Prep Wrestling

West Delaware wrestling is perfect in 2020-21 and looks to keep getting better

2A No. 1 Hawks host Independence ahead of Wamac tournament

West Delaware's Jared Voss is declared the winner over Independence's Cole Davis in their 170-pound match at a high scho
West Delaware's Jared Voss is declared the winner over Independence's Cole Davis in their 170-pound match at a high school wrestling dual at Independence High School on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

MANCHESTER — Better today than yesterday. Better tomorrow than today.

Sounds fitting for a T-shirt or a coffee mug. Perfect for West Delaware wrestling’s mantra this season.

“They’ve done a real good job buying in to that concept,” Hawks Coach Jeff Voss said, “and making that part of the culture that we’re trying to develop up here in the room.”

Class 2A top-ranked West Delaware has been perfect this season, sweeping all of its duals and tournaments before a showdown with fifth-ranked rival Independence Thursday and the Wamac Conference tournament Saturday at Marion.

Voss recognizes the potential if they keep building and becoming better each day.

“Up to this point, they’ve kept that mentality,” Voss said. “I wouldn’t expect anything else from them.”

West Delaware swept state tournament team titles in 2019 and was favored to repeat the feat last year. The Hawks won a second straight dual crown but Osage won the traditional tournament. They aren’t fueled by disappointment, but it does help keep them focus on that daily goal of improvement.

“I don’t know if it’s motivation to do better this year,” Voss said. “I think it is motivation to do better each day in practice.”

The Hawks have nine ranked wrestlers, which is two more than second-ranked Crestwood. Jared Voss (170), Wyatt Voelker at 195 and heavyweight Carson Petlon are all No. 1. Cael Meyer (182) and Jadyn Peyton (152) are fourth. Logan Peyton and Christian Nunley (220) are sixth at 145 and 220, respectively.

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Seven of the heaviest eight weights are predicted to reach the awards stand. Throw in eighth-ranked Blake Engel at 126 and No. 10 Carson Less and it isn’t surprising the Hawks are 14-0 with six tournament titles.

Competition in the room is fierce, but they push each other. Voss said he is reminded of his 2013 state title team that was so strong state champions would leave a practice without getting a single takedown.

“You see that in the room,” Voss said. “Our practices have definitely prepared our guys for the competition we’ve seen. The thing we really like in our groups is they aren’t there just to make themselves better they’ve helped the other guys get better.”

West Delaware has won the last two meetings with Independence, which enters 24-5. The Hawks own a 39-20 edge in the series, including a 4-6 mark since the introduction of the “Del-Buc: The Highway 20 Clash Trophy” presented to the annual winner.

“They are pretty close communities,” Voss said. “We’re not that far away and each community loves wrestling. The fans love it.

“When you get that type of support, it always ends up in something pretty fun. Over the years it doesn’t matter what you’re ranked or anything like that. I don’t even pencil it out anymore because you waste a lot of energy trying to predict what the score could be and it never turns out that way.”

The dual is a prelude to the conference tournament with the postseason beginning next week. West Delaware is looking for its fourth straight conference title and sixth since 2013, sharing top honors with Independence in 2014. The Hawks won by a whopping 126 points over Williamsburg last year.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” Voss said. “The Wamac tournament is a premier 2A conference tournament. If you can do well at the Wamac tournament your chances of doing well at state, etc., are pretty good.”

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

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