Panthers fall to Class 2A No. 3 Mepo
The Mt. Pleasant wrestling team resumed its season in a tough dual against powerhouse Mediapolis on Thursday night in Mt. Pleasant.
The Panthers fell to the Class 2A No. 3 Bulldogs by a score of 45-18 in the meet.
“Some kids wrestled really tough matches tonight,” Mt. Pleasant Coach Anthony Blint said, noting that he was happy with the way the Panthers performed against Mediapolis.
There was nearly a 50 percent chance that Mt. Pleasant wrestlers would be facing a ranked opponent in the dual.
Six of 14 wrestlers Mediapolis put on the mats last night are ranked.
The dual began with a pair of ranked wrestlers: Class 3A No. 4 Justin Dilks from Mt. Pleasant took on Class 2A No. 3 Steven Holloway in the 182-pound match.
Holloway came out on top of a 7-1 decision, putting Mediapolis on the board first with a three-point lead.
The Panthers’ fourth-ranked Colton Aplara (195) tied the score, however, with a 6-4 decision over the Bulldogs’ Ethan Timmerman.
From there, Mt. Pleasant took a lead with ninth-ranked Jacob Dilks’ win by fall over Mike Rubey (220) in 1:55.
Emmett Wester (285) then pinned Mediapolis’ Dillon Wagner in 1:58 to stretch the Panthers’ lead to 15-3.
The next two matches went to Mediapolis, however, as both No. 5 Mason Buster (106) and Cody McNeil (113) won by major decision over Colton Mertens and Conner Eads, respectively.
Tyler Lanphier then wrestled against Shea Swafford in the 120-pound match. Lanphier came back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the match score at three. Then, in the last 30 seconds of the third period, he got a takedown to win by a 5-3 score and stretch Mt. Pleasant’s lead to 18-11.
That was the last win the Panthers would get, however.
Luke Erickson won by decision over Mt. Pleasant’s Alex Lanphier (126); Brady Banwart pinned Blake Wickham (132) and Cole Erickson, who is ranked No. 4 at 132 pounds, pinned Rob Pohren (138).
Mediapolis’ Drew Foster, who is ranked No. 2 at 138 pounds, did not wrestle against the Panthers.
In the 145-pound match, No. 5 Drew Buster won by a narrow decision, 6-4, over Mt. Pleasant’s Josh Larson.
“It was his (Larson’s) first match of the year, and he wrestled really well,” Blint said.
Larson missed the first half of the season with injury,.
The Panthers now have a full lineup — that is, they don’t have to forfeit any matches. They’re still not at full strength, however, as their 132-pound wrestler, Alec Mathews, is now out with a concussion.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever get our full varsity lineup this year,” Blint said. “But we’re just going to keep working, keep focusing on the little things.”
In the final three matches of the dual, No. 9 Bradley Conley of Mediapolis won by major decision over Michael Alderson (152); Blake Beckman pinned Mt. Pleasant’s Jayton Phillips (160); and Class 2A No. 2 Adam Drain pinned Noah Brown (170) for the final score.
But as the Panthers head into the second half of the season, their focus is not necessarily their team score at each dual.
They are preparing for the end of the season.
“We want to get everyone mentally and physically ready for districts,” Blint said. “We’re going to be putting guys in different situations — maybe some that they don’t necessarily like to be in.”
The Panthers will continue their preparation when they compete in the Linn-Mar Dual Tournament on Saturday in Marion.
The tournament begins at 9 a.m.