LISBON - There was good news and there was bad news for the Midland wrestling team competing at an absolutely loaded class 1A sectional tournament in Lisbon Saturday, Jan. 8.
The good news?
The Eagles advanced two wrestlers (Cayden Miller and Damon Huston) on to the district round in Wilton Saturday, Feb. 15.
The bad news?
Midland advanced only two wrestlers on to the district round.
Eagle coach Casey Huston wanted so much more.
“We had a few bright moments on the day, but I feel as a team we underachieved by a long shot,” said Huston, as his team scored 116 points to place fourth at the eight-team event.
“Don’t know if it was nerves from our young guys or what, but we should have come away from sectionals with a minimum of four guys advancing to districts, and we only came away with two.”
Miller (30-5 record), ranked 10th in the state at 160-pounds, was the first to clinch his spot into the district round pinning Bellevue’s Jacob Waller in the championship match.
“Cayden wrestled really well on the day,” Huston said. “If he wrestles within his ability and stays away from the sloppy wrestling, he can compete with anyone.”
Miller opened sectionals with a quick 1:06 pin win over Cascade’s Ted Weber in the semi-final round and will start his district journey in Wilton on Saturday against Louisa-Muscatine’s Hayden Cavelage (20-9).
Huston (45-2), ranked third in the state at 120, was his dominant self early on opening with a 1:20 fall over Bellevue’s Dustyn Talbot in the semi-finals before being handed a stunning 3:43 pin setback at the hands of Lisbon’s seventh-ranked Brandon Paez in the title tilt.
Huston was forced to wrestle-back to earn his spot at districts and was calm and cool under what was intense pressure conditions pinning Alburnett’s Blaine McGraw in a mere 57-seconds.
“Damon finished second losing to the Lisbon wrestler he defeated 8-4 just seven days earlier,” Huston said. “He looked very flat in that match, but we have a week to get back to work. Kids need to prepare themselves for matches of this level both mentally and physically with a good hard warm-up before stepping onto the mat.”
Huston will begin his quest to return to the state tournament opening districts against Wapello’s Chase Witte (26-10) on Saturday.
The Eagles had several close calls as Shayden Hansen (37-13), Jared Crock (22-9), Caden Ballou (32-17) and Carson Hunter (31-16) all scored third-place finishes at 113, 138, 145 and 152 pounds, respectively.
Logan Bicknese (22-24) was fifth at 106 while Kaleb Westphal (11-29) and Cael Eganhouse (15-28) were sixth at 170 and heavyweight, respectively.
Lisbon dominated the sectional winning the team title scoring 292.5 points while Alburnett was runner-up scoring 177 points.
Bellevue claimed third with their 117-point total while the Eagles defeated Cascade (115 points), North Cedar (84), Northeast (57) and Central City (28).