Western Iowa Conference NEW

(KMAland) -- The winter sports season is right around the corner, and we are getting you ready with daily conference previews. No. 6 is the Western Iowa Conference Wrestling Preview.

PREVIOUS WINTER SPORTS PREVIEWS

Hawkeye Ten Conference Boys Basketball

Bluegrass Conference Boys Basketball

Western Iowa Conference Girls Basketball

Rolling Valley Conference Girls Basketball

KMAland Girls Bowling


2021-22 WESTERN IOWA CONFERENCE WRESTLING PREVIEW

Most of this preview is going to be based off of last year’s Western Iowa Conference Individual Tournament. Here’s how the standings stacked up:

Logan-Magnolia Panthers: 210 points

Missouri Valley Big Reds: 203 points

Underwood Eagles: 152 points

Treynor Cardinals: 144 points

Riverside Bulldogs: 135 points

AHSTW Vikings: 121 points

Tri-Center Trojans: 78 points

Audubon Wheelers: 48 points

Here’s a team-by-team rundown of the returning wrestlers based on last year’s WIC Tournament.

AHSTW Vikings

Coach: Evan McCarthy

AHSTW had just one senior last year and bring back one conference champion in sophomore Eli Collins, who went 14-11 as a freshman and won the 113 pound championship. Senior Garrison Gettler was 28-5, was the WIC runner-up and qualified for state at 160 pounds, winning one match in Des Moines.

Senior Denver Pauley was 26-5 and took third at 170 pounds at the WIC meet, and classmate Hayden Fischer was a district qualifier while finishing 18-6 at 132 pounds. Others of note…

Seniors — Quintin Martin (4th at 220, 21-12 record)

Juniors — Aidan Martin (4th at 152, 18-6 record); Dayden Moerti (5th at 138, 8-15 record)

Sophomores — Clayton Johnson (5th at 106, 8-8 record)

Audubon Wheelers 

Coach: Tyler Christensen

Javyn Bladt is gone from the roster, but the Wheelers do have some promising guys that are receiving some state-wide attention. Junior Cooper Nielsen placed second at 195 in the WIC, won 34 matches on the season and qualified for state as a sophomore. Senior Carter Andreasen won his sectional and finished the year at 26-5 while wrestling at 145. Sophomore Zeke Konkler is the only other top five finisher at the WIC, posting a fifth place finish and a 17-28 record for the year at 120 pounds during his freshman year.

Logan-Magnolia Panthers 

Coach: Dan Thompson

They might have a few worth mentioning here and there. State champion and junior Wyatt Reisz captured the 145 pound WIC title before finishing out with a 50-2 record and the ‘ship. Rex Johnsen is a Division I football signee (Wyoming), won a WIC title and went 41-4 before a state runner-up finish at heavyweight. Gavin Maguire — another senior — is another returning WIC champ and state medalist. He went 51-5 and took eighth at 160 pounds.

Senior Sean Thompson finished 43-7, took second in the WIC at 126 and was a district champion. Senior Jacob Downey posted a 38-11 record, was runner-up at 106 at the WIC Tournament and advanced to districts. Tarick Rowe — a junior — placed second at 113 in the conference tournament and qualified for districts, too. Finally, sophomore Kai Carritt is back after claiming a district title and tripping to state while finishing his debut season at 29-16. 

Others of note:

Seniors — Brady Thompson (24-17 at 145, 4th in WIC); Jordan Kerger (23-19 at 170, 4th in WIC)

Juniors — Harley Christensen (24-17 at 138)

Missouri Valley Big Reds

Coach: Keefer Jensen

Sophomore Eli Becerra is ranked No. 1 at his weight class to open the season. That’s after debuting with a 47-1 record, a WIC and district championship and a state runner-up at 106. Senior Gage Clausen also won a WIC championship at 170 before qualifying for state and finishing out the season at 35-10.

Senior Connor Murray took a conference runner-up medal at 285 pounds and narrowly missed state while going 24-7 on the year. Sophomores Riley Radke (at 120) and Ben Hansen (at 152) were third at the WIC Tournament, qualified for state and won one match each at the state tournament. Others of note…

Seniors — Parker Ferris (16-11 at 106); Brad Ortner (21-21 at 113, 3rd in WIC); Andrew Bowman (16-12 at 138, 3rd in WIC); Cody Gilpin (18-18 at 160); Brek Boruff (24-13 at 182, 5th in WIC)

Riverside Bulldogs 

Coach: Casey Conover

Jace Rose enters his fourth or fifth senior season at Riverside. The dude seems like he’s been around for a long while, and it’s all been successful. He was the WIC champ and district champ at 120 last season before finishing 36-3 with a fourth-place state medal. Senior Nolan Moore (24-11 at 138) is the other state qualifier on the team, and sophomore Dalton Smith (22-16) is the other district qualifier at 106. 

Seniors Rhett Bentley (160) and Brok Comstock (195) were fourth last year at the WIC championships, and junior Nathan Messerschmidt (285) ended up fifth. Might senior Austin Kremkoski (7-0 at 182) be worth watching this year, too?

Treynor Cardinals 

Coach: Trey Stickler

The Cardinals bring back three district qualifiers in sophomore Dany Kinsella (138), senior Caleb Iliff (160) and junior Kyle Moss (170). Kinsella went 29-14 and was a WIC runner-up while Iliff was 18-6 and Moss went 24-20 a year ago. 

Also of note, juniors Jacob Pote (18-10) and Daniel Gregory (23-9) were both third at WIC last season at 160 and 220, respectively, and Logan Marr (13-16) took fifth at 126. Others of note…

Sophomores: Tyson McCain (13-4 at 113); Noah Nelson (19-17 at 120)

Tri-Center Trojans

Coach: Scott Manhart

A conference champion and district champion Brecken Freeberg enters his senior season with major goals on his mind. He was unable to place at state last season, but he went 40-3 and is hungry for a return to Des Moines. Senior Ethan Flaharty went 19-13 at 132 and sophomore Tanner Nelson finished 8-19 at 152 while finishing fifth in the WIC.

Underwood Eagles 

Coach: Joe Stephens

Hammer after hammer after hammer. Senior Stevie Barnes won the 126-pound WIC championship, took a district title for good measure and then finished as the state runner-up and at 36-3. Another senior — Hagen Heistand — is ranked No. 1 at 145 pounds and finished 43-1 after winning a WIC title and district championship while at Logan-Magnolia.

Junior Gable Porter won a state championship as a freshman and then finished as a runner-up at 132 a year ago. Westin Allen enters his senior year, too, after winning a district championship and going 23-3 at 138 a year ago. Easton Eledge is another senior that won a district championship and placed eighth at heavyweight last season. Sophomore Blake Allen (21-7 at 120), senior Carter Davis (16-6 at 182) and sophomore Graham Jensen (170) were also in the top five of their respective weight class last year at the WIC Tournament.  

FINAL TAKE

Logan-Magnolia and Underwood are two of the state’s top teams, and anytime those two programs are in the same building and at full strength it figures to be an absolute treat. I don’t really know how to handicap this thing, but IAWrestle has Underwood one spot higher than Logan-Magnolia so I’ll go with what they say. And if I’m wrong, I hold no culpability. 

Send any questions, comments and/or concerns to dmartin@kmamail.com.

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