CAMANCHE--The Central DeWitt Sabers picked up two wins on Thursday night, battling with tough Fulton and Camanche teams in a double dual at Camanche High School.
Ask coach Matt Ohnemus what it felt like? Awesome.
A tight round with the Indians ended in the Sabers pulling away and taking it 51-26.
"We pulled away a little more than I anticipated," Ohnemus said. "We have a lot of respect for the Camanche program. When you get along with another program you want to beat the guy, but when it's over you're all pulling in the same direction."
Part of it was moving people around a bit. The two teams saw each other just last weekend at the Saber Invitational at Central DeWitt High School, so Ohnemus decided to move Theo Fox to the 170 weight class. He also saw some athletes step up, like Cody Penniston at 120, who battled Ben Vogel for the W.
"He was able to get down and beat Ben Vogel, and he's a hammer," Ohnemus said. "That was a huge, huge win for our team and for him."
The Indians started out the round strong but found themselves in a slump through a few matches.
"At 170 and 120 there was a big point swing I though," head coach Brent Carstensen said. "That definitely helped DeWitt."
They still saw wins from athletes like Baylor Crigger at 160 and Cade Everson at 152. The seasoned and talented DeWitt roster just proved tough on Thursday, and leaves the Indians with some room to grow before they see them at the district and sectional meets in early 2019.
"They fill more weight classes with solid wrestlers," Carstensen. "We have solid kids, they just fill out better. They shined well today."
The Indians shined as well, especially in their dual with Fulton, where they outscored the Steamers 64-18.
"I think we're gelling as a team and the camaraderie is there, we just have to find more excitement," Carstensen said. "We're doing more things in the practice room to feel like a family and it's working. Hopefully that family push carries over into having each other's backs in competition."
The Indians go back to action after the holidays with a tournament at Polo on Sat., Jan. 5.
Central DeWitt started off the night with a 72-12 rout of the rebuilding Fulton Steamers. Both Max Pannell and Eli Pannell picked up wins.
It wasn't until late in the round, though. Senior Eli Pannell says getting on the board always changes the team atmosphere.
"I think it's a morale booster to have six points on the board," Pannell said. "The confidence on the team is definitely boosted."
Pannell picked up two pins on Thursday, his first one against DeWitt's Cam Lee marked his 100th varsity win, met with cheers and an "Eli" chant from the Steamer faithful.
"It felt amazing, the crowd cheers, just unbelievable," Pannell said.
Meanwhile, the Steamers saw a lot of rounds not go in their direction. They're competing with just one senior and one junior--the remainder of the roster is made up of underclassmen.
"We had a little more energy and a little more fight," head coach Chris Grant said. "They're super good teams and we're super young with one senior and one junior, so a lot of newbies."
The Steamers struggled against Camanche as well, both Iowa teams serving up aggressive attacks from the first period on.
"They're aggressive," Grant said. "They come at you. You try to coach that to these young kids coming tonight, and now they've seen it. Off the whistle, we have to be prepared."
And Ohnemus: "We don't know much about Fulton, but it sounds like they're rebuilding. They're heading in the right direction."