Iola High’s wrestlers returned to action Tuesday in their first competition in more than three weeks.
And with limited practice time since then, “it was like stepping on the mat for the first time,” IHS head coach Jason Bates said.
The Mustangs hosted Wesllville and Osawatomie in a triangular competition.
Against Wellsville, the Mustangs won two contested matches, while losing three.
The victories came courtesy of TJ Taylor and Danny Boeken, who pinned their opponents in the second periods of their respective matches.
In the 126-pound division, Taylor pinned Noah Edwards at the 3:35 mark. Boeken, wrestling at 220 pounds, pinned Wesley Soetart at 3:36.
Taylor controlled his match from the outside, scoring a pair of take-downs and a near-fall in the first period, then quickly seizing the upper hand in the second period, eventually earning the pin.
“TJ is committed to the team,” Bates said. “He comes in for every practice, works hard and is a great leader. He showed that on the mat.”
Boeken followed suit, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after one period, courtesy of a take-down and three-point near-fall, before clinching the match in the second period.
Iola’s Xander Sellman, who normally wrestles at 113 pounds, moved up a weight class to 120 pounds, and lost via pin to Koy Randall at 1:56.
Henrik Sieh, wrestling at 182 pounds, fell to Jace Clark at 2:37.
Dominic McGhee represented Iola in the 285-pound category, losing via pin in 2:35.
Counting forfeits, Wellsville won the team competition, 54-18.
IOLA had only three matches against Osawatomie.
Damian Wacker, wrestling at 120 pounds, shut out Skilor Gray, 3-0. Wacker got two points on an early takedown. The lead stood there, with neither wrestler able to get an advantage, until Wacker managed an escape seconds before the buzzer sounded in the third and final period for his third point.
Alas, that was Iola’s only victory against the Trojans.
Sellman fell via pin to Trenton Smith at the 2:55 mark at 113 pounds.
Sieh tried valiantly, but could not get loose and was pinned 3 seconds before the end of the first round against Osawatomie’s Seth Carrow.
“Even though we’ve improved with our technique, our confidence is lacking a little bit,” Bates said. “But we wrestled hard and didn’t give up. And we got some wins.”
All but two of Iola’s losses were extended to the second period, indicative of their refusal to be pinned early.
“It’s a situation we drill on in practice,” Bates said. “There’s 15 seconds left, and you’re on your back, you have to fight every second.”
As far as team scores, Osawatomie defeated Iola, 24-21.
SIEH, a German foreign exchange student wrestling for the first time this year, came away with a victory in an exhibition match against Wellsville’s Kyle Bradbury. Sieh pinned Bradbury in 2:56.
Iola shouldn’t have to wait nearly as long for its next action, traveling Thursday to Santa Fe Trail.