MINERAL POINT — As it is every year, the atmosphere at Friday’s SWAL wrestling dual between rivals Iowa–Grant/Highland and Mineral Point was fitting of the championship showdown it was.
Before a raucous crowd at Mineral Point High School, each team won seven of the 14 matches, but the host Pointers scored nine more bonus points than the visiting Panthers to earn a 39–30 victory.
“I thought most of the guys wrestled very hard,” said Iowa–Grant/Highland head coach Ryan Allen. “It was a great dual with an electric atmosphere that cannot be replicated by anything else. We ended up winning seven out of the 14 matches but could not match the bonus points they scored.”
Mineral Point (14–4, 6–0 SWAL) had five pins and a forfeit among its seven victories for a total of 18 bonus points.
Conversely, the Panthers (6–7, 5–1) earned bonus points in just three of its seven wins, including back-to-back wins at 285 pounds and 106 to open the dual.
Iowa–Grant senior Ben McFall pinned Brian Steffes 1:30 into the opening match.
Sophomore Shania Sarbacker picked up a forfeit at 106 and the Panthers had an early 12–0 lead.
But the host Pointers scored four straight six-point victories, three pins and one forfeit, over the next four weight classes to build a 24–12 advantage.
Coach Allen’s team had a run of three straight wins at 132, 138 and 145, but each was just a regular decision and I–G still trailed 24–21 after nine matches.
Senior Tucker Sarbacker overcame an off night to hold on for a 9–8 victory over Ross Siegenthaler at 138.
“Siegenthaler had a great game plan and stuck to it,” said Allen. “Tucker gave up a few easy takedowns and it made the match very interesting. I’m sure Tucker will bounce back quickly and get himself ready for the conference tournament.”
Sophomore Luke Nowak notched a 7–5 win over Brandon Forseth at 145 and junior Brian Halverson scored a one-point, 5–4 victory over Tuker Pickel at 152.
“Luke did a good job getting the win and hopefully he will use that momentum to roll right into conference,” said Allen. “Brian did a great job sticking to his plan and getting a couple big takedowns to win a huge match for us. Brian wrestled well and I’m excited to see him wrestle at conference and regionals.”
The Pointers put the dual out of reach with a run of three straight victories capped by senior Robbie Chubb’s pin of Kyle Soderstrom at 182.
The win was the 100th of Chubb’s fine prep career.
The Panthers closed the gap with wins in the final two matches — a pin from senior Derek Peat at 195, and a 3–1 decision from junior Cody Rider at 220 — but it was already too late.
Both Iowa–Grant/Highland and Mineral Point will travel to Richland Center this Saturday for the annual SWC–SWAL Clash conference tournament.
Mineral Point 39,
(from Friday, Jan. 25 @ Mineral Point)
285: Ben McFall, IG/H, pinned Steffes, MP, 1:30. 106: Shania Sarbacker, IG/H, received a forfeit. 113: Suddeth, MP, pinned Jenks, IG/H, 3:39. 120: Pittz, MP, received forfeit. 126: Baker, MP, pinned Weston Saturn, IG/H, 2:34. 132: Riley, MP, pinned Marshall McClain, IG/H, 1:14. 138: Tucker Sarbacker, IG/H, dec. Siegenthaler, 9–8. 145: Luke Nowak, IG/H, dec. Forseth, MP, 7–5. 152: Brian Halverson, IG/H, dec. Pickel, MP, 5–4. 160: Schmitz, MP, pinned Caleb Yager, IG/H, 3:40. 170: Cody, MP, dec. Ross Caygill, IG/H, 7–3. 182: Chubb, MP pinned Kyle Soderstrom, IG/H, 3:54. 195: Derek Peat, IG/H, pinned Hughes, MP, 1:42. 220: Cody Rider, IG/H, dec. Schmitz, MP, 3–1.