By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – The schedule for the West High wrestling team is not for the faint of heart. Week after week the Trojans hit the road for some of the best tournaments in the Midwest.
It’s all part of the plan for West High coach Mark Reiland.
“The guys are battle tested,” Rieland explained. “The guys that stick through it, fight through it they know where they stand at the end of the year.”
The schedule is built to test the toughest wrestlers in the West High room. It’s a weekly challenge for elite wrestlers like two-time state champ Nelson Brands.
For a rookie varsity wrestler like sophomore Will Hoeft the weekly gauntlet is an eye-opener.
“It’s crazy,” Hoeft said. “You are constantly being tested.”
Hoeft has been up to that test this season.
In his first year as a full-time varsity starter Hoeft has posted a 26-8 record while facing the ringer of a schedule that has included trips to the Cliff Keen/Independence Invitational, the Council Bluffs Wrestling Classic and the Al Dvorak Invite in Illinois.
“It definitely wears on your body,” Hoeft said. “You get pretty sore but I think it pays off in the long run when you have 50 matches under your belt.”
A year after seeing spot duty on varsity a year ago Hoeft has found a spot at 182 pounds in the Trojan lineup.
Hoeft is ranked eighth in Class 3A at 182 pounds and has just two losses to in-state competition against a challenging schedule.
“I started off a little slow and then I just try to keep building every day,” Hoeft said. “It helps having Nelson Brands as a training partner every day of course.”
Hoeft finished seventh at the Cliff Keen/Independence Invitational and added a third-place finish at the Council Bluffs Wrestling Classic with two losses to wrestlers from Kansas.
He was seventh at the Al Dvorak Invite going 3-3 against out of state competition.
“I think it makes you more prepared in the long run when you are going to meets like Council Bluffs and Dvorak and you are getting those big stage matches,” Hoeft said. “Of course having those types of matches helps you become your best.”
Hoeft and his West High teammates face another stiff test at the Bettendorf Invite this weekend.
The sophomore will enter riding a six-match winning streak following a 5-0 performance at the West High Lepic Duals on Saturday.
Hoeft had a pin and three major decisions in his first four matches on Saturday before a 13-8 win over Scott Wendell of Pleasant Valley in his final match of the day.
“I felt pretty good in my first matches and the last one I was pretty worn out,” Hoeft said. “I wrestled three full matches and had a first-period fall so I was pretty warn out at the end.”
Hoeft is hoping his strong start against the tough schedule is just the beginning.
“It’s good to see all those tough guys and bang heads with them now because you know you are going to have to beat them later on,” Hoeft said. “That’s the plan.”