Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Each year brings plenty of change at the Mississippi Valley Conference Super meet.
New brackets filled with different wrestlers and matchups.
With 10 new individual champions, a first-time team champ and the first ever four-time champion from Cedar Rapids this year’s MVC meet was no exception.
Even with all the changes, thanks to City High standouts Ethan Wood-Finley and Kyle Hefley a couple of things remained the same.
Wood-Finley and Hefley each claimed their second consecutive Super Meet titles on Saturday successfully defending their titles at the same weights they won at a year ago.
“It felt really good to be back up on that podium again,” Hefley said. “It’s another stepping stone to the ultimate goal this season.”
Wood-Finley won the 106-pound title for the second straight season while Hefley claimed his second 152-pound title in a row.
Hefley and Wood-Finley became the eighth and ninth wrestlers in City High history with multiple MVC Super Meet titles joining head coach Cory Connell who won MVC titles in 1998 and 2000.
“It’s tough to win this thing, this is always a great tournament with great teams there are great kids,” Connell said. “There are lots of times I’ve seen kids place higher at state than they do at the MVC. It’s crazy.”
Cedar Rapids Kennedy crowned four champions on its way to the first Super Meet title in program history.
Runner-up Cedar Rapids Prairie had three champions including Conrad Braswell who became the 10th four-time MVC champion and first ever from Cedar Rapids with a title at 132-pounds.
The titles from Wood-Finley and Hefley along with runner-up finishes from Brandon Lalla at 160 pounds and Jacob Murry at 285 pounds helped defending Super Meet champion City High to a third-place team finish.
“It’s just as special as the first time,” Wood-Finley said of his title. “It’s a great feeling to win this and now we have to keep on building, it’s postseason like our coach has been telling us we have been building in these last few weeks.”
Third-ranked Wood-Finley (27-3) was dominant in returning to the 106-pound title match.
The junior needed a combined 2:24 seconds of mat time to record three first-period falls to reach the championship where he won a 2-1 decision over ninth-ranked Linn-Mar sophomore Brandon O’Brien (21-4).
“I’m super confident right now,” Wood-Finley said. “I just need to go out and be aggressive and wrestle how I know how to wrestle.”
Following a scoreless first period Wood-Finley started down in the second period and needed just eight seconds to score a reversal that proved to be all the scoring he would need.
“I saw him the match before and I knew he was going to put in a leg so I looked for that reversal and got it,” Wood-Finley said. “After that I just rode him tough on top.”
Hefley (30-6) was just as impressive on his way to his second consecutive 152-pound crown.
The fifth-ranked senior pinned Liberty High junior Kaleb Williams in 1:21 in the quarterfinals and downed Linn-Mar sophomore Abass Kemokai 6-2 in the semifinals.
“I feel like I am improving,” Hefley said. “I’m refining the small details, getting the small things worked out and honestly I feel like this is one of the best I have wrestled all season so far.”
Hefley saved his best performance for the title match where he earned an impressive 5-0 decision over eighth-ranked Elijah Demmer (23-3) of Western Dubuque.
“The guy he had in the finals is a solid kid and we have been working on a lot of things, we talked about of lot of things before the match and he followed the game plan to a T,” Connell said. “He looked as solid as he has looked all year.”
Hefley scored a takedown less than 30 seconds into the opening period and rode Demmer for the final 1:36 of the first period.
He added an escape 10 seconds into the second period and another takedown with 36 seconds left in the period.
“It’s important getting that first takedown,” Hefley said. “It makes things a little bit easier. I just wanted to control the ties and get to what I want and not let him have opportunities to score.”
Wood-Finley and Hefley became the first City High wrestlers to win back-to-back MVC titles since Greg Lalla and Kyle Anson each accomplished the feat in 2005.
“It’s an honor to win this tournament because it’s extremely tough but honestly I just try to treat it like any other tournament,” Hefley said. “If you think about it as something bigger than what it is it gets to your head.”
Sixth-ranked Lalla (29-7) fell to No. 4 Ryker Kurimsik of Western Dubuque 22-10 in the 160-pound title match and top-ranked Josh Vis (21-2) of Kennedy pinned fifth-ranked Murry (25-4) in the 285-pound championship.
Team scores – 1. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 221; 2. Cedar Rapids Prairie 185; 3. City High 171; 4. Western Dubuque 166; 5. Cedar Falls 164; 6. Linn-Mar 148; 7. Dubuque Hempstead 145; 7. West High 145; 9. Waterloo West 78.5; 10. Liberty High 52.5; 11. Dubuque Senior 52; 12. Cedar Rapids Xavier 48; 13. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 46; 14. Dubuque Wahlert 45; 15. Cedar Rapids Washington 26; 16. Waterloo East 9
106 – 1. Ethan Wood-Finley (ICH) dec. Brandon O’Brien (L-M) 2-1; 5. Grant O’Dell (ICW)
113 – 1. Austin Kegley (CRP) major dec. Dawson Bierman (WD) 15-5; 5. Parker McBride (ICW)
120 – 1. Hunter Garvin (ICW) tech. fall Jacob Penrith (CF) 17-2; 6. Garrett Bormann (ICH)
126 – 1. Ty Pfiffner (CRK) dec. Dylan Whitt (CF) 4-2; 3. Keaton Speicher (ICW); 8. Michael Santoro (ICH)
132 – 1. Conrad Braswell (CRP) major dec. Joe Pins (DH) 13-5
138 – 1. Graham Gambrall (ICW) dec. Dylan Falck (CRK) 6-5; 7. Ryan Ceynar (ICH)
145 – 1. Noah Cunningham (CRK) pinned Tyler Murphy (DH) 6:45; 4. Reece Caven (ICH)
152 – 1. Kyle Hefley (ICH) dec. Elijah Demmer (WD) 5-0; 7. Mason Applegate (ICW)
160 – 1. Ryker Kurimski (WD) major dec. Brandon Lalla (ICH) 22-10; 7. Drew Snyder (ICL); 8. Joe Dixon (ICW)
170 – 1. Jake Hosch (WD) dec. Ryan Plummer (L-M) 5-2; 3. Ashton Barker (ICL); 7. Joe Ring (ICH)
182 – 1. Jacob Wempen (L-M) dec. Devin Ludwig (WD) 4-3; 6. Will Hoeft (ICW); 7. Gavin Luze (ICL)
195 – 1. Ashton Stoner-DeGroot (CRP) major dec. Cade Parker (CRK) 8-0; 4. Jason Lemus (ICH); 7. Brett Pelfrey (ICW)
220 – 1. Cam Jones (CRK) pinned Tanner Schultz (L-M) 1:43; 3. Landon Green (ICW); 8. Davryn Stewart (ICH) 5:08
285 – 1. Josh Vis (CRK) pinned Jacob Murry (ICH) 3:15