Team works through COVID issues over holiday break

The Mustang wrestling team returned to action Jan. 9 with an eighth-place team finish in the Ottumwa Tournament. Davis County scored 102.5 points in that tournament.

“We made some changes to our schedule this year, and the Ottumwa Tournament is one of them. It turned out to be a good change for us. We only placed eighth in the team race out of 11 teams, but all of our wrestlers got four or five matches in. This is what we needed at the moment,” said Coach Jim Nelson. “Over our Christmas break we were unable to hold any practices as both the coaching staff and the majority of our wrestlers tested positive for COVID prior to the holiday. We all had to quarantine and let the troubled times pass us by.

“We were able to resume our practices Wednesday, Jan. 6. This gave us three days to prepare and get back into shape for the Ottumwa Invite. With almost two weeks of not being able to practice, we fared pretty well,” he said.

“For the most part, we have been able to check COVID off our list as one of our obstacles for the season. Our team should be fine to compete for the rest of the season and the post season. The post season of course is what we truly train for. There is an ease of mind that our team is now mostly immune from the disease as we venture towards the state wrestle-off series starting in February,” said Nelson. We have several wrestlers on our team that have great chances of a state berth.

Dawson Townsend led the effort as he won the 120-pound weight class. Townsend began the day facing Jacob Bland of Fairfield. He pinned Bland in 34 seconds. Townsend also pinned DJ Hammes of Sigourney in 1:19. In the third round Townsend pinned Chace Majerus of Des Moines Lincoln in 27 seconds.

Townsend scored an 11-4 win over Dawson Goodwin of Ottumwa in the semifinals before pinning Nolan Riddle of Keokuk in the championship match. That pin came in just 40 seconds.

Taylor Huggins finished second for Davis County at 132 pounds. Huggins faced Gavin Benton of Iowa City Liberty and pinned him in 3:03. Huggins pinned Daltin Doud of Ottumwa in 1:08. He also pinned Alejandro Morales of Keokuk in the third round. That pin came at the 5:04 mark.

Huggins scored a major decision win over Nathan Bell of Des Moines Lincoln in the semifinals. That score was 9-1. Huggins suffered a 7-5 loss in sudden-death against Justin Keller of Albia in the championship match. The loss forced Huggins to settle for second place.

Kade Martin finished third for Davis County at 106 pounds. He suffered a 9-0 loss to Wyatt Stewart of Albia in the opening round. Martin battled back with a pin over Jacob Widmer of Burlington in 41 seconds. He advanced to pin Aaron Guerrero of Des Moines Lincoln in 33 seconds. Carter Anderson of Albia beat Martin with a pin in 1:49 and Martin battled back to score a 10-0 major decision win over Jasmine Luedtke of Ottumwa in the consolation match.

Brogan West finished fourth for Davis County at 113 pounds. West scored a pin over Jocelyn Cox of Davis County in 1:28. Corbin Grace of Ottumwa pinned West in 1:11 and Chace McKim of Kirksville, Mo., pinned West in 19 seconds. Brodie Connor of Albia pinned West in 33 seconds.

Cox finished fifth behind West in the 113 pound weight class. She suffered a loss to West and was pinned by Connor in 34 seconds. Grace pinned her in 3:03. McKim pinned Cox in 35 seconds.

Deken Sorensen finished sixth for Davis County at 126 pounds. He started the day with a pin over Ian Brownsberger of Iowa City Liberty. The pin came in 1:27. Anthony Bestell of Newton pinned Sorensen in 1:08. Tate O’Shea of Keokuk pinned Sorensen in 3:19. Sorensen scored an 18-3 technical fall over Daniel McLoughlin of Sigourney before suffering a 6-3 loss to Braylon Griffiths of Ottumwa in the fifth-place match.

Austin Payne finished seventh at 145 pounds. Carter Replogle finished seventh at 195 pounds. Charlie VanHemert finished eighth at 182 pounds. Jayden Ball finished ninth at 138 pounds. Matt Garmon finished 10th at 160 pounds.

“Dawson Townsend is currently leading the way as Davis County’s lead favorite for post season. He is currently ranked seventh in the state polls. The toughest part of getting to the state tournament is usually our district tournament. We always seem to get located in the toughest District, but if you can muster through the tournament, there is a high chance of doing good things at the State tournament. Taylor Huggins is a very close second to Townsend’s lead. They are workout partners. They have been workout partners for over a decade, and have made each other a better fighter on the mat. Taylor was a state qualifier as a freshman, and is extremely eager to get back to the ranks,” said Nelson.

“Kade Martin has had a decent season as a sophomore. If things pan out for him, he could look forward to a profitable sectional and district tournament in February,” said Nelson.

“Freshman Deken Sorensen is the one to keep tabs on as the season ends as we venture into the post season. Deken has his own style of wrestling, which is very fun to watch. He has all this throwing, tripping and scrapping ability that puts him in contention to win most matches. His style is unique and it’ll bring him a lot of success through his high school years, as he continues to perfect himself,” said Nelson. Deken will maintain the 126 pound weight class as we head to the post season.”

Team standings—1. Kirksville, Mo., 184; 2. Albia, 181.5; 3. Ottumwa, 133; 4. Iowa City Liberty, 122.5; 4. Newton, 122.5; 6. Sigourney, 113.5; 7. Keokuk, 107.5; 8. Davis County, 102.5; 9. Fairfield, 88.4; 10. Des Moines Lincoln, 87 and 11. Burlington, 81.5.