DES MOINES — Western Dubuque switched conferences from the Wamac to the Mississippi Valley this season.
The switch didn’t slow the Bobcats’ roll. Western Dubuque captured the Mississippi Division title and qualified for the state duals tournament.
The No. 8 Bobcats were pitted against the No. 1 seed, Southeast Polk in the first round and lost that meet 72-6. Western Dubuque didn’t wrestle any of its state qualifiers in the meet.
The second round wasn’t much easier, wrestling No. 5-seeded Waukee. Western Dubuque closed the gap in that one, losing 51-14 while wrestling four out of its five state qualifiers.
In the seventh-place match against West Des Moines Valley, Western Dubuque flexed its muscles and won 46-26.
Western Dubuque wrestled all five of its qualifiers against Valley, a decision Coach Paul Cleary left up to his wrestlers.
“They have a lot of pride in their school, a lot of pride in their community and they wanted to go,” Cleary said. “They’ve been awesome leaders and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
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Western Dubuque has made the state duals tournament three times in its history and this senior class has now qualified twice. It’s a foundation Cleary wants to build on. He hopes wrestling some backups against Southeast Polk and Wuakee gives some of the younger guys motivation and momentum for next season.
“We pride ourselves on team,” Cleary said. “We have 50 guys on our team. We had a really good JV this year, we had a lot of good JV guys here today and it’s experience. It gives them that feel to get back here next year.”
Four of the five individual state qualifiers are seniors, with Jake Hosch (170) the only junior. All five of the individuals won by bonus points against Valley.
But it’s not what the seniors in competition, it’s what they do in the wrestling room that separates them.
“I feel really good about our future tomorrow and our future next year,” Cleary said. “We have a really good team and we’ve had incredible senior leadership, some of the best I’ve ever had.
“We’ve always had good seniors. We put a lot of pride into being a senior. But these guys are really selfless and always helping out the younger guys. I’m impressed with their attitude and their effort every day.”
No. 1 Southeast Polk 72, No. 8 Western Dubuque 6
No. 4 Fort Dodge 32, No. 5 Waukee 30
No. 2 Waverly-Shell Rock 50, No. 7 West Des Moines Valley 24
No. 3 Ankeny Centennial 36, No. 6 Bettendorf, 26
No. 5 Waukee 51, No. 8 Western Dubuque 14
No. 6 Bettendorf 42, No. 7 West Des Moines Valley 21
No. 1 Southeast Polk 62, No. 4 Fort Dodge 9
No. 2 Waverly-Shell Rock 42, No. 3 Ankeny Centennial 25
No. 8 Western Dubuque 46, No. 7 West Des Moines Valley 28
No. 6 Bettendorf 41, No. 5 Waukee 26
No. 3 Ankeny Centennial 34, No. 4 Fort Dodge 33
No. 1 Southeast Polk 37, No. 2 Waverly-Shell Rock 27
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