The one mat was illuminated in the 1938 “B” Gym with a spot light and a rolling cloud of blue smoke presented the night’s combatants. For many the evening took on a nostalgic ambiance as the Albia Blue Demon wrestling team hosted the sixth rated I-35 team as well as the nationally rated Southeast Polk squad on Tuesday night.
All that was missing was assembling the Albia wrestlers in the old basement “Girls” gym to have them literally sweat it out before taking the mat.
That ancient gym has been gone since the building of the new high school, but the “B” Gym, with its spotlight, blue smoke and pounding rock music provided a cross between Chuck Mordan’s 70’s teams and a WWE event.
“With it being ‘throwback night,’ it was a really awesome environment wrestling under the spotlight and having a packed house in the old, hot gym,” said Coach Dave Wenger. “It brought back a lot of memories for me personally as it was the same gym that I competed in as a high school kid. It was a pretty special night.”
The atmosphere was even better when officials had to tell meet organizers to shut off the disco lights and chased little kids away from the sides of the mat.
The competition lived up to the hype. “I felt that our kids competed at a pretty good level,” said Coach Wenger. “They absolutely battle every time they step on the mat, even when they are a bit over-matched, and frankly a coach can’t ask for any more than that. I never question this group’s effort.”
Albia opened their night with I-35 losing to the Road Runners 48-29. The Blue Demons did some shifting in the weight classes to ensure that their best was on the mat to compete but the upper weights were a challenge. The individual bouts went as follows: 120: Casey Baker (I35) pinned Dawson Bonnett 2:36; 126: Logan Wingett (A) won by forfeit; 132: Aden Reeves (A) tech fall over Tryston Palmer 18-2 2:25; 138: Michael Thomas (A) pinned Lucus Green 2:00; 145: Stephen Conley (A) pinned Colton Palmer 3:49; 152: Ethan Elliott (I35) maj. dec. over Barrett Bonnett 20-7; 160: Mason Woosley (I35) maj. dec. over Tate Padilla 15-1; 170: Drew Kirkpatrick (I35) pinned Shawn Good 2:23; 182: Joey Bregar (I35) won by forfeit; 195: Sam Vonnahme (I35) pinned Doug Flattery 2:59; 220: Brock Thompson (I35) pinned Montez Ellis 1:34; 285: Ryley Snell (I35) pinned Jaquan Stallworth 1:14; 106: Carter Anderson (A) pinned Isaiah Smith 3:17; 113: Reuben Smith (I35) maj. dec. over Logan Carter.
The highlight match of the night pitted Aden Reeves against Tryston Palmer and it was nearly a low point as Reeves suffered a knee injury early in the match, needed two injury timeouts, then finished the match and kept his record spotless with a pin at 132. He did not compete in the second dual.
Southeast Polk won the team score 42-30 in the second bout. The 12 point margin was bolstered by the loss of Reeves and another forfeit along the way. The individual matches went as follows: 126: Cael Cunningham (SEP) pinned Logan Wingett 0:40; 132: Eli Zanoni (A) won by forfeit; 138: Colby Batterson (SEP) pinned Michael Thomas 0:05; 145: Quentin Hill (SEP) dec. Stephen Conley 6-4; 152: Barrett Bonnett (A) dec. Andrew Reed 6-1; 160: Tate Padilla (A) pinned Trent Nelson 2:52; 170: Aiden Grimes (SEP) pinned Shawn Good 0:46; 182: Osea Tobongye (SEP) won by forfeit; 195: Doug Flattery (A) pinned Colton Richardson 1:41; 220: Justus Marnin (SEP) pinned Montez Ellis 1:56; 285: Josh Brown (SEP) dec. Jaquan Stallworth 4-0; 106: Carter Anderson (A) dec. Cooper Hanson 11-9; 113: Logan Carter (A) won by forfeit; 120: Ayden Kingery (SEP) pinned Dawson Bonnett 2:43.
The Blue Demons have one more late scheduled meet on Thursday at HLV before they end their pre-Christmas schedule. “Our heavy schedule is wearing on the guys right now,” said Coach Wenger, “and the Christmas break is going to fall in the right place. We actually need a little rest after a brutal couple weeks of competition that had us wrestling many of the top teams in the state. We will let our bodies recover now and we will look to make a good push as we move into the second half of the season.”
The Blue Demons will take to the mat again at Knoxville on Jan. 3 as they take on SCC competitors EBF and the Panthers of Knoxville.