Small College Sports

Wrestling Weekend That Was: No. 1 Wartburg features former Gazette area stars

Iowa State wins big, Linn-Mar edges Cedar Rapids Prairie, and more

Wartburg Knights
Wartburg Knights

Wartburg’s top-ranked lineup includes Gazette-area wrestlers, Iowa State earned a lopsided victory before its break and Linn-Mar edged Cedar Rapids Prairie in a Metro showdown. This is the Wrestling Weekend That Was:

Wartburg wrestling has Eastern Iowa connections aplenty

Remember when Wartburg was considered to be vulnerable and was assured to have its grip on the American Rivers Conference (formerly the Iowa Conference) loosened? Considering last year’s disappointing national finish, Loras’ ascension and another threat in a very strong Coe team, it was easy to entertain that possibility.

The Knights closed the opening month of the season perched atop the NCAA Division III rankings, starting the season No. 3 behind the Duhawks and Wabash (Ind.) in the poll. Wartburg improved to 3-0 in duals, thumping Cornell College 43-2 Friday at Small Multi-Sport Center in Mount Vernon.

Gazette-area wrestling fans will recognize many of the names that have been in the Knights’ lineup this season. Second-ranked 174-pounder and returning All-American Kyle Briggs heads the list. He wrestled 184 against Cornell, pinning Bryce Oveson in 2:57, and could stay at that weight the remainder of the season.

Briggs, a former Cedar Rapids Jefferson state medalist, placed third at the 2019 national tournament and is off to an 11-0 start with this year. Each of his wins have earned bonus points, tallying five pins, two technical falls and three major decisions.

Former South Tama state finalist and three-time medalist Brady Fritz has carved a niche as a Wartburg starter. He was an All-American last season, finishing sixth. He has climbed the national rankings, coming in fifth at 149 in the National Wrestling Coaches Association poll.

Fritz posted a 22-4 technical fall over Cornell’s Klayton Keller Friday night. He improved to 11-2 overall this season.


Center Point-Urbana three-time state champion Brock Rathbun, who won an NCAA title as a freshmen in 2018, made early appearances in the lineup but did not compete Friday. He is 5-2 this season at 141.

Former Linn-Mar prep Shea Hartzler has shared time so far at 157, posting an 8-4 mark. Briggs’ former Jefferson prep teammate Brenden Baker has also contributed in the lineup previously.

The Knights will host the Desert Duals in Las Vegas this weekend.

Iowa State drops Chattanooga

The Cyclones entered the holiday break on a positive note, defeating Chattanooga 26-7 at home Saturday night. The victory included a dominant victory by David Carr at 157. ISU also earned some hard-fought decisions as well.

Todd Small (133) scored a takedown in the late seconds for a 7-6 win over Franco Valdez. Sam Colbray notched a takedown in sudden victory for a 3-1 decision over Matthew Waddell at 184. Chase Straw, a former Independence prep, recorded a 5-3 victory over Drew Nicholson, helping the Cyclones improve to 2-1 overall.

3 Cyclones win UNI Open

Iowa State had three wrestlers win titles at the UNI Open on Saturday. Logan Schumacher (165), Julien Broderson (184) and 197-pounder Joel Shapiro were first. Shapiro, who had been in the starting lineup and competed at UNI to get more matches in, beat UNI’s Tyrell Gordon in the final. Broderson was impressive, earning first-period pins in the semifinals and final. He decked teammate Tyler Buesgens in just 15 seconds for the championship.

The Panthers’ Drew Bennett claimed the 133 crown. He beat Iowa State’s Ramazan Attasauov, 3-2, in the final. Bennett and Gordon were two of five UNI finalists Saturday.

Linn-Mar tops Prairie on criteria

Linn-Mar and Cedar Rapids Prairie have competed in some tense and dramatic duals in the past. In a standalone dual Saturday, they did it again. The Lions won on criteria, breaking a tie after 14 bouts and earning the 40-39 victory.

The Lions received pins from Brandon O’Brien (106), Bryce Parke (126), Abass Kemokai (152) Tate Naaktgeboren (160) and Ryan Plummer at 170. Linn-Mar won seven matches with bonus points.

Prairie matched the seven wins and had six pins with one decision.


Both teams could meet this weekend. Both are No. 2 seeds in their respective brackets of the Battle of Waterloo dual tournament at Young Arena. Competition begins Friday at 9 a.m. and continues Saturday.

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