Although Muscatine came up short in the team score, there was much to be celebrated in the team’s opening dual against Central DeWitt on Thursday.
The Sabers won by a final of 36-27, but the Muskies surrendered points in having the 113 and 120 pound weight divisions open, and went 6-5 in matches that were wrestled.
The Muskies with the highest expectations also took care of business.
“Central DeWitt is a really good team,” Muscatine head coach Joe Kane said. “We knew that we were going to be in battles up and down the lineup.”
The match of the dual was needed multiple sudden death overtime periods before Muscatine’s Gage Stevens achieved a 3-2 victory over Carter Donovan.
Donovan opened the scoring with a two-point takedown less than 30 seconds into the match. Stevens countered with an escape shortly thereafter, tying it at two — a score that would remain until Stevens scored an escape in sudden death.
Muscatine 138-pounder Mason Crabtree also needed to come from behind during his match against Cael Grell but was able to pull off a 7-3 win.
Crabtree trailed 3-2 at the end of the second period. But at the outset of the third, he he rolled Grell for a reversal and notched a near fall in the process, flipping the scoreboard from the one-point deficit into a 7-3 lead with only a minute left in the match.
Likewise, Gavin McLeod faced a 5-3 deficit to start the second after Keaton Kruse scored a takedown and near fall early.
However, McLeod recovered to record a second period pin.
Heavyweight Togeh Deseh won via injury forfeit against Central DeWitt’s Cole Miller.
The two were locked when their momentum carried them out of bounds, and Miller’s ankle rolled under Deseh as they both went to the ground.
That ended the match in the first as Miller was unable to continue.
At 170, Tim Nimely needed less than a full period to pin the Sabers’ Payton Morgan.
“We’re excited that Nimely got a pin, we’re excited that Jett Fridley got a big win to start it off, we’re excited about Gage Stevens’ triple-overtime win and the Gavin McLeod got pin,” said Kane. “As a 9th-grader, (McLeod) getting a pin against a real solid (opponent) were some of the highlights.”
The 160-pounders started the proceedings at Muscatine High School. That ended 4-2 in favor of the Muskies’ Fridley.
Fridley was up 2-1 to start the third before he tacked on a two-point reversal with a minute remaining in the match. Those points ended up being crucial as Fridley’s opponent, Landon Peterson, added an escape late, but couldn’t make up the difference before running out of time.
“Really, at this point, it’s about finding things we can learn from to get better,” Kane said. “We’re in the thick of (the season) now. … We only focus on the things we can control, and where we have open weights, that’s just beyond us. We look at the contested matches and we look at things we can get better at. Everyone is dealing the uniqueness of this season, we’re making adjustments, schedule changes and trying to fit as much competition in as we can. There are moments where I get frustrated, but then I look around and realize it could always be worse.”