CEDAR FALLS — Michael Kelly went rogue Thursday.
At least that is what his Cedar Falls wrestling staff claimed after he told them to wear red polos to the Tigers’ opening matches against Iowa City High and Cedar Rapids Prairie to begin the 2017-18 season only to come out in black.
“They told me all night that I wore black and told them red because I’m the head coach now and wanted to stand out,” Kelly smiled while glaring over at his laughing staff. “That is not true. I couldn’t find my red one so I wore black.”
On the mat, Kelly and his staff saw a lot of things his team can build on in his debut as head wrestling coach. Kelly saw fight. He saw wrestlers attacking, trying to score and wrestling to the finish.
The results weren’t always positive as the Tigers dropped duals to City High (44-25) and Prairie (40-25) in Mississippi Valley Conference action, but Kelly said there was plenty to learn from the night.
“I was really, really pleased with the way we competed,” Kelly said. “There is some technical things that we can correct, but our guys fought really hard. Even the matches we were out-matched we fought hard, competed hard and you can’t ask for much more as a coach.”
Both matches saw the Tigers (0-2) in a competitive spot midway through, but their opponents pulled away in each.
In the opener against City High, who opened the evening with a win over Prairie, 37-29, Cedar Falls won three straight matches to pull within 15-13.
Junior Jakey Penrith started the run off with a 1 minute and 21 second pin of Garrett Bormann at 113, while Jackson Barth followed with a major decision at 120 and Jack Plagge scored a 5-1 decision over Khurt Bacho at 126.
But the Little Hawks registered four consecutive pins and then a major decision to break the meet open. CF’s only other wins against the Hawks were pins by Dakota Southworth at 170 and Tommy Custer at 195.
“It was fun to watch,” Kelly added of seeing his team fight match after match. “Guys were attacking and trying to hit holds and that is all good.”
Against Prairie, the Tigers won six matches, and led 25-18 after Tanner Doyle pinned Jaron Lathrop in 2:40 at 160. However, the Hawks won the last five matches starting with a 17-5 major decision by Mike Jasa at 170 and then four pins to close the dual.
Two of Cedar Falls’ other highlights were a pin by Bailey Roybal at 106 over Austin Kegley, and Penrith’s second win of the night, a 14-1 major, over Nick Hatcher.
Penrith, who was seventh in the Class 3A at the state tournament last February at 113, says the energy around the Tigers’ room is good.
“We have the best staff in Iowa,” Penrith said. “Coach (Kelly) is very motivated. He loves to see us challenging ourselves and getting better.”
Cedar Falls hosts its annual Keith Young Invitational on Saturday, where both Penrith and Kelly hope to see more fight.
“We’re going to come back tomorrow, clean some stuff up technically that we saw tonight and hopefully improve for Saturday,” Penrith said.
IOWA CITY HIGH 44, CEDAR FALLS 25
220 — Jacob Dykes (ICH) pinned Clint Boevers, 1:53, 285 — Jacob Murry (ICH) pinned Justin Campbell, 4:54, 106 — Ethan Wood-Finley (ICH) dec. Bailey Roybal 7-1, 113 — Jakey Penrith (CF) pinned Garrett Bormann, 1:21, 120—Jackson Barth (CF) dec. Michael Santoro 14-1, 126 — Jack Plagge (CF) dec. Khurt Bacho 5-1, 132 — Lance Bormann (ICH) pinned Anthony Chiattello, 5:23, 138 — Joey Harney (ICH) dec. Christian Simpson 14-3, 145 — Jack Anson (ICH) pinned Jack Steffner, 1:59, 152 — Kyle Hefley (ICH) pinned Tanner Mostek 3:07, 160 — Wilfried Kadohou (ICH) dec. Tanner Doyle 18-9, 170 — Dakota Southworth (CF) pinned Joe Ring, 1:08, 182 — Brandon Lalla (ICH) dec. Collin Bohnenkamp 2-0, 195 — Tommy Custer (CF) pinned Jason Lemus, 2:52.
CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE 40, CEDAR FALLS 25
285 — Campbell (CF) dec. Gavin Ozmun, 7-5, 106 — Roybal (CF) pinned Austin Kegley, 5:49, 113 — Penrith (CF) dec. Nick Hatcher 14-1, 120 — Conrad Braswell (CRP) pinned Barth, 1:56, 126 — Johnny Washburn (CRP) dec. Plagge 9-3, 132 — Chiattello (CF) dec. Ted Zangerle 6-2, 138 — Simpson (CF) dec. Mason Johnson 8-4, 145 — Trenten Wennemark (CRP) pinned Steffner, 1:13, 152 — Justin Kruse (CRP) dec. Mostek 12-8, 160 — Doyle (CF) pinned Jaron Lathrop, 2:40, 170 — Mike Jasa (CRP) dec. Southworth 17-5, 182 — Derek Horak (CRP) Bohnenkamp, 2:52, 195 — Ashton Stoner-DeGroot (CRP) pinned Custer, 3:12, 220 — Zach Rairdin (CRP) pinned Boevers, 3:50.
IOWA CITY HIGH 37, CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE 29