Breaking Down the Mississippi Valley Conference Meet

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet

When: Saturday, 10 a.m.

Where: West High

2018 top-5: 1. City High; 2. Cedar Rapids Prairie; 3. Dubuque Hempstead; 4. West High; 5. Cedar Rapids Kennedy

Ranked teams: 3A No. 7 Western Dubuque

What to watch: For the first time in more than 15 years City High enters the Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet as the defending champion.

City High stopped Cedar Rapids Prairie’s five-year title reign last season edging the Hawks by 18 points for its first title since 2002.

With its title last season City High became the first team other than Prairie or West High to win the Super Meet title since 2003.

To add a second consecutive conference championship the Little Hawks will have to fend off a field as balanced as any in recent memory.

In the first year of the 16-team MVC Meet nearly half of the teams could factor into the title race.

Seven teams have at least four ranked wrestlers including each of the top five finishers from last season and Super Meet newcomer Western Dubuque which boasts a meet-high six ranked wrestlers.

Both of City High’s MVC champs from a year ago return to defend their titles at the same weight.

Junior Ethan Wood-Finley (23-3) is back to defend his 106-pound title while Kyle Hefley (27-6) will seek a second consecutive championship at 152.

West High has four ranked wrestlers led by defending champion Graham Gambrall (28-9) at 138 and second-ranked freshman Hunter Garvin (29-3) at 120.

Liberty High will make its MVC Super Meet debut after competing as an independent a year ago.

Who to Watch: If City High is to repeat as MVC champions the Little Hawks are going to need big performances out of its biggest stars.

The biggest star for the Little Hawks just happens to be their smallest wrestler.

Junior 106-pounder Ethan Wood-Finley claimed his first conference title a year ago after placing fourth at the Super Meet as a freshman.

Wood-Finley enters ranked third in 3A and seeking to become the first Little Hawk to win back-to-back MVC titles since Greg Lalla and Kyle Anson in 2005.

In a team race where every point will count Wood-Finley could be extra valuable for City High with 16 of his 23 wins this season coming by fall.

Weight Class to watch: With 12 weight classes featuring at least two ranked wrestlers semifinals and finals should be entertaining up and down the board.

The action at 182 should be especially fun to watch.

Three of the top four wrestlers in 3A are in the 182-pound field led by top-ranked Jacob Wempen (25-1) of Linn-Mar.

Wempen was third at the MVC meet as a freshman and sophomore and finished runner-up at 170 pounds last season.

To earn his first MVC title Wempen will need to emerge from a field that includes third-ranked and unbeaten Devin Ludwig of Western Dubuque and fourth-ranked West High junior Will Hoeft (30-5).

Hoeft is the defending MVC runner-up at 182 falling to Cade Parker of Cedar Rapids Kennedy in the title match last season.

Wempen won a 12-4 major decision over Hoeft in November in the only regular season meeting between any of the three ranked wrestlers.

Ranked Wrestlers

106:     *3. Ethan Wood-Finley (City High) Jr.

            9. Brandon O’Brien (Linn-Mar) Soph.

113:     5. Austin Kegley (CR Prairie) Jr.

            7. Kaden Karns (Waterloo West) Soph.

            10. Dawson Bierman (Western Dubuque) Sr.

120:     2. Hunter Garvin (West High) Fr.

            5. Jakey Penrith (Cedar Falls) Sr.

            9. Garrett Bormann (City High) Jr.  

132:     *2. Joe Pins (Dubuque Hempstead) Sr.

            *3. Conrad Braswell (CR Prairie) Sr.

138:     8. Dylan Falck (CR Kennedy) Jr.

            *10. Graham Gambrall (West High) Soph.

145:     9. Tyler Murphy (Dubuque Hempstead) Sr.

152:     *5. Kyle Hefley (City High) Sr.

            8. Elijah Demmer (Western Dubuque) Sr.

160:     4. Ryker Kurimski (Western Dubuque) Sr.

            6. Brandon Lalla (City High) Sr.

            8. Colton LaGrange (CR Prairie) Sr.

170:     5. Jake Hosch (Western Dubuque) Jr.

            6. Ryan Plummer (Linn-Mar) Jr.

            10. Kent Kragenbrink (Dubuque Hempstead) Sr.

182:     1. Jacob Wempen (Linn-Mar) Sr.

            3. Devin Ludwig (Western Dubuque) Sr.

            4. Will Hoeft (West High) Jr.

195:     3. Ashton Stoner-Degroot (CR Prairie) Jr.

           *5. Cade Parker (CR Kennedy) Jr.

            8. Owen Dunne (Dubuque Hempstead) Sr.

220:     3. Tanner Schultz (Linn-Mar) Sr.

            4. Jason Simon-Ressler (Western Dubuque) Sr.

            7. Cam Jones (CR Kennedy) Sr.

            9. Landon Green (West High) Sr.

285:     1. Josh Vis (CR Kennedy) Jr.

            6. Jacob Murry (City High) Sr.

            9. Dawson Sweet (CR Jefferson) Jr.  

*Denotes returning MVC Champ

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