COLUMBUS JUNCTION — A Class 3A half nelson is the same as a Class 1A half nelson so an opponent on the mat is better than a forfeit or no opponent.
The Columbus/Winfield-Mount Union home wrestling meet Tuesday in Columbus Junction was scheduled against Super Conference opponents WACO and Pekin.
WACO brought four wrestlers and Pekin hasn’t filled a lineup so the Wildcats had been hoping to add an additional opponent. A couple possibilities fell through during the week but one of those called back at 2 p.m. Thursday and said, ‘thanks for letting us come compete.’ That possibility was Bettendorf, one of the larger schools in the state with a girl wrestling at 106 who is undefeated and a heavyweight that will play football for Iowa.
Bettendorf won 65-12 over the home team, 66-6 against Pekin and 78-0 on WACO, but nobody was really paying attention to the team scores. It was about getting the matches.
“Bettendorf is out of our league but hey let’s wrestle,” Pekin head coach Al Chapman said.
Pekin’s Mason Juhl, ranked eighth at 182 pounds in Class 1A and Columbus/Winfield-Mt. Union’s Lane Scorpil, ranked fifth at 113 in 2A, recorded the only wins against Bettendorf and each won by fall in the first round.
Ella Schmit won on points, won by fall and won by forfeit for Bettendorf.
“She’s undefeated wrestling varsity,” Bettendorf head coach Dan Knight said. “She’s the defending girls champ. She’s tough. She looks scrawny and skinny, but she’s strong and mean. She’s very quiet, but on the mat you better hold on because she does a great job.”
Chance Malone did a great job for the Wildcats. He lost 3-0 to future Hawkeye football player Griffin Liddle of Bettendorf, the closest match with the Bulldogs.
“Malone is constantly proving to himself that he is a better wrestler than he knows,” Columbus coach Joel Keller said. “He is having a lot of fun competing at a very high level. I think he learned that about himself tonight.”
The Super Conference battles were the meat of the evening and Pekin won 39-30 over the Wildcats and 48-12 over WACO. The Wildcats beat WACO 60-6 for a 1-1 league record on the night.
“Bettendorf brought a lot of fans so we had a lot of people come see us and we were able to show the crowd what the kids have been working on,” Keller said. “We’ve gone back and forth with Pekin the last couple years and it seems to always come down to one match and the 170 match decided it tonight.”
That match was a 7-3 decision won by Pekin’s Blake Juhl over Gerardo Orozco. Columbus won four matches by forfeit, Pekin two.
It seems every team has holes in their lineup nowadays and especially with the coronavirus rampaging it is important to score points on the matches wrestled. Pekin got pins in all of the contested matches with the Wildcats except the 170.
“I have a lot of respect for Columbus and the coaches, so to pull off a win at their home means a lot,” Chapman said. “Even if we were hitting on all cylinders, we would only have 10 spots full and we haven’t hit on all cylinders quite yet.”
Pekin has an 11-7 record in duals this season and hosts a tournament Saturday.