MONONA — MFL MarMac has assembled key components to a strong wrestling team.
The Bulldogs have veterans with state experience. They received a boost from some young talent. Don’t forget those who improved from last season, solidifying the lineup and providing flexibility.
The gears have meshed well. MFL MarMac owns a 12-0 record, climbing to seventh in the first installment of the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Class 1A dual rankings. The Bulldogs closed the first half of the season with the team title at the Iowa City Regina Invitational on Saturday.
“We’ve come out of the gates strong,” MFL MarMac Coach Chet Bachman said. “It’s just kind of a mixed bag of pieces to the puzzle.”
The Bulldogs rolled in their victory at Regina. All 13 wrestlers in the field placed fourth or better, including six in the finals: Bryce Radloff (132), Karter Decker (138), Gabe McGeough (160) and heavyweight Jacob Trudo. They tallied 246 1/2 points, winning by 122 1/2 and coming within a half-point of matching the combined total of runner-up Pekin and third-place Sigourney-Keota.
This came on the heels of a 42-39 dual victory over No. 11 Denver last Thursday. The Bulldogs have at least 12 starters with double-digit victories and 13 with winning records after Logan Brown drop to 220 and finished fourth Saturday.
“I’d say we have pretty good numbers for a small class in a small area,” Bachman said of his 23-wrestler roster. “If you have decent numbers, that means we have backups here or there we can use. It really helps us out, because we can play around with our lineup.”
Unfortunately, they did it without Bachman, who has been separated from the team while in self-quarantine. He praised his coaching staff for taking the reins over the last week.
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“I’ve watched from afar a little bit,” Bachman said. “It’s kind of unfortunate.”
MFL MarMac swept through the Cascade duals earlier this month and then finished second to 2A No. 8 Independence at Nashua-Plainfield’s tournament. Decker and Holden Mathis (120) won titles and three more Bulldogs reached the finals.
Decker, McGeough and Trudo are returning state qualifiers. McGeough placed fifth at 145 and is the highest-ranked Bulldog. The junior is fourth at 160. Decker, a sophomore, sits fifth at 138, while Trudo is sixth as a senior. The trio is a combined 55-3 with Decker leading the way at 19-1.
“Jacob is our anchor at the heavyweight,” Bachman said. “It’s always good to have an anchor. You need somebody at the top. Gabe McGeough is a placewinner and an anchor in the middle. Karter Decker is pretty flashy to watch. He’s fun.
“Those three guys bring a lot to the table.”
MFL MarMac has been an Upper Iowa Conference contender. This Bulldogs share some of the same characteristics of the past conference championship teams under Bachman.
“Every team is so different,” Bachman said. “We had a pretty decent team a couple years ago. It resembles that a little bit. The one thing this team has is a real hard-core work ethic with every kid that comes to the room. They just do it every night and never backs down from hard work.
“We have kids just really buying in and want to be the best they can be and keep it going in the right direction.”
The first installment of the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials dual rankings were released last week. Two-time defending state duals champion West Delaware is first in Class 2A. Defending 1A champion Lisbon is second behind rival Don Bosco. Despite not wrestling a dual yet, Iowa City West is sixth in 3A.
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Independence is sixth and Solon is seventh, while Williamsburg and Union Community round out the 2A rankings at 15th and 16th.
In 3A, Linn-Mar (1-0) is ninth. The Lions defeated Pleasant Valley in their delayed season opener Saturday. Cedar Rapids Kennedy is 14th and Western Dubuque is 15th. The Bobcats beat Kennedy, 57-18, in a dual Thursday. Cedar Rapids Prairie and Iowa City High haven’t competed yet, but are 21st and 23rd overall.
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