While Boone Central/Newman Grove finished further down the team standings than the Cardinals would have liked at Saturday’s Mid-State Conference wrestling championships, there were definite highlights.
Garrett Cornwell and Jon Merten were weight class champions, with Cornwell voted the meet’s ‘Outstanding Wrestler.’ Trey Schafer just missed giving the Cardinals three champs, placing second, and Dalton Rasmussen placed fourth.
Boone Central/Newman Grove (88), again wrestling shorthanded, finished sixth in the tournament won by a powerful Battle Creek (227) squad.
“We did not place as high as we would have liekd as a team, nor place as many guys as we would have liked, but on the positive side, we had more than one conference champ for the first time since 2009,” Cardinal Coach Dale Bonge commented. “Due to injuries, we were competing with Will (Grape) and Bryton (Fowlkes). With them inthe lineup, we are likely in the hunt for second place.”
Bonge had praise for BC/NG’s two champions.
“Garrett had an awesome day and brought his level up a notch or two,” Bonge said. “He pinned his first man and controlled a tough semifinal opponent.
“In the finals, Garrett faced Shaw of O’Neill, who had been rated #1 in Class B and is currently ranked #4. The match was knotted 0-0 after the first period. In the second period, Shaw chose bottom and Garrett rode him out to keep it scoreless going into the final period. Garrett scored the first point with an escape and followed with a takedown for a 3-0 lead. Shaw scored an escape, but Garrett answered with another takedown and ride-out for a 5-1 win.
“Garrett’s title against such a quality opponent was impressive enough to have him voted the outstanding wrestler of the tournament.
“Jom cruised through his first two matches with first-period pins. In the finals, Jon’s opponent came in with a solid 22-6 record, but Jon was dominant, scoring four takedowns enroute to a 13-3 lead before recording another pin. Jon had been struggling all year in ‘pulling the trigger’ on his shots. For this meet, we can say problem cured.”
Boone Central/Newman Grove will next be in action at the B1 District tournament Friday and Saturday at York High School. First-round wrestling begins at 4:00 p.m. Friday. The final sessions will be held Saturday, beginning at 9:30 a.m.