Jags pin down MHS in opener

Bobcat wrestling team falls to Ankeny Centennial in season debut, 54-11

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown senior Decker Mann, left, picks up Ankeny Centennial’s Lane Pruisner for a take down during his win in the 220-pound class on Thursday. The Jaguars beat the Bobcats 54-11 in Marshalltown’s season opener.

Looking purely at the score in Thursday night’s season opener for the Marshalltown wrestling team, a 54-11 loss to Ankeny Centennial that featured only three wins out of a possible 14 matches doesn’t look great, but when you break down the action in the Roundhouse the dual was closer than it appeared.

The Jaguars won five matches by pin, four matches by regular decision and two by forfeit over the Bobcats, taking the first eight meetings in the dual, while MHS won two matches by decision and one by technical fall.

Of those four decision wins, three of them were by three points or less and one was a 12-5 decision that easily could have been the same score in reverse for the Bobcats.

Given how close his team came to pulling out victories without actually coming out on top, Marshalltown head wrestling coach Mike Mann said it wasn’t a bad start to the season for his guys.

“That’s kind of where you want to find out where you’re at,” Mann said after the loss on Thursday. “I just keep preaching to these kids that it’s the little details that are going to make a difference. Unfortunately, it is what it is and it’s kind of what’s fun about wrestling, but you can make a mistake and I benefit because I just pinned you.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown sophomore Jordan Anderson, top, works Ankeny Centennial’s RIley McClaskey to the ground on his way to a decision win in the heavyweight division on Thursday in Marshalltown wrestling’s season opener.

After falling in the first eight matches to start the dual, senior Decker Mann stepped up to the mat to face Lane Pruisner from Ankeny Centennial, looking to give the Bobcats their first win of the meet.

Decker was able to accomplish that goal, taking a 3-1 decision victory over Pruisner in a match that he relatively dominated from start to finish. Coach Mann said he would have actually liked to see Decker get more aggressive and go for the pin in the match, but it was good to get on the winning side for the first time in the dual.

“We are trying to get him to be more aggressive, but when you get in tight situations you kind of revert back to what you’re used to,” coach Mann said. “In the last minute and a half we saw the other guy wasn’t even going to threaten to take us down, so then you look at your coaches thinking ‘hey, we are going to get our first win, let’s just go with it.’ In the past we’ve had situations like that and guys try to do something then get caught and lose the match. We will take the first one and go from there.”

Marshalltown’s best performance of the night came from sophomore Zach Bitker, who was in control of Jaguars sophomore Jackson Bresson from the onset in their 113-pound match. Bitker had Bresson on his side and close to a pin countless times in the tilt, but ultimately settled for a 17-1 technical fall win in the third round.

Mann said Bitker started his second season in a Bobcats uniform off great, building on a good showing during his freshman year.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown sophomore Zach Bitker, right, attempts to pin Ankeny Centennial’s Jackson Bresson during the second round of their bout on Thursday. Bitker won by technical fall.

“We had several freshmen last year that wrestled that are coming back as sophomores and he’s one of them where we were like ‘is he going to step up and get it done?'” Mann said. “For me to really say that, he had a good outing tonight so let’s see what he does in the next couple of weeks.”

Another sophomore started his year off with bang, as Jordan Anderson defeated Riley McKaskey in a 2-0 decision to earn his first win in the heavyweight division.

“I told Jordan I call him a gamer, and he asked me ‘what’s a gamer’ so I told him when the lights are on he shows up,” Mann said. “His season kind of started last year when he won the spot to go to districts at 220 and I thought he might be a 220-pounder again, but he has grown up and now he’s a full-blown heavyweight. I am sure (Luis) Ortiz is still wanting to challenge him, and we always perform when we have someone nipping at our heals.”

Due to some last-minute shuffling of the lineup, Mann said he had to turn to three freshmen to compete on the varsity level in their first meet, and he said all three performed admirably on Thursday.

John Loney lost a close match to Ankeny Centennial junior Reese Nesler, falling in a 7-4 decision, while Lucas Stevens and Carson Williams each lost by pin to older opponents. Mann said, given this was their first time stepping out under the lights at the high school level, he was happy with what his freshmen brought.

“I was really proud of the freshmen we put in tonight, we had some lineup issues and I talked to all three of them and they were willing to go,” he said. “I know it probably didn’t turn out the way they had hoped, but I asked them if they wanted to go and they said yes, so I admire their attitude and their heart and kudos to the freshmen, I was proud of them.”

As for how to learn from this first dual and flip some of the close losses into wins moving forward, Mann said he and the coaching staff need to sit down and work with each athlete individually on what they need to improve, though a lot of that applies to multiple wrestlers on the team.

“We just need to take each individual kid and kind of work on the things they are missing,” he said. “Basically you can blanket the whole team on some of those things.”

Marshalltown wrestling will look to continue improving on Saturday when it travels to its first tournament of the season at Montezuma, starting at 10 a.m.

Ankeny Centennial 54, Marshalltown 11

At Marshalltown

132–Darrien Rouse (AC) won by forfeit; 138–Eric Owens (AC) pinned Logan Baccam 2:15; 145–Reese Nesler (AC) dec. John Loney 7-4; 152–Desmond Vaughan (AC) pinned Lucas Stevens 1:05; 160–Logan Neils (AC) pinned Braydon Arnote 3:15; 170–Nic Leo (AC) dec. Brian Trowbridge 7-5; 182–Collin Honderd (AC) pinned Carson Williams 1:05; 195–Noah Stober (AC) dec. Jordan Fox 7-4; 220–Decker Mann (MHS) dec. Lane Pruisner 3-1; 285–Jordan Anderson (MHS) dec. Riley McClaskey 2-0; 106–Ethan Carter (AC) dec. Bennett Hageman 12-5; 113–Zach Bitker (MHS) tech. falled Jackson Bresson 17-1; 120–Noah Blubaugh (AC) pinned Jay Drummer 5:15; 126–Ben Monroe (AC) won by forfeit.