By Zach James
Assistant Sports Editor
Senior Night for any team can rile any group, but it ignited an extra spark for the Clinton wrestlers as they swept matches from Burlington, 54-21, and Muscatine, 55-17, on Thursday night in Yourd Gym.
Clinton coach J.D. Lueders liked how his team performed following a first half with a record not representative of the way it wrestled.
“I thought we came out with a lot of fire tonight,” Lueders said. “The kids battled well, and I was really happy with the way they performed, and not just the scores, but they came out with a never-quit attitude.”
Lueders said his team came out with some confidence in the first bouts against the Grayhounds.
“They’re a tough team, and we’ve been preparing for that,” he said. “One of the things we’ve done over break is get the guys building shape, and when they get that, confidence builds as well.
“I thought we closed out matches in the third period that were close in the beginning, so overall, it was a good effort on that,” Lueders said.
Clinton opened the match at the 152-pound division with Dustin Caldwell, who wrestled at 160 in the first half of the season, winning 5-1 over Garrett Grimshaw.
The Grayhounds won the next two matches by fall, giving Burlington 12 straight points, but those were the last points they scored over the next eight matches.
In fact, Clinton built a streak of six consecutive pins started by Evan Gerdes at 220 and bookended at 126 pounds by Hunter Genco.
Genco said he had a good night, but he is still hungry.
“I’m looking for more competition, better matches, longer matches, he said. “I thought as a team tonight we pulled together a lot more than in the past, and a lot proved themselves. I think that’s better as a team, and we’re ready for what’s next.”
Genco also pinned his opponent, Tim Wheeler, in 1:09 during the Muscatine match.
“Muscatine has a different style of how they do things, and we were prepared for that,” Lueders said. “They like to come upper-body with you, and we taught our guys to go lower for the legs, and I thought they did that well.”
Muscatine’s only points in the match came in the first two via pins, and by technical fall at 106. Other than that, it was all River Kings on the mat.
CLINTON 54, BURLINGTON 21
152 — Dustin Caldwell (C) dec. Garrett Grimshaw 5-1; 160 — Kellen Kemp (B) pinned Mike Peters 1:59; 170 — Dalton Witte (B) pinned Luke Larkin :54; 182 — Dillion Chase (C) tech. fall. Antone Swayzer 16-0, 3:58; 195 — Justin Guilliams (C) m. dec. Broihson Turner 8-0; 220 — Evan Gerdes (C) wbf; 285 — Tyler Clark (C) pinned Vincent Clark 4:26; 106 — Sam Cruthis (C) wbf; 113 — Amani Larson (C) pinned Logan White 1:48; 120 — Damon Dann (C) pinned Brody Johnson :40; 126 — Hunter Genco (C) pinned Alfred Buford 2:48; 132 — Zach Swink (B) pinned Riley Chapman 2:47; 138 — Dallas Terry (B) m. dec. Curtis Ilg 13-2; 145 — Alex Caldwell (C) pinned Spencer Sherwood 1:23 (Burlington deducted one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct).
CLINTON 55, MUSCATINE 17
160 — Eric Gonzales (M) pinned Peters 1:51; 170 — Ryan Broderson (M) pinned Larkin 1:04; 182 — Chase (C) tech. fall Davonte Ellis 15-0, 3:30; 195 — Guilliams (C) pinned Hamie Aguilera 5:58; 220 — Gerdes (C) dec. Talon Burke 5-2; 285 — Clark (C) pinned Edward Sanders :25; 106 — Colten Vogel (M) tech. fall Cruthis 17-2, 4:00; 113 — Larson (C) tech. fall James Thompson 16-1, 5:32; 120 — Dann (C) pinned Colton Oldfield 3:01; 126 — Genco (C) pinned Tim Wheeler 1:09; 132 — Chapman (C) dec. Justice Cardoza 2-1; 138 — Ilg (C) dec. Tyler Yates 9-6; 145 — A. Caldwell (C) pinned Garrett Brunson :29; 152 — D. Caldwell (C) pinned Dalton Hart 1:35.