South Tama wrestled Valley of Elgin and Cedar Rapids Washington in a double dual, beating the Valley Tigers and losing to the Warriors on senior night Jan. 31. East Marshall also wrestled at the Trojan's final home meet of the year. The Mustangs and Trojans did not face off.
"It was a good night to send the seniors off," said head coach Nate Van Dyk. "We would have liked to have capped it off with two wins. Cedar Rapids Washington is a tough team. They beat us at Bondurant, they won the Bondurant tournament. When I saw East Marshall beat them (tonight), I thought maybe we'd be in the dual. They out-wrestled us."
The Trojans started out the night with Valley of Elgin (11-11-1), a school district in eastern Fayette County in northeast Iowa.
These eleven young men and young women were recognized January 31 on senior night for the South Tama County wrestling program. The senior wrestlers in the front row are Joe Shope, Tyler Walz, Ben Packer, Miguel Guzman and Moises Fonseca. In back, Sierra Kaufman is a manager, Heidi Groenenboom is a statistician, and Kayla Eberhart, Samantha Frundle, Kylynn Steuhm and Sarah Holtz are senior cheerleaders.
There were no matches at four weight classes. South Tama forfeited 126 and Valley forfeited at 106, 182 and 195. Of the ten remaining weight classes, South Tama won five of them, all with falls.
The opening meet belonged to STC, 48-32.
"They've got a decent team, they're no slouches. They're a good team from a good wrestling area."
In the second meet with Cedar Rapids Washington (8-5), the Trojans could not stay with the Warriors.
South Tama again forfeited at 126. Miguel Guzman picked up a forfeit at 220 from the Warriors. Of the twelve contested weights, STC won just four, but in two other matches (145 and 170) South Tama was tied or far ahead before getting caught by a Washington opponent for a fall.
Van Dyke was circumspect.
"You just got to wrestle the whole match, and that's wrestling for you. You can be winning the whole match and lose the thing in two seconds, if you get pinned. It can be the last two seconds of the match, too, so it just comes down to you got to be ready to wrestle the whole match, stay focused for six minutes. Sometimes when you get out there, ten seconds seems like an eternity."
The 19-point swing (two falls vs. a decision and a major decision) was too much for the Trojans to overcome. South Tama came up short, 50-29.
Overall, the Trojans ended up 18-8 for season, a good showing, as Van Dyke noted.
"Head and shoulders above what it was in recent years. Last year, we were just close to '.500'."
After the meet, Van Dyke talked about the upcoming sectional February 4 hosted by South Tama.
"We're just going to stay in the swing of things. We got our routine down for the last couple of weeks. We get to come out here and compete one last time in front of the home crowd. Just kind of stay in our routine, get ready for sectionals and keep it rolling."
Van Dyke gave a nod to his five seniors he is losing after this season. They are Moises Fonseca, Miguel Guzman, Ben Packer, Joe Shope and Tyler Walz.
"It's always special. I've only been around a couple of years, but it's a long season and you're with each other in a gym on Saturday for all day, and you're with each other every night. It's a tough sport, so you get to see their whole range of emotions, what's going on with their character. You see them when they're battling through tough situations on the mat and life and you get to know them really, really well. It's kind of like a family and you hate to see those guys go.
"We'll miss them, but we're not done yet!"
South Tama hosted sectionals Feb. 4. Sectional champions and runners-up advanced to the district meet to be held this Saturday, Feb. 11, at PCM in Monroe.