Feb. 9—MORAVIA — At first, Mother Nature seemed to be working against Centerville and Moravia getting together on the mat.
The Appanoose County schools were scheduled to meet in a high school wrestling dual at Lakeview Gymnasium on Jan. 16. The meet was called off due to frigid winter weather and appeared to be lost among meets that would not be able to be rescheduled.
Mother Nature, however, created an opportunity for Centerville and Moravia to ultimately meet up at Moravia High School last week. Van Buren County, the fourth team scheduled to compete at the Moravia quadrangular meet along with Wayne and North Mahaska, had to make the trip to WACO for a rescheduled triangular leaving a vacancy to fill.
Centerville gladly took the opportunity to face the Mohawks, as well as North Mahaska and Wayne, in what proved to be a competitive late-season night of wrestling. The Big Reds would secure two wins on the night, including a 42-39 win over Moravia in a neighborly dual that went right down to the final match.
"We've been cancelled so many times that it was nice to get some matches in before districts," Centerville head wrestling coach Mason Whisler said. "We've had Moravia on the schedule a couple times and it just didn't work out. Mother Nature was kind of against throughout January. It wound up being helpful to gain some confidence going into the postseason. We had good matches from all three teams here. It required some big wins from several of our guys to come out of here with a winning record."
Clayton McDonald would find himself facing off with Moravia freshman Max McCoy in the match that would ultimately decide the dual between the Big Reds and Mohawks. Trailing 39-36 heading into the 106-pound match, McDonald needed to give Centerville a chance to win the dual on criteria.
Instead, McDonald took matters into his own hands scoring the winning fall over McCoy midway through the second period.
"I was trying to get into his arms. I just kept his head down so he couldn't get up and tight waist him each time he tried to get up," McDonald said. "My biggest goal was to get the pin. I knew I could get it. My coaches told me I had to win it, so that was my mindset. I didn't pay attention to the team score. I just knew I needed to win, so that's what I focused on."
Centerville also secured two late falls against Wayne to secure a 48-30 win over the Falcons. Brian Snyder, coming off his run to a South Central Conference title, pinned Cutler Buban 84 seconds into a 215-pound match before Logan Caraccio closed out the Big Red dual win pinning Cooper Petty in 1:34 of the heavyweight match between the teams.
"Brian's looking great. He's peaking at the right time of the season," Whisler said of Snyder. "He's looking good and he's feeling good. Things are looking good for him going into districts."
North Mahaska was able to emerge from the Moravia quadrangular with three wins, closing out the night winning 46-33 over Centerville. Matt Genobana, another SCC champion for the Big Reds, scored another impressive win against the Warhawks moving up in weight to secure a 3-2 decision over Charlie Goemaat at 120 pounds.
"Matt's a tough kid. He's a competitor," Whisler said. "He's going to give it his all out there and fight for every single point."
Moravia also scored a final win, taking down Wayne 39-25 to close out Senior Night for the Mohawks. Jesse Myhr got the ball rolling in the direction of the Mohawks, pinning Lane Ogden in 65 seconds of a 138-pound match for the first of three straight wins that erased an early 12-6 Falcon lead in the dual.
"This is my first year wrestling. I've just been coming out here to do my best," Myhr said. "That's the first time I've ever tried a cradle in a match. I've been practicing that really hard. I really do love that move. I'll probably be sticking with that move."
Centerville closed the dual portion of their season with losses to Wayne (37-36 on criteria), Des Moines East (51-22), Knoxville (48-32) and Fort Madison (48-33) ending the year with a 6-13 record. The win over Wayne, meanwhile, wrapped a 6-22 year in dual competition for the Mohawks.
Both Centerville and Moravia now set their sights on trips to the Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament. The Big Reds head to Fairfield on Saturday for the Class 2A, District 3 tournament at Dan Breen Gymnasium while Moravia heads to Truro to compete in the Class 1A, District 3 tournament hosted by Interstate 35.
"It's just a matter of being mentally ready," Moravia senior and returning state qualifier Matthew McDanel said. "It's going to be a dogfight no matter what."
— Scott Jackson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.