MONTICELLO - With a big crowd on hand in Monticello Thursday, Dec. 5, the Anamosa wrestling team got off to a slow start against the host Panthers, and the raucous home crowd made sure the Raiders knew it too.

      “It sure got loud in there for a while,” said Raider wrestling coach Trever Greene, as his team battled back and silenced the home fans with an impressive 42-37 dual meet triumph over a very good Monticello team.

      “Levi (Ehresman) was the one who really got things going in the right direction for us and quieted the big crowd. It’s always exciting when Anamosa and Monticello play in anything, and Monticello had a big crowd there to support them and we had a lot of our fans in the gym too cheering for us. It was a great atmosphere and to be able to come out on top in an environment like that was pretty impressive for the season-opening meets.”

      Trailing 22-0 after the Panthers claimed the first four bouts, two by fall, one by forfeit and one by major decision, Ehresman turned the tables for the Raiders coming through with a 2:20 pin win over Dylan Roher at 145-pounds that got the visitors on the board.

      They were just getting started.

      Alex Casey followed with a forfeit win at 152 before Bo Kramer tallied another win for the hosts stretching their advantage to 25-12, but it would be the last the Panthers would get for a while.

      Nathan Keating, ranked 10th in class 2A at 170-pounds, got things rolling again for the Raiders pinning Monticello’s Jaydon Ray in 2:23 while Jordan Brown (1:13), Alex Shover (1:04), Wes Minnaert (52-seconds) and Connor Andresen (4:47) all tallied consecutive triumphs as Anamosa exploded to take a 42-25 lead they would and could not lose.

      “It was great seeing the kids battle back after the slow start,” Greene said. “That shows just what they’re all made of. To walk into an environment like this and do what they did against a good Monticello team, that was impressive.”

      The Panthers claimed the final two bouts, but the damage was done as Anamosa claimed their first dual meet triumph of the 2019-20 campaign.

      The Raiders opened the night with a narrow loss against Camanche in a match that came down to criteria after the two teams ended the dual in a 42-42 tie.

      “This dual had me extremely pleased because Camanche is one of the top teams in our league,” Greene said. “They made it to the regional finals last year and for us to be right there with a chance to beat them is a very good sign for where we are as a program.”

      The dual went back-and-forth most of the night as Gage Engelbart (44-seconds), Aaron Casey (3:04), Alex Casey (2:21), Keating (2:36), Shover (17-seconds), Minnaert (18-seconds) and Andresen (35-seconds) all posted pin wins against the Indians.

      The final dual of the evening saw the Raiders take advantage of six forfeits while also winning five of the seven matches that played out on the mat in rolling to a lopsided 66-10 rout of Durant.

      “Congrats to Robert Scranton for getting his first career varsity win in this match,” said Greene, as Scranton pinned Durant’s Carlie Jo Fusco in a mere 1:42 at 106-pounds.

      “For the most part we took care of business in this match and wrestled well. It was a nice way to end what was a pretty successful season-opening night.”

      Along with Scranton, Aaron Casey (51-seconds), Cameron Breashears (1:55), Ehresman (1:07) and Dalton Lovell (59-seconds) all picked up win on the mat while Alex Casey, Keating, Brown, Shover, Minnaert and Andresen were all handed forfeit triumphs.

      Anamosa made a long trip to Wapsie Valley Saturday, Dec. 7, taking part in the Chris Davis Invitational where the Raiders scored 85.5 points to place ninth against a loaded 16-team field.

      “Overall, we competed really well and had six guys place out of the 10 that we brought, that’s not too bad,” Greene said. “We earned a lot of praise from opposing coaches during the course of the day about how hard we wrestle and how much fun we have. I was very proud to hear those words because that’s something I really want to instill in each of our wrestles. Toughness and a love for the sport, and I’m glad that shows out on the mat and on the sideline.”

      The Raiders crowned one champion with Keating claiming the top spot at 170 cruising to a 3-0 record on the day.

      “Nate took control right away and never let up,” Greene said. “He had a great day. He’s really picked up his offense this year and it showed on Saturday. Nate’s a leader for this team and one of our captains, and he led the way at this tournament.”

      Keating opened with a 17-1 technical fall win over Wapsie Valley’s Hunter Ackerman before pinning Waterloo Columbus’ Alex Bauer in a mere 36-seconds. In the 170-pound championship match, Keating had no trouble dominating Central Springs’ Max Howes taking a 12-4 final.

      Andresen, ranked eighth in 2A, advanced all the way to the heavyweight championship bout before being handed a 1-0 setback against Riceville’s class 1A ninth-ranked Chris Eastman. The Raider junior opened with pin wins over Rockford’s Jacob Titus (1:26) and Nashua-Plainfield’s Landon Pratt (44-seconds) before defeating West Fork’s Levi Janssen (10-2) in the semi-final round.

      Tysen Gravel (113-pounds), Shover (195) and Minnaert (220) all placed fifth at the tournament while Lovell was sixth at 160.

      Gage Engelbart, Ehresman and Brown also competed at the tournament for the Anamosa team, which was won by Nashua-Plainfield who scored 190.5 points. The Raiders defeated HLV (66 points), Riceville (59), Waukon (47), West Fork (34), Central City (13) and Rockford (0).

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