ELDRIDGE — Cole Ernst has had a roller coaster ride of a senior wrestling season.

He's had some flashes of brilliance, a couple disappointments and then a skin issue that sidelined him for a week.

With the stretch run approaching, the 285-pounder is trying to get his conditioning and mind right for a lengthy postseason run.

"I get too cocky when I wrestle," Ernst admitted after Thursday night's 3-0 win over Pleasant Valley's Evan Kilstrom. "I look at the kid and think I should always beat the kid. That has hurt me at times.

"I'm just trying to not focus on who I'm wrestling but focus on my position."

Class 3A seventh-ranked North Scott had no trouble with the competition on senior night, blasting Davenport North 76-4 and PV 63-10 at The Pit.

The Lancers finished the Mississippi Athletic Conference dual season undefeated.

"We wrestled pretty well tonight," North Scott coach Drew Kelly said. "It's kind of tough when you've got some open weights in there, but I thought our guys competed pretty well.

"We've just got to keep getting better."

Ernst is at the center of that.

Ranked fourth at his weight class, Ernst was a state qualifier last season but failed to place after a first-round win. He's eager for more.

"He can't let guys hang in matches," Kelly said. "He's explosive, athletic and has some good offense. When he's working towards that, he can beat the best guys in the state.

"He's a smart enough kid to understand that. He's got big goals, just a matter of building that consistency from one match to the next."

Ernst led Kilstrom 1-0 after two periods. When Kilstrom took a shot late in the third, Ernst scored off it for the only takedown.

North Scott won all but one match against Davenport North. Dakota Wright earned a major decision at 195 over Jared Rus.

In the nightcap, PV's lone victories came from Brock Redecker (145) and Eli Loyd (132).

Besides five forfeit wins for North Scott, it received pins from Austin Clark (152), Rus (195) and Caleb McCabe (126). Josh Connor (106) and Drew Durant (170) also had contested bonus point wins.

The Lancers are a bit depleted. Drake Golinghorst has been out all season following a football injury, and Collin Lewis — one of the state's top 145-pounders — is out indefinitely with a hand injury.

Lewis has his right hand in a cast. His return is uncertain this season.

"You don't replace a kid like that," Kelly said, "but we've got guys that are going to go out and compete hard.

"We've got MAC on Saturday, and we're hosting a regional dual. Everything is in front of us. The team has to step up, and I'm confident they will. That's what makes these guys special. They face adversity and rally."

It has been a trying season for the Spartans.

Coach Jacob Larsen said the focus is getting several of his individuals ready for the postseason and continuing to work with the junior varsity athletes to get them prepared for next season.

The Spartans have had a couple starters leave the team along with some injuries.

"The stars got to align just right for you, and when you don't have a lot of depth nothing can go wrong," Larsen said. "So when something does go wrong, it puts you in a tough spot."


Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.