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Iowa area wrestling outlook: Teams, wrestlers to watch

Iowa area wrestling outlook: Teams, wrestlers to watch

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Maquoketa's Taven Rich wrestles Jarrett Fastert of Central Lyon in their 285- pound match at the state tournament last February. Rich is back this winter after winning 39 matches and placing third at the state tournament.

3 teams to watch

Camanche: The Indians were the runner-up at the Davenport Assumption sectional last year and advanced to the finals of the regional duals, a first for the program in 30-plus seasons. Eric Kinkaid is coming off a 40-win freshman season and fourth-place finish at state. District qualifiers Ben Vogel, Brennan Kramer and Cade Everson also return for the Indians.

West Liberty: Coming off a 15-3 dual season and River Valley Conference dual and tournament titles, West Liberty returns four state qualifiers and begins the season ranked seventh in Class 2A by The Predicament. Among that quartet is three-time state qualifier and state runner-up Will Esmoil (152). Kobe Simon placed fourth last year at 220. Alex Beaver (113) and Talen Dengler (145) were state qualifiers last winter.

Wilton: Coach Gabe Boorn returns four district qualifiers, two of those state qualifiers in Kael Brisker (sixth place) and Coy Baker. Brisker has added muscle in the offseason and will bump up from 106 to 126 pounds this season. Gage Oien (106) and Briggs Hartley (285) are among those returning who won more than 20 matches last season. Colton Cruse (145) was unbeaten in the first month last year before a season-ending injury.

5 individuals to watch

Damon Huston, jr., Midland: Conference, sectional and district champion was 46-2 and placed third at Class 1A state meet last year. He's slated to wrestle at 120 pounds this season.

Daniel Meeker, sr., Wapello: Meeker was a state runner-up two years ago and reached the semifinals at 126 pounds in 1A last year. He starts the season ranked fifth at 138.

Taven Rich, sr., Maquoketa: Ranked second in Class 2A at 285 pounds, Rich is coming off a 39-win season during which he won sectional and district titles along with a third-place state finish. 

Tyler Thurston, sr., North Cedar: Coming off a 34-win season and a trip to the state tournament, Thurston is ranked sixth in 1A at 195 pounds to start the year.

Keaton Zeimet, jr., Central DeWitt: Has collected more than 80 victories and two state medals in his first two seasons. Third at last year's state tournament, he is ranked second to start the season at 113 in 2A.

Key dates

Dec. 12 — North Scott vs. Bettendorf at Dav. Central

Jan. 4 — Muddy Water Duals (Iowa vs. Illinois) at Augustana College

Jan. 17-18 — Midwest Shootout at Bettendorf

Jan. 25— Bob Lueders Invitational at Clinton

Feb. 1 — MAC tournament at Bettendorf; River Valley tournament at Tipton; Wamac tournament at West Delaware

Feb. 8 — Class 1A/2A sectional meet

Feb. 15 — Class 1A/2A/3A district meet

Feb. 20-22 — State tournament

— Matt Coss

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Sports Editor

Sports editor, with my emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 19 years, the last seven at the Q-C Times.

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