Cascade’s wrestling team started 2021 with two victories at home, defeating Durant, 45-25, and Tipton, 42-39, on Senior Night, Jan. 7.

The Cougars opened against Durant at 132. The first four weights were won by forfeits giving the Cougars a 24-0 lead going into Ted Weber’s match at 160. Weber started quick with a takedown in the first minute of the match and continued to wrestle aggressively, winning by a 12-7 decision over Nathan Moomey.

At 170, Hunter Vogel lost by a 10-0 major decision to Cameron Ruggiero. Cade Rausch lost by fall at 182 to Dylan Grage in 3:36. At 195, Chris Midkel got the Cougars back on the winning side with a pin over Nicholas Poston in 1:23. In the match of the night, junior heavyweight Kodey Miles wasted no time pinning Hunter Bacom in only 32 seconds. Stelken received a forfeit at 106. At 120, Trever Freiburger kept things rolling with a takedown in the opening minute of the first, rode out Durant’s Ethan Gast and put Gast down for the fall in 3:42. Ty Frasher lost a close one at 126 to Noah Grage in sudden victory 6-4.

In their final dual of the night, the Cougars defeated Tipton, 39-28.

At 138, Carson Staner started with a fall in 1:05. At 145, Evan Vogel lost by decision 4-0. At 152 Casey Koppes won by fall over Brandon Valet in 4:38. Durant won the next two matches by fall with Skylar Schmidt pinning Weber in 1:10 and Hunter Vogel lost by fall in 40 seconds. At 182, Rausch won by forfeit, as did Midkel at 195. At 106, Stelken lost by fall in 3:54 to Michael Puffler. Ty Frasher won by forfeit at 120. Cascade forfeited at 126 giving Tipton a 39-36 lead going into the final match, but Cascade’s senior standout Aidan Noonan made sure they came home with the win getting a takedown in the opening five seconds before pinning Durant’s Wyatt Lashmit in a mere 15 seconds.

After the duals coach Travis Andrews said, “The guys being able to win both duals on the night was impressive,” coach Travis Andrews said. “There were some toss-up matches that we needed to win in both duals and we came out on top in those matches. Looking at Tipton’s line-up we knew it was going to be pretty close in the end. Tipton has been a solid team in the conference over the past couple of years.

“We talked before the dual about team points and going six minutes without getting pinned. If they lose by a decision, they save three team points. Hunter Vogel wrestled a tough match and saved the team three points from his match. Even though he was defeated, he helped the team out by fighting hard for six minutes. Before the heavyweight match, some guys were wondering about the team score and if we would be able to win. I told Aidan it was going to come down to his match and he’d have to pin his kid. Kinda nice having a wrestler like Aidan to put the dual away for his team. It was a total team effort in both duals. The guys have been improving and getting better which is exactly what we want to happen.”

On Jan. 9, the Cougars placed eighth at the Gary Curtis Invitational at Highland Riverside.

Freiburger was a three seed, but finished second overall, losing to the No. ranked wrestler in 1A.

Noonan had a really good finals match against South Tama County’s Logan Arp, who was close to getting a takedown, but Noonan defended it well and earned the opening takedown. Noonan won 7-0. He was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.

At 182, Rausch took home third place going 3-1 on the day. Placing fourth were Staner at 138, Hunter Vogel at 145 and Casey Koppes at 152. Weber at 160, Evan Vogel at 170, Midkel at 195 and Miles at 285 did not place.

“The team had a really good couple of opening rounds. A few guys were knocked out early but still wrestled well. We were hoping Trever would have a rematch in the semis against the Alburnett kid, but McGraw lost in the first round. Trever was determined to reach the finals and teched the kid from South Tama. Aidan didn’t think he was going to win the honor and was wanting to leave. We had to make sure we at least waited for it to be announced. Cade wrestled well on the day and was close to reaching the finals. He lost by a fall in the semis but will see the kid again on Thursday night. Cade is looking forward to wrestling the Mid-Prairie kid then when we dual them. It seemed the guys started strong, but after the third or fourth matches, they started to lag a little. Overall, we need to be able to finish strong. It’s something to improve on and get better,” said Andrews.

South Tama won the team title with 173 points. Muscatine was second (165.5), Alburnett third (158), Wilton fourth (153.5), Mid-Prairie fifth (139.5), Fort Madison sixth (136), New London seventh (116.5), Cascade eighth (102.5), Columbus/Winfield-Mt. Union ninth (73.5), Highland 10th (585), West Branch 11th (49), Iowa City Regina 12th (37), Washington 13th (35) and English Valleys-Tri-County 14th (34).