There are very few places that hold the history of Carver Hawkeye Arena when it comes to college wrestling. Last night served to build upon its rapidly expanding high school story. The second annual Night of Conflict wrote another chapter that will hopefully grow into a novel worth reading.
IAwrestle put together a stellar lineup of top high school talent not only from Iowa but from across the country Friday night. It included nine wrestlers ranked in the TOM Top 10 and some of the best young talent in the high school ranks. The 13 matches were all the more impressive when you remember that another premier tournament is taking place this weekend at the Super 32. There is just something about the opportunity to wrestle at the Mecca that is Carver that draws young wrestlers and Friday night was no exception.
The night began with a grudge match between two wrestlers from the state of Iowa and it started off with a bang! Carter Cox and Noah Fye had split their previous meetings and the all-important rubber match did not disappoint. Fye came out like a ball of fire and quickly had Cox in trouble. Fye locked it up and finished the match with a fall in 0:35.
Triston Lara gave Iowa their first upset of the night defeating #18 Niko Chavez from Missouri, 7-4. Chavez came out with a quick takedown, but it was all Lara from there. This was just a preview of more upsets and tight matches to come.
Alanah Vetterick was looking to provide another Iowa driven upset when she took on Ronna Heaton of Brookings South Dakota, but she was unable to break through the defense of the two-time South Dakota medalist. Heaton used two takedowns and a three-point nearfall to earn an 8-0 major decision. I was very impressed with both young ladies, the future of women’s wrestling is in very good hands.
#14 Sammy Evans made the trip all the way from Tennessee to take on Aaron Costello. Evans is headed to UTC, but he ran into Aaron “The Admissions Officer” Costello last night and his application was denied. Costello used an early first-period takedown and nearfall to build a lead that just got larger as the match went along. Costello earned the 7-3 decision and another upset at the Night of Conflict.
Aden Reeves returned to the Night of Conflict hoping to slow down the three-time Missouri state champion Connor Brown. In a match that was full of all kinds of action and scrambles, Brown kept his foot on the gas and finished with a pin in 5:18.
#18 Joel Shapiro was never in any real danger against Danny Braunagel and his 8-4 decision was the model of efficiency. He used takedowns and nearfall to build a lead and then relied on some solid defense to stay out of trouble the rest of the way.
JJ Figueroa came into Carver ranked second but Zach Barnes did not seem to care. For three periods and overtime, he stood toe to toe with the California native. In a thrilling overtime scramble, Figueroa was able to come out on top and avoid the upset. Looking back at this match, the 6-4 win for Figueroa could easily have gone the other way. Barnes was by far the more aggressive and more dominant wrestler for all but about fifteen seconds of the match.
The border battle between #11 Kyran Hagan of Missouri and ninth-ranked Anthony Madrigal of Illinois was a close fought battle between two evenly matched foes. The result was just as narrow with Hagan winning, 2-0, on a second-period reversal.
Dylan D’Emilio came into Carver sporting a number two ranking and rising national stock. He may have escaped with the win, but Drew Bennett of Fort Dodge is now the wrestler trending up. In a hard fought narrow overtime victory for D’Emilio, Bennett scored the only takedown in regulation while D’Emilio secured the two in extra time.
Jason Renteria was the highest ranked of multiple Oak River Park Forest wrestlers on the evening, and his number two ranking is well deserved. Michael Millage worked hard and even secured a late takedown, but it was all Renteria. His 19-11 major decision was a clinic in finishing single legs.
#18 Max Lyon not only has a top twenty ranking, he has an incredible name for wrestling. Seventh-ranked AJ Pedro traveled a long way to step into Carver and put his top-10 ranking on the line. It was a great match-up with each wrestler having a shot at winning, but it was Lyon holding on at the end to win, 6-5, and finish the upset.
Third-ranked Kaden Gfeller and eighth-ranked Jaime Hernandez may normally wrestle at different weight classes, but last night they did battle under the lights at Carver. Hernandez used a slick single attack to earn the only takedown of the match, and the final efforts of Gfeller to finish a takedown at the end were not enough.
Cohlton Schultz has done nothing but win in his career. He came into Carver with a number four ranking and a great head of hair. Jared Campbell has been on a tear and has risen to fifth in the rankings. On this night though it was all Schultz as he dominated in a 10-5 decision that capped off the night’s wrestling.
It was a great event that featured a lot of very talented wrestlers. For full match recaps, check out IAwrestle.com. I came into the evening with high hopes for a lot of good, tough, competitive matches and this event lived up to that billing. The Conflict at Carver takes over Carver today and there is little doubt that we will be back next year for NOC3.