‘Stangs fall short of first State dual appearance

by Kinsey Phipps

All season, the PCM varsity grapplers have been ranked as a team according to both major wrestling prediction websites IAWrestle and The Predicament. The 2017-18 team has been called one of the best PCM High School has ever seen, and the State Dual Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena has been in the sights of wrestlers, coaches and fans alike. On Feb. 6, PCM hosted the regional meet for a chance at qualifying for state duals. The Mustangs prevailed first round against Red Oak, winning 53-22. The No. 7-ranked Mustangs faced Williamsburg, ranked eighth. In the end Williamsburg came out on top 44-25, ending PCM’s dual season earlier than expected.

The ‘Stangs started off strong against Red Oak at 138 pounds. Freshman Colby Tool stepped on the mat and defeated his opponent by fall in 31 seconds. PCM then continued their domination, clocking a win by 145-pound junior Cody Wallace and two pins from 160-pound junior Wes Cummings and 170-pound junior Lucas Roland. No.7 ranked junior Jarron Trausch stepped on the mat against No. 5 ranked Thomas Bentley of Red Oak. Trausch knew he had a challenge ahead of him, but he prevailed with the upset, winning 4-2. PCM also clocked falls from 195-pound senior Noah Anderson, sophomore Payton Drake wrestling in the 120-pound weight class and 126-pound senior Chase Shirk in 17 seconds, the fastest pin of the meet. The Mustangs defeated Red Oak 53-22 with six falls, two decisions and two forfeits in their favor.

Williamsburg and Creston wrestled at the same time as PCM and Red Oak, with the winners facing each other for a chance at wrestling at the State Dual Tournament. Williamsburg defeated Creston, 45-19. The second mat was cleared, and the spotlight turned on to focus the packed gym to the Williamsburg versus PCM dual. After five matches starting at 145-pounds, PCM was ahead of Williamsburg with two falls by Cummings and Trausch and a technical fall by Roland. The score was 17-7, PCM. Williamsburg then came back by accepting a forfeit at 195, claiming a victory by fall over Anderson in the 220-pound weight class, and they prevailed by major decision in the heavyweight division over sophomore Jace Smith, 10-4. The score was now 23-17, Williamsburg. The meet continued to be a back-and-forth nail-biter, with PCM claiming a huge victory at 106 pounds with freshman Landon Fenton winning by decision over his Williamsburg opponent. Williamsburg then took a forfeit at 113 pounds, and Drake earned a technical fall at 120 pounds. The score was 29-25, and the Mustangs’ fate landed on the last three matches of the night. PCM couldn’t accomplish the goal they had strived all season for, losing the last three matches by fall, decision and fall, respectively. The final score was 44-25, Williamsburg.

Roland said, “I think we allowed Williamsburg to score bonus points in matches we thought would be close. That made a bigger gap for our last few matches where we would need pins to come back and win the dual.”

After a long conversation from the coaches to the wrestlers after the meet, the grapplers focused their attention to individual postseason competition.

Those who qualify for the individual Iowa High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Tournament will wrestle beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15 at Wells Fargo Arena.

“Next year, I hope that the team can qualify for State duals,” Roland said. “We have a lot of underclassmen in our lineup that could benefit from another year of experience and growing.”