Wrestling: Greene County’s winter journey to the Well begins in Adel
By BRANDON HURLEY
A highly-anticipated wrestling season inches closer by the day. The Greene County Rams learned their postseason fate last week, as they prepare to open the season next month.
Greene County will compete in Class 2A, sectional 2 at the Woodward-Granger High School. The Rams will square off against wrestlers from ADM, Gilbert, Perry, Van Meter-Earlham and Woodward Granger. Sectional tournaments will be held Saturday, Feb. 6 while district tournaments will be held the following weekend in Adel along with athletes from sectional 1. Gilbert’s Fernando Villaescusa enters the 2020-21 season ranked second at 195 pounds by IAWrestle.
The sectional 1 tournament is being held in Knoxville which includes teams from Ballard, Bondurant-Farrar, North Polk, PCM, Saydel and North Polk.
West Delaware begins the year as IAWrestle’s top-ranked program in 2A, followed by Osage, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, Crestwood and Davenport Assumption. Independence slides in at No. 6 ahead of West Burlington Notre Dame, Union-La Porte City, Centerville and Camanche.
Along with a pair of returning state qualifiers in sophomore McKinley Robbins and junior Brenner Gallagher, the Rams welcome a strong core of freshman for the 2020-21 season, including middle school state champion Michael Rumley.
Robbins, fresh off a runner-up finish at state as a freshman, is ranked second at 120 pounds in Class 2A by IA wrestle.
Independence senior Brandon O’Brien is ranked No. 1.
O’Brien won a greco national championship while at Linn-Mar. He’s also a USMC/USA Wrestling All-American. Robbins is making the jump up two weight classes from 106 pounds, the weight he wrestled at as a freshman, losing to Webster City’s Cam Phetxoumphone in the Class 2A state championship.
The Rams will host the Heart of Iowa Conference tournament this winter Jan. 22 inside the new high school gymnasium in Jefferson
ROBBINS 4TH AT TULSA NATIONALS
Greene County sophomore McKinley Robbins’ pursuit of a World All Star team birth continued over the weekend in Oklahoma. The 2019 state runner-up placed fourth at the The Kickoff Classic Sunday in Tulsa, in the second leg of the three tournament qualifying series. The national showcase is one of the major tournaments included in the World of Wrestling Championships, a youth organization aimed at highlighting the best young wrestlers in the country. Nearly 1,700 wrestlers across six different age brackets from 40 states were expected at last weekend’s tournament. Robbins won his first three matches, defeating 115-pounders from Arizona, Texas and Minnesota before losing to Bixby, Oklahoma’s Clayton Giddens-Buttram, 8-4. Robbins recovered to knock off Michael Trujillo of Glendale, Arizona in a tight, 1-0 match before losing the third place match, 5-1 to Landon Robideau from Michael Minnesota. Robbins defeated Robideau 6-1 in his third match of the day, but fell in their second meeting.
All parents of each participant at the Kickoff Classic in Tulsa signed waivers acknowledging the dangers of COVID-19 and claim responsibility for exposure to the viral pandemic.
Two other tournaments remain in the World of Wrestling qualifiers, the Tulsa Nationals in mid January and the National Youth Duals in March. Those two tournaments will determine the field for the Reno World Championships in Reno, Nevada April 9-11. Robbins is currently ranked seventh in the country in the 115 pounds under 15 age bracket.
**** TOURNAMENT RESULTS COURTESY OF IAWRESTLE
The Rams have a start date, for now.
The Greene County wrestling team will open the 2020-21 Thursday, Dec. 10 with a meet in Adel against ADM and Gilbert.
The original season-opener was slated for this past Tuesday at the Perry Invitational before the start of practice was derailed due to the school district’s temporary move to online learning. The Rams were supposed to begin practice sessions back on Nov. 16, but didn’t hit the mat officially until the tailend of last week.
Expectations are certainly high within the Greene County wrestling program, with two state qualifiers returning and a bevy of talent at their disposal.
Greene County’s home-opener is set for Jan. 14. The Rams will also host the 2021 Heart of Iowa Conference tournament Jan. 22 in Jefferson.
Pick up next week’s edition of the Jefferson Herald for a complete season preview.