CEDAR RAPIDS - Never let it be said Anamosa wrestling coach Trever Greene has ever backed down from a challenge.

      Greene wants his Raiders to compete against the best, giving them every opportunity to reach their goals, which for most is to make the state tournament.

      Anamosa faced stiff challenges Saturday, Dec. 21, taking part at the annual Doug Phillips Dual tournament hosted by Cedar Rapids Xavier, and once again it was challenge accepted by the Raider wrestlers.

      “There is always a lot of great competition here, and that is exactly what we wanted to face heading into the Christmas break,” said Greene, as his team tallied a 2-3 overall record going against the host Saints, as well as Williamsburg, Alburnett, West Liberty and Marion.

      “This gives us a pretty good gauge for where we are as a team right now, and I have to say I like what I saw out of our kids at this tournament and where we are heading into the 2020 part of our schedule.”

      Anamosa opened the tournament with an impressive 42-34 victory over the host Saints.

      “What a great way to start the day with a win over Xavier,” Greene said. “This is the second year in a row we’ve beaten Cedar Rapids Xavier and we did it with the dual coming down to the final match.”

      With Anamosa holding a narrow 36-34 lead, Raider 10th-ranked heavyweight Connor Andresen was called upon to close it out, and the junior came through in grand style pinning Xavier’s Xander Eberle in 2:52 to clinch the win.

      Aaron Casey (1:43), Caleb Bowser (1:07), Alex Casey (1:47) and 10th-ranked Nathan Keating (1:07) all added pin wins for the Anamosa team while Tysen Gravel and Cameron Hansen scored forfeit victories.

      The Raiders looked to open their tournament with consecutive triumphs going against powerful West Liberty in the second dual of the day, but were handed a 45-31 defeat that had their coach much happier than he was just a week earlier when his team faced the very same Comets.

      “This was night and day compared to the last time we wrestled West Liberty at Tipton,” Greene said. “They destroyed us last time, but not this time. It was great to see the fight the kids had this time around. We made huge improvements in just a week span.

      Mitch Engelbart (3:20), Keating (2:28), Andresen (57-seconds) and Gravel (5:07) all came through with falls for the Raiders against West Liberty while Aaron Casey (10-5) and Dominic Haas (17-7) added decision triumphs keeping Anamosa in the match from start to finish.

      Going against the team that wound up dominating the dual tournament in Williamsburg, the Blue Raiders were handed a rough 78-4 loss at the hands of the Red Raiders.

      “Not much to say,” Greene said. “Williamsburg had their way with everyone here, and that included us. Though we did have some pretty good matches with them.”

      Alex Casey posted the lone Anamosa win in the dual defeating Gable Clayton 14-5.

      “Alex’s match was awesome,” Greene said. “They were tied 2-2 going into the second period and then Alex just took over. Connor had a big match too as two state-ranked kids faced off with Connor eventually getting pinned, but he really battled all the way through against the seventh-ranked kid.”

      Andresen was handed a 5:43 pin setback against Williamsburg’s Cole Cremeens.

      Williamsburg went a perfect 5-0 on the day cruising to wins over Alburnett (75-6), Marion (56-18), Cedar Rapids Xavier (67-12) and West Liberty (52-25).

      The Raiders picked up their second win of the day in their fourth dual claiming a 35-24 victory over Alburnett.

      “This was another nice one to get,” said Greene, as individual results from this match were not available. “Alburnett has a really good program with full line-up and the kids did a great job of bouncing back after the tough Williamsburg dual.”

      Anamosa closed the tournament with a 48-32 setback against Marion.

      Engelbart (1:27), Hansen (3:12), Andresen (1:54) and Aaron Casey (3:56) all scored pin wins for the Raiders while Alex Casey (17-2) added a technical fall triumph and Keating (14-8) a decision victory against the Indians.

      “Overall, I was happy with the way we wrestled against Marion, but we just gave up too many bonus points and allowed them to score too many points at the end of periods. It was our fifth dual of the day and the kids were tired, but we just need to clean those things up and that’s what we’ll work on now over the break.”

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