WATERLOO — It’s been eight years since Don Bosco of Gilbertville won the last of its eight Class 1A State Dual championships.
The Dons served notice Saturday that they believe the drought has lasted long enough.
With a 3-0 performance, including a 48-21 win over Class 1A’s top-ranked Lisbon, Don Bosco became the first 1A school to capture the 32-team Battle of Waterloo at Young Arena.
The Dons are also the lowest seed, a three, to ever win the Battle.
“We have a scrappy group of guys, for sure,” Don Bosco head coach Tom Hogan said. “We won a lot of tight matches when we needed them and stayed off our backs in some places in some situations that we needed to. To win dual meets, that is what you have to do.”
The Dons opened with their win over Lisbon, who beat them 45-26 in last year’s State Duals final. Don Bosco was leading just 24-18 when it won a series of key matches to put it away.
First, sixth-ranked Max Wettengel scored a 7-1 win over fourth-ranked Ryne Mohfield at 132. Freshman Cael Rahnavardi followed with a pin at 138, allowing top-ranked 138-pounder Gable Fox to bump up to 145 where he edged third-ranked Cooper Siebrecht, 5-4.
Those wins pushed the Dons’ lead to 36-18 with three matches to go. Pins by Austin Hellman at 160 and Thomas Even at 170 sealed the deal.
“We got it done and if feels good heading into Christmas break,” said Hellman, who had three pins Saturday, two of which clinched Don Bosco wins. “We did good things today. It was fight. We talk about fight all the time.”
Then in a battle of 1-0 teams, Don Bosco used a similar surge to race past two-time defending Battle of Waterloo champion West Des Moines Valley, 45-30.
That was a titantic win for a school with a BEDS number that ranks 314th (83 students in grades 9-11) against the school with the most 10-12 students (2,176).
“Proud of the guys,” Hogan added. “We just fought hard all day.”
The Dons trailed 18-0 after the first three matches against the Tigers, but then proceeded to win eight of the next 10 including pins by Michael McClelland at 113, Easton Larson at 126, Rahnavardi at 138, Fox in eight seconds at 145 and Hellman at 160. Mixed in with those pins were a technical fall from Logan Lutgen at 152 and a major by Even at 170.
Don Bosco closed out its championship run with a 45-31 win over North Scott.
Don Bosco has talked about this being the team that wants to end its eight-year state championship drought.
“We have to keep going on from here,” Hellman added. “That is what we want, but from now until then, we are going to keep getting better every week.”
The Dons also know they haven’t arrived yet, either.
“It means we had a good weekend,” Hogan said of the victory. “That is what it says. Nothing is for sure until the end of February when that tournament is over.
“Obviously our goal is to win both gold trophies in Des Moines and this was a good stepping stone. It gives the kids confidence and proves to them we can beat good teams.”
Elsewhere, Class 2A’s top-ranked New Hampton rebounded from a loss to Don Bosco in the bracket finals on Friday to go 3-0 and win Pool 2.
The Chickasaws topped West Delaware (47-28), Class 1A’s third-ranked Denver (54-25) and Linn-Mar (58-23).
“The biggest thing was bouncing back after a tough loss,” said Chickasaws two-time state champion Michael Blockhus. “It was staying positive, having the team come together as one and having fun. When that happens you see it pay off and that is what happened today.”
By virtue of winning their first match on Friday night, a 42-35 win over Iowa City West, the Cedar Falls squad made its way into the afternoon session in Pool 4.
The lights were not as bright for the Tigers as they struggled throughout the day, being swept in the three bouts and losing their last dual, 33-30, to Clear Lake.
Cedar Falls also dropped decisions to Cedar Rapids Prairie (43-26) and Clarion-Goldfield (56-24).
“We were without Jakey (Penrith) in our lineup today and I thought Bailey Roybal stepped in and did a great job,” Cedar Falls head coach Michael Kelly said. “He went undefeated and battled hard and showed a lot of heart.
“To be honest, I thought we continued to get better as the tournament went on and you cannot ask for more than that.”
Jack Plagge and Tanner Doyle went 2-1 for the day with each wrestler claiming a pair of pins.
Other pool champions Saturday were Iowa City High (Pool 3), Clarion-Goldfield (Pool 4), Western Dubuque (Pool 5), Indianola (Pool 6), Union (Pool 7) and Waterloo West (Pool 8).
— Courier Sports Writer Rod Payne contributed to this story
CHAMPIONSHIP POOL — Don Bosco def. Lisbon, 48-21, West Des Moines Valley def. North Scott, 43-27, Don Bosco def. WDM Valley, 45-30, Lisbon def. North Scott, 36-35. Don Bosco def. North Scott 45-31. WDM Valley def. Lisbon 46-25.
Tournament champion: Don Bosco
POOL 2 — New Hampton def. West Delaware, 47-28, Denver def. Linn-Mar, 41-36, New Hampton def. Denver, 54-25, West Delaware def. Linn-Mar, 48-22. New Hampton def. Linn-Mar, 58-23, Denver def. West Delaware, 45-36.
Pool champion: New Hampton
POOL 3 — Waverly-Shell Rock def. Crestwood. 31-30, Iowa City High def. Lake Mills, 39-28, Iowa City High def. Waverly-Shell Rock, 42-24, Lake Mills def. Crestwood, 43-30. Waverly-Shell Rock def. Lake Mills, 35-33. Iowa City High def. Crestwood, 45-23.
Pool champion: Iowa City High.
POOL 4 — Cedar Rapids Prairie def. Cedar Falls. 43-26, Clarion-Goldfield def. Clear Lake, 39-24. Cedar Rapids Prairie def. Clear Lake, 36-33. Clarion-Goldfield def. Cedar Falls, 56-24. Clear Lake def. Cedar Falls, 33-30. Clarion-Goldfield def. Cedar Rapids Prairie 32.
Pool champion: Clarion-Goldfield.
POOL 5 — Independence def. Iowa City West, 42-40, Western Dubuque def. Davenport Assumption, 38-32, Western Dubuque def. Independence 51-27, Assumption def. Iowa City West, 42-31, Western Dubuque def. Iowa City West, 48-33. Davenport Assumption def. Independence, 41-40
Pool champion: Western Dubuque.
POOL 6 — Mason City def. Charles City, 59-15, Indianola def. Osage 46-32, Osage def. Charles City, 55-23, Indianola def. Mason City, 42-33, Indianola def. Charles City, 60-18. Mason City def. Osage, 39-33.
Pool champion: Indianola
POOL 7 — Union def. Nashua-Plainfield, 42-33, Waterloo East def. Pleasant Valley, 51-28, Union def. Pleasant Valley, 51-21, Waterloo East def. Nashua-Plainfield, 53-21, Pleasant Valley def. Nashua-Plainfield, 45-36. Union def. East, 37-33.
Pool champion: Union.
POOL 8 — Waterloo West def. Waterloo Columbus, 72-9, ADM def. Alburnett, 42-36, Alburnett def. Columbus, 42-24, West def. ADM, 54-19, ADM def. Columbus, 45-18, West def. Alburnett 66-18.
Pool champion: West