ANAMOSA - Even while dealing with numerous injuries and illnesses, Anamosa boys wrestling coach Bret Jones continues to be amazed by the improvement his team his team makes each and every week, and Thursday, Jan. 14, hosting North Cedar, Mid-Prairie and Cascade, his team provided more proof of that fact.

      “These kids just keep impressing me with the way they go out and battle and never back down from any challenge,” said Jones, as his team opened with a lopsided 60-18 triumph over the Knights in a match that mainly featured forfeits.

      “There weren’t too many bouts out on the mat, but the ones that we did have we won most of them.”

      Anamosa and North Cedar hit the mat five times, with the Raiders winning three opening with a Nathan Keating 38-second pin rout over Seth Lyter at 182-pounds.

      Easton Wheeler followed with a 1:52 fall over Peyton Clarke before Mason Padgett closed the dual with yet another pin for the hosts taking down North Cedar’s Paul Stoffer in a mere 52-seconds at 145.

      Alex Casey, Jordan Brown, Connor Andresen, Robert Scranton and Aaron Casey were all handed forfeit wins for the hosts.

      The second dual of the night saw what Jones thought would be his team’s toughest test of the night against Mid-Prairie, and yet the Anamosa boys put up a fight against a very talented Golden Hawks team even in a 45-27 defeat.

      “On paper, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to compete with a team like Mid-Prairie,” Jones said. “But not only did we compete with them, we had opportunities to actually win that dual. We’re such a confident group of wrestlers right now knowing we can compete with just about anybody. It was great seeing that confidence in so many of the kids. We’re not scared of anyone.”

      Mid-Prairie got off to a hot start winning each of the first six bouts before Scranton posted a hard-fought 11-8 triumph over Malachi Sexton at 106.

      After the Golden Hawks claimed the next two bouts, the Raiders responded winning the last four, starting with a 1:20 pin win from Aaron Casey over Spencer Grout at 126. Wheeler was handed a forfeit win before Padgett cruised to a 3:38 fall over Evan Phillips. Alex Casey closed the dual with a 1:23 pin over Owen Trimpe.

      The final dual of the night saw the Raiders claim a 46-33 victory over Cascade.

      “The last time we wrestled Cascade it was a 42-40 match, this time we were able to extend things out a bit against them,” Jones said. “More proof of the improvement we’re making.”

      Keating rolled to an 11-0 decision over Cade Rausch to get the scoring started for the hosts before Brown followed with a 1:11 pin win over Chris Midkel at 195. Andresen made it three wins in a row pinning Kodey Miles in 3:25 at heavyweight before Dalton Soper was handed a forfeit victory at 220.

      Scranton completed his perfect night posting a 51-second fall over Cory Bradtke-Stelken and Sean Kirk made it seven wins in a row for the Raiders taking a forfeit at 113.

      Aaron Casey (4:19) and Alex Casey (3:26) also scored pin wins for the Anamosa team taking down Ty Frasher and Casey Koppes, respectively.

      It was great seeing the success Robert and Mason had,” Jones said. “Robert was a perfect 3-0 and Mason had a couple of impressive pin wins. Nate and Connor had some tough kids, but at this point of the season that’s exactly what they want and what they need as we head into the conference, sectional and district tournaments. The kids are doing what they need to do.”

      An eight-wrestler Anamosa squad made their way to the MFL-Mar Mac Invitational in Monona Saturday, Jan. 16, and against a 10-team field placed a solid fourth scoring 123.5 points.

      Andresen, ranked 10th in the state in class 2A, scored the lone championship on the day for the Raiders pinning MFL-Mar Mac’s class 1A fifth-ranked Jacob Trudo in the finals. Andresen opened with a fall over Maquoketa Valley’s Devin Smith.

      Alex Casey and Keating scored runner-up finishes at the tournament as Casey pinned St. Ansgar’s Derek Peterson in 5:57 in the 152 semifinals before being handed a 7-2 setback against Crestwood’s Clay Schemmel in the finals.

      Keating claimed an easy 15-0 technical fall over Waterloo West’s Drew Hundley in the 195 quarterfinals before pinning Crestwood’s Landen Bergan to advance to the finals. In the championship Keating was handed a 10-6 loss against Tripoli’s class 1A ninth-ranked Blake Brocka.

      “That Tripoli kid has only two losses on the season, and one of them is to Nate,” Jones said. “He battled and gave himself a chance at the end, and that’s all you can ask for. Connor continues to wrestle very well and was in control of his match against the MFL kid from start to finish.”

      Kirk posted a 2-2 record at the tournament and placed third at 113 while Brown was 2-1 to also score the Anamosa team third-place points at 182.

      Aaron Casey (126) and Wheeler (132) each tallied two victories on the day and were fourth at their respective weight classes while Scranton was sixth at 106.

      Crestwood dominated the tournament claiming the team title scoring 285 points while MFL-Mar Mac was runner-up with 193. Wapsi Valley tallied 149 points while the Raiders defeated St. Ansgar (107 points), Starmont (85.5), Waterloo West (69), Maquoketa Valley (64), Tripoli (59) and Clayton Ridge (12).

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