for,” said Braswell, who was voted Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament by coaches. “Four titles in the MVC and being the 10th person to do it means a lot. It’s a big accomplishment. It’s something I’ll remember for a long time.”

Third-ranked Braswell and second-ranked Pins was a marquee matchup and one of 12 MVC weights with two ranked wrestlers in the finals. The ranking was the only thing close. Braswell dominated the bout from start to finish, posting a 13-5 major decision.

Braswell tallied two takedowns in the first. He broke it open in the second with three nearfall off a spladle. He added a reversal and two more nearfall in the third.

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“I was glad,” Braswell said. “I wanted this matchup. I was a little bit worried with the weather this week that I wouldn’t get to see him.

“I wanted that matchup versus him to show everybody I can contend for a title this year.”

Braswell is a three-time state medalist, placing eighth last season and fourth twice. The victory is a good springboard into the postseason.

“That is a big confidence booster,” Braswell said. “I know if I go out there and stick to my game plan that I can beat anybody out there.”

He was joined atop the podium by teammates Austin Kegley (113) and 195-pounder Ashton Stoner-DeGroot.

Kennedy crowned a tournament-best four champions and beat runner-up Prairie by 36 points. The Cougars used a balanced attack, placing 12 in the top seven including six that placed sixth or better.

“The finals and championships were awesome,” Kennedy Coach Dennis Hynek said. “I keep going back to kids who weren’t making it to the finals of tournaments … I’m very proud of our guys who won it, obviously, but I’m proud of the kids, who knew they were contributing. Now that we’re Mississippi Valley champions they know they had a lot to do with that.”

Kennedy emphasized getting bonus points in what expected to be a tight team race. The Cougars earned 46 of them, recording 22 pins from all but two wrestlers.

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“Not only to win the team title but the way we did it,” Hynek said. “We got a lot of bonus points today. We placed well and got a lot of them.”

Cam Jones (220) and heavyweight Josh Vis provided the exclamation mark to the day. Both recorded falls in the finals against ranked foes to close the tournament.

Seventh-ranked Jones trailed when he threw Linn-Mar’s No. 3 Tanner Schultz to his back for a pin in 1:43. He has two wins over Schultz in as many weeks.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match, wrestling him a couple weeks ago in a big dual,” Jones said. “I knew it would be tight. I really needed to get a win here.”

Top-ranked Vis followed with a second-period fall over Iowa City High’s Jacob Murry in the final. Noah Cunningham and Ty Pfifner also won titles for Kennedy. Cunningham pinned his way through the 145-pound bracket, decking Hempstead’s Tyler Murphy in sudden victory.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Jones said. “As the season went on, we started to realize we had a shot at this.

“Coaches have been preaching all week that we needed bonus points to win this tournament. It happened that way and that’s how we got it done.”

Third-place Iowa City High, fourth-place Western Dubuque and Iowa City West each had two champions.

Ryker Kurimski (160) and Jake Hosch (170) became the Bobcats’ first MVC champions. Fourth-ranked Kurimski scored 10 takedowns to beat City High’s No. 6 Brandon Lalla, 22-10. Hosch used a late takedown to secure a 5-2 decision over Linn-Mar’s Ryan Plummer at 170.

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Freshman Hunter Garvin of West dominated his way to the 120-pound title, scoring a 17-2 technical fall over Cedar Falls’ No. 5 Jakey Penrith in the final.

Garvin had two pins to reach the finals. He could be the next to join Braswell as a four-timer, but he isn’t focused on that now.

“It’s always something to look at in the future, but I don’t like to do that,” Garvin said. “I like to take one match at a time, one tournament at a time and especially one season at a time.”

Linn-Mar received a title from top-ranked 182-pounder Jacob Wempen. He used a first-period takedown and two escapes in the third for a 4-3 victory over Western Dubuque’s No. 3 Devin Ludwig.

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY CONFERENCE SUPER MEET

At Iowa City West

Teams – 1. C.R. Kennedy 221, 2. C.R. Prairie 185, 3. Iowa City High 171, 4. Western Dubuque 166, 5. Cedar Falls 164, 6. Linn-Mar 148, 7. (tie) Dubuque Hempstead and Iowa City West 145, 9. Waterloo West 78.5, 10. Iowa City Liberty 52.5, 11. Dubuque Senior 52, 12. C.R. Xavier 48, 13. C.R. Jefferson 46, 14. Dubuque Wahlert 45, 15. C.R. Washington 26, 16. Waterloo East 9.

Championship matches

106 pounds – Ethan Wood-Finley (ICH) dec. Brandon O’Brien (LM), 2-1; 113 – Austin Kegley (CRP) major dec. Dawson Bierman (WD), 15-5; 120 – Hunter Garvin (ICW) tech. fall Jakey Penrith (CF), 17-2; 126 – Ty Pfiffner (CRK) dec. Dylan Whitt (CF), 4-2; 132 – Conrad Braswell (CRP) major dec. Joe Pins (DH), 13-5; 138 – Graham Gambrall (ICW) dec. Dylan Falck (CRK), 6-5; 145 – Noah Cunningham (CRK) pinned Tyler Murphy (DH), 6:26; 152 – Kyle Hefley (ICH) dec. Elijah Demmer (WD), 5-0; 160 – Ryker Kurimski (WD) major dec. Brandon Lalla (ICH), 22-10; 170 – Jake Hosch (WD) dec. Ryan Plummer (LM), 5-2; 182 – Jacob Wempen (LM) dec. Devin Ludwig, 4-3; 195 – Ashton Stoner-DeGroot (CRP) major dec. Cade Parker (CRK), 8-0; 220 – Cam Jones (CRK) pinned Tanner Schultz (LM), 1:43; Hwt. – Josh Vis (CRK) pinned Jacob Murry (ICH), 3:15.

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

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