Muscatine senior Brennan Broders said it still hasn’t hit him that Thursday’s home triangular was the last home meet for the four wrestling seniors. It’s easy to see why he feels that way, as Thursday was the first day back from winter break for high school students and the Muscatine wrestling team still has six meets left in the regular season after its second and final home meet.
“It’s just the way the schedule landed,” Muscatine wrestling coach Joe Kane said. “Doing triangular meets only gets you a home meet every third year instead of every other.”
Still, the Muscatine seniors made sure to go out in style in its home gym with by sweeping the triangular with a 34-27 dual win over Burlington and a 57-22 win over Wapello despite being down a few wrestlers following the holiday break.
Broders and fellow seniors Brandon Bryant, Dalton Sell and Shane Mathias combined to go 8-0 to lead the way for the Muskies.
“We have four awesome seniors,” Kane said with a smile. “But I still think our best wrestling is in front of us.”
Bryant won by fall over Wapello’s Dakota Boline in 18 seconds and by a 5-3 decision over Burlington’s Tyler Bailey. Mathias and Sell, meanwhile, each pinned their Burlington opponent before each winning by default over Wapello.
For Sell, winning by fall over Burlington’s Elias Cordero in 2 minutes, 16 seconds was a “real quality win,” to improve to 17-5 on the season.
“A few weeks ago that kid put him in a six-minute battle,” Kane said. “Tonight Dalton dominated, took care of business and showed what he’s truly capable of, which is dominating good wrestlers.”
Mathias’ pin came in 1 minute, 43 seconds over Burlington’s Nash Garlow.
For Broders, the senior said he felt rusty entering the night after the holiday break and was frustrated he let his opening match drag on as long as he did. Even so, the Muskie standout won by fall over Burlington’s Drake Bailey in 3 minutes, 24 seconds.
“That first match and first period I was just being neutral,” Broders said. “I just didn’t feel like I was ending up where I usually do. The biggest thing coming into here is my positioning, which is obviously key in this sport.”
Certainly, none of that was an issue in his second match, which was a pin of Wapello’s James Wykert in 44 seconds.
“That (first match) really fueled my second match,” Broders said. “Not doing what I expect out of myself is kind of what fueled that.”
Although the seniors were the headliners, the underclassmen had moments of brilliance for Muscatine, too.
Carson Harder was pinned in his opening match against Burlington, but the junior bounced back with a 4-2 decision over Wapello’s Christopher Ewart.
“Carson has been looking for one of those quality wins,” Kane said. “It was great to get one in front of the home crowd.”
Sophomore Tim Nimely cruised to a 5-1 decision over Burlington’s Landon Wynn while junior Ryan Townsend won both of his matches by fall and spent a total of 1 minute, 36 seconds on the mat. Meanwhile, Kane said fellow junior Cedric Castillo looked like a state-placer caliber wrestler in a 12-4 major decision of Bryce Angle during which he was always in good position and putting points on the board.
“When you do those things, you beat good kids,” Kane said. “What I’m seeing is a high level in spurts, and I need to see that for entire matches.”
Still, Kane’s focus remained on his four seniors, who dominated on the mat Thursday night and have set the standard in the wrestling room all season.
“The ripple effect of what they have done is far beyond what we can even see,” Kane said. “They have set a new standard of excellence on our team. I will point to this group of seniors for years to come and say ‘those are guys that did it right and acted like champions in all areas of their lives.’”
Wapello, meanwhile, lost its second dual to Burlington by a score of 54-23. Reigning state runner-up Daniel Meeker dominated the lone match he wrestled by beating Burlington’s River Belger in a 15-0 technical fall.