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DES MOINES — No wrestling program in the state of Iowa has made more State Dualsappearances than the 23 made by Don Bosco of Gilbertville.

And nobody has more State Duals championship match appearances (15) than the Dons.

But as he was looking at the State Duals history recently, Don Bosco head coach Tom Hogan noticed something — Davenport Assumption has one more title (nine) than the Dons.

“That gives us a little something more to chase this weekend to try to even it up with Assumption,” Hogan said. “We’ve qualified more than anybody, but we are one behind Assumption as far as titles go, so that is what we are aiming to do ... get that all squared.”

Don Bosco enters Wednesday’s 1A championships as the top-seeded team looking for its first State Duals title since it won its sixth consecutive in 2010.

The chase begins with West Sioux Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.

It won’t be an easy task to match Assumption for the Dons, who last February lost in the 1A State Duals final to Lisbon, 45-26.

The second-seeded Lions, along with third-seeded Denver, are two formidable foes with the State Duals figuring to be the start of a week-long battle between the three, all of whom qualified nine individuals for the traditional tournament that starts Thursday.

Don Bosco has already topped Lisbon twice during the regular season — 48-21 at the Battle of Waterloo and then in a much closer dual on Jan. 25 in Lisbon, 34-28.

“It’s going to be fun,” Hogan said. “It’s a whole new game.”

Denver owns a 43-30 win over Don Bosco in a dual contested on Dec. 7, and the Cyclones have also split duals with New Hampton/Turkey Valley, the top-seeded team in Class 2A.

Denver and Lisbon did not face each other head-to-head in a dual, but the Cyclones beat the Lions (238.5-210.5) to win the Tripoli Invitational.

“We are excited for the opportunity,” Denver head coach Chris Krueger said. “Our focus is to bring a team trophy home in each team race and get all nine of our guys on the award stand.

“Our guys are ready to step up and sacrifice on Wednesday, go at whatever weight they need to go. Then on Wednesday night we will turn our focus to traditional and prepare each individual so he can go out and reach his goals starting on Thursday.”

As Denver-Tripoli, the program claimed the Class 2A State Duals title in 2010. As a stand-alone program, this is Denver’s first State Duals berth. The Cyclones open against Interstate 35 in the first round with a potential showdown with Lisbon in the semifinals.

New Hampton/Turkey Valley won its fourth State Duals crown last year, topping Solon, 45-23, in the 2A final.

The Chickasaws enter as the top seed in the 2A, but head coach Nick Hemann feels it is anybody’s title to take.

“Honestly, it will be an interesting tournament,” Hemann said. “We see a Webster City team that has four or five ranked guys and those guys match up with our ranked guys. Then if we get past Webster City we will get either West Delaware or Davenport Assumption and both those teams are wrestling well.

“Our kids are excited to go down there and try to repeat what we did last year. It will take our entire team to get it done.”

The Chickasaws, who finished a half-point out of sweeping both the State Duals and traditional team titles last year, want to do everything possible to sweep gold trophies this week.

NH/TV returns more than 10 wrestlers who competed on last year’s State Duals title team.

“We want to go out with a bang,” said two-time state champion Michael Blockhus. “We not only want to win State Duals and state traditional, but we want to dominate them.

“Our biggest thing right now is getting everybody unified as one big team.”


Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Courier

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