WYOMING - Having four wrestlers in the finals at their own John Byers Invitational Saturday, Jan. 23, Midland wrestling coach Casey Huston’s dream scenario played out perfectly as Damon Huston, Jared Crock, Caden Ballou and Cayden Miller made the championship round a perfect 4-for-4 for the hosts as each posted wins in their final home bouts of the 2020-21 campaign.
“As a team we tied for third place with Southeast Polk with Wapello winning the tournament,” said Huston, as his team scored 190 points overall. “Monticello finished in second and all three of those teams had 14 scoring wrestlers where we only had 11, so I think we had a solid day. Putting four in the finals and going 4-for-4 was a great way to end the day.”
Huston, ranked sixth in the state in class 1A, was his normal dominant self, cruising to the 126-pound crown pinning Maquoketa’s Levi Livermore (44-seconds), Southeast Polk’s Drew Wolfe (1:01) and in the finals Monticello’s Owen Ray (2:43).
Crock also pinned his way to the title, taking the top spot at 145 with falls over Monticello’s Elias Eyzel (1:16), Southeast Polk’s Dominic Burriola (4:23) and Wapello’s Christopher Ewart (4:56).
Ballou followed his teammate’s lead pinning West Branch’s Joe Seydel (1:47), Southeast Polk’s Yunusi Tobongye (1:59), Wapello’s Caleb Ealey (3:03) and in the finals Southeast Polk’s Quentin Hill (3:55).
Miller, ranked eighth in the state at 182, cruised to his championship as well opening with a 1:39 pin win over Maquoketa’s Ben Thines before adding falls over Southeast Polk’s Thaden Abbas (14-seconds) and Central Elkader’s Spencer Heer (55-seconds). In the finals Miller was handed a medical forfeit over Bellevue’s Jacob Waller.
Shayden Hansen had a big tournament going 4-1 on the day in placing third at 120 pinning Iowa City Regina’s Seth Lenz (4:21), West Branch’s Dylan Olson (1:42), Central Elkader’s Daniel Royer (3:38) and Wapello’s Garret Dickey (3:47).
Carson Hunter added a 2-2 tournament for the hosts pinning Southeast Polk’s Ean McDaniel in 3:01 to get his day started before adding a 5:08 fall over Southeast Polk’s Caden Franzen in the consolation semi-final on his way to placing fourth at 152.
Coy Petersen (106), Jordan Buford (132) and Keegan Rushford (220) all picked up wins on the mat on their way to placing fifth at their respective weights while Logan Bicknese (120), Lucas Ervin (138) and Cael Eganhouse (195) also competed for the Midland team at the tournament.
Wapello’s 210 points won the Byers Invitational team title while Monticello scored 194 points to take runner-up. Midland defeated Maquoketa (130), West Branch (96), Durant (85), Central Elkader (70), Bellevue (61), Iowa City Regina (46), Clayton Ridge (38) mand Northeast (13).
The Eagles’ huge week on the mat began in Solon Monday, Jan. 18, where Midland opened a three-dual night with a 48-36 loss against the host Spartans.
Miller (2:48), Petersen (1:23), Huston (1:06), Buford (5:23), Crock (1:55) and Ballou (1:10) all scored pin wins in the dual for the visitors.
“Against Solon we gave up five forfeits due to having wrestlers out,” Huston said. “Of the nine matches wrestled, we won six, and all by fall.”
The Eagles bounced back to claim a 41-24 triumph over Tipton in the second dual of the night.
After falling into an 18-0 hole against the Tigers, Midland went on a 35-0 run as Hansen, Bicknese, Huston, Buford, Crock, Hunter and Ballou all posted victories. Miller closed the match with a 24-second fall.
The final dual of the evening saw the Eagles edged in a 43-42 final that came down to criteria.
“We gave Muscatine 24 points on forfeits,” Huston said. “It was tough going 1-2 on the night when we won the majority of our matches, but we’re seeing the kids start to peak at the right time, which is very promising. Damon, Jared, Caden and Cayden all went 3-0 on the night.”
Midland was back on the mat Thursday, Jan. 21, and against MFL-Mar Mac, Alburnett and host North Linn, tallied an 0-3 overall record.
The Eagles opened with a 52-21 loss against MFL-Mar Mac as Ballou (1:14), Miller (23-seconds) posted pins while Eganhouse added a 6-1 decision. Huston was handed a forfeit triumph.
“Keegan Rushford was back on the mat for the first time in two weeks and lost a battle in overtime,” Huston said. “Keegan wrestled very well but just came up a little short.”
The highlight of the night came at 126-pounds against Alburnett, as Huston dominated the Pirates’ eighth-ranked Brody Neighbor posting an impressive 53-second pin win in what ended as a 56-24 Midland defeat.
Miller (nine-seconds) and Ballou (1:00) added pin wins for the Eagles while Petersen claimed a forfeit triumph.
The final dual of the night saw Midland handed a 42-36 setback against the host Lynx.
Rushford (1:49), Huston (36-seconds) and Ballou (2:42) all scored falls for the Eagles while Miller, Petersen and Crock added forfeit wins.