MUSCATINE — Joe Kane believes his Muscatine wrestling team is headed in the right direction, and it may be just in the nick of time.
With the Mississippi Athletic Conference tournament Saturday and districts two weeks after that, Muscatine's Colton Oldfield, Nolan Bell, Tyler Justus, Carter Oldfield and Garrett Brunson all had multi-win days at the Bean City Duals in Iowa City on Saturday.
Oldfield and Bell, specifically, went 4-1.
“I think as a team we are taking it up a notch intensity wise,” Kane said. “It’s building confidence for us, and picking up those big wins is great for that. Bell and Oldfield are really getting after it in matches and showing they are capable of being great.”
A performance in the right direction at a critical point in the season is a welcomed sight for the Muskies, who are working to reach the Class 3A state meet for the first time since Edward Sanders finished sixth at 285 pounds in 2014.
They're taking it step by step to get there, though.
The Muskies will get a firsthand look at their district competition when they compete in the MAC tournament Saturday at Davenport Assumption. Muscatine will compete in 3A District 6 at North Scott on Feb. 11, which features every MAC school other than Assumption and Clinton.
“We welcome the competition and really relish in the fact that the MAC is tough. We want to be battled tested, which will undoubtedly happen on Saturday, and to that we say bring it on,” Kane said. “We hope to see our guys best as each match will be huge because it will help determine the seeding at district."
Although the Muskies’ goals and seeding are important, Kane said that's not what he views as most important the rest of the season.
“If they give their best effort and are aggressive, ... we should be competitive," Kane said, "and we can accept the outcome win or lose."
WIESKAMP'S SCORING FRENZY: Joe Wieskamp posted a pair of 40-plus point efforts last week as he soared to the top of the state's scoring list.
Wieskamp scored 42 points in the Muskies' 84-78 victory over Class 3A No. 4 Mount Pleasant last Tuesday. He followed that up by posting 47 points in a Mississippi Athletic Conference win, 72-69, over 3A No. 6 Davenport Assumption on Friday.
The Iowa commit is averaging 31.1 points per game so far this season, tops in the state. If he stays at the top, Wieskamp would be the first 4A player to lead the state in scoring since Linn-Mar's Marcus Paige in 2011-12. The last player to average over 30 points per game in a season was Iowa Falls-Alden's Casey Schlatter (34.6) in 2013-14.
WILTON COACHES HONORED BY IHSBCA: Another year has come and gone, and with it the 2017 Iowa High School Baseball Coaches Association banquet, in which the IHSBCA announced award winners on Jan. 21.
Wilton's coaching staff left Saturday night's banquet with two awards.
The Beavers' Ed Sawvell was named the Assistant Coach of the Year award for the Southeast District — one of just four assistants to win an award — while Wilton head coach Jake Souhrada took home the District Coach of the Year from the Class 2A Southeast District.
ORVIS GIVEN ALUMNI AWARD: Muscatine girls basketball coach Susan Orvis was given the 2016-17 North Cedar Alumni Athletic award Jan. 21. Orvis graduated from Lincoln Community High School in 1993, where she was a four-sport athlete in volleyball, basketball, track and softball.
The award is given to alumni with exceptional accomplishment in athletics.
During her high school career, Orvis helped Lincoln to four state volleyball tournaments, including a state championship in 1992, when she was selected as a member of the state all-tournament team. She was also a four-time All-Mid-East Conference selection in basketball and softball and a two-time all-state performer in both. She was also selected as the 1993 Quad-City Times Athlete of the Year.
REGIONAL PAIRINGS RELEASED: The Iowa High School Girls Athletic Union released its Class 1A/2A/3A regional basketball pairings on Monday evening. All opening games will be played Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.
In Class 2A, Wilton, Louisa-Muscatine and Durant were placed in 2A Region 7. Wilton (10-6) will host Lisbon (4-11), while L-M (5-10) plays at North Cedar (6-10) and Durant (4-13) will host Calamus-Wheatland (5-10).
In 2A Region 8, Wapello (9-7) will open postseason play at Mediapolis (10-5) and Columbus Community (8-7) will play at Danville (9-7).
In Class 3A, West Liberty (0-17) will travel to Davenport Assumption (9-5) in a Region 6 opener.
Class 4A and 5A pairings will be released next Monday, Jan. 30.