LIVINGSTON - Trailing perennial conference power Mineral Point 25-18 with four matches remaining in last Friday’s night’s Southwestern Wisconsin Activities League wrestling dual the host Iowa-Grant Panthers were right where they wanted to be.
I-G senior standouts Brandon Pierick, Logan Bollant, Blake Welu had yet to wrestle and the Panthers were within striking distance.
Those I-G seniors won all three of their matches, one via pin and another by forfeit, to pull off a critical 31-28 victory that could very well propel I-G to its first SWAL duals title since 2005-06, the program’s only regular season conference title since 1973.
Pierick scored a narrow 4-2 decision over Garrett Rose at 160 pounds, and Bollant scored a 14-1 major decision over Josh Webber at 170 to tie the match.
Mineral Point head coach Scott Schmitz then elected to move once-beaten junior Robbie Chubb (12-1) up a weight to face I-G junior Derek Peat at 195, thus surrendering a forfeit to Welu (9-0) at 182. Schmitz was gambling Chubb could pin Peat to force a tie, but Peat went the distance and almost pulled off an upset before falling to Chubb, 7-6.
“I think it was a very good team win,” said Iowa-Grant head coach Ryan Allen. “It took everyone’s hard work all week to prepare for this dual. We didn’t just rely on our seniors to get the job done. Beating Mineral Point was a goal of ours this year for sure. However, we have other, more important goals, that we need to focus on now. We need to make sure to improve on many aspects and keep getting better. The wrestling season is a very long one and we need to make sure we peak at the right time. We have to keep training our minds and our bodies correctly.”
Sophomore Cody Rider opened Friday’s dual with a 5-2 victory over Brenyn Schmit at 220 pounds, and junior Ben McFall followed with a 27-second pin of Brian Steffes as the Panthers grabbed an early 9-0 lead.
“I think Cody Rider did a great job stepping up and getting a big win. It was his first varsity match and I’m sure he felt a lot of pressure,” said I-G head coach Ryan Allen. “Also, Ben getting the pin was a big win for him and was a very much needed six-point victory for the team.”
After Mineral Point won three straight matches from 106-120, I-G freshman Luke Nowak scored a 3-1 decision over Jake Riley at 126, and I-G junior Tucker Sarbacker pinned Ross Siegenthaler at 132 to give the Panthers an 18-13 lead.
Iowa-Grant 31, Mineral Point 28
(from Friday, Dec. 16 @ Iowa-Grant)
220 - Cody Rider, IG, dec. Brenyn Schmit, MP, 5-2. 285 - Ben McFall, IG, pinned Brian Steffes, MP, :27. 106 - Reid Suddeth, MP, maj. dec. Jordan Jenks, IG, 9-0. 113 - Morgan Mewis, MP, pinned Shania Sarbacker, IG, 5:42. 120 - Deven Walrack, MP, dec. Logan Mills, IG, 6-3. 126 - Luke Nowak, IG, dec. Jake Riley, MP, 3-1. 132 - Tucker Sarbacker, IG, pinned Ross Seigenthaler, MP, 1:11. 138 - Tucker Pickel, MP, pinned Murilo Luques, IG, 1:12. 145 - Cody Bertram, MP, dec. Jake Yelinek, IG, 11-5. 152 - Todd Tibbis, MP, dec. Cody Belken, IG, 3-1. 160 - Brandon Pierick, IG, dec. Garrett Rose, MP, 4-2. 170 - Logan Bollant, IG, maj. dec. over Josh Webber, MP, 14-1. 182 - Blake Welu, IG, won by forfeit. 195 - Robbie Chubb, MP, dec. Derek Peat, IG, 7-6.