South Tama High School's cafeteria was nearly packed Sunday evening for the annual wrestling banquet, where handfuls of awards were distributed to STC athletes.
The banquet was held for the STC high school and middle school wrestlers and their families, along with the wrestling cheerleaders. The high school team celebrated one of its best seasons in recent years.
"It was probably one of the best seasons we've had for a long time," coach Nate Van Dyke said. "Our goal coming into the season was 20 dual wins as a team and six district qualifiers. At Christmas, we were having a great first half of the year, so we increased it to 22 dual wins. We ended up with 21, but our final dual before sections was canceled. I think we could have won two that night, bringing our total to 23. Last year we had 18, so 21 is the most we've had in a long time."
South Tama won the Pella Tournament in December. That was the first tournament win by the Trojans since 2009. They also finished second at the Bondurant Tournament and runner-up at their home duals.
The Trojans beat Eddyville-Blakesburg, who went on to finish second at the Class 1A state duals, in a January dual. They also beat West Marshall, who qualified for state duals, early in the season.
"In the back of our minds, we're still thinking state duals in the next couple of years," Van Dyke said. "That would be awesome if we could get the whole team down to Wells Fargo (Arena) and wrestle in that atmosphere. It would be a great experience for guys."
Along with the team awards, there were several individual successes honored Sunday. STC had eight wrestlers win more than 30 matches this season. In 2011-12, the Trojans had just two win more than 30. They also had six All-NICL wrestlers, six district qualifiers, three state qualifiers and one state medalist.
The All-Conference honors went to Jaret Probasco 3rd team; Kade Steuhm 3rd team; Levi Kaufman 3rd team; Kolton Smith 3rd team; Erik Lux 1st team; Dalton Vest 2nd team.
Five Trojans were selected to the NICL All-Academic team. They must be sophomore, junior or senior, while maintaining a 3.33 GPA. The honored Trojans were Dylan Kalinay, Kyle Llewellyn, Erik Lux, Kolton Smith and Jake Thiessen.
Van Dyke also awarded a handful of individual honors to the wrestlers. Those recipients were:
Most Improved - Dalton Vest
Teammate - Jake Thiessen and Kade Steuhm
Young buck (best freshman) - Jaret Probasco and Bailey Chyma
Sacrifice - Kyle Llewellyn
JV jungle - Trent Banes
Peak Performer - Kolton Smith
Sportsmanship/Integrity - Lucas Shope
Leadership - Levi Kaufman
Most Valuable - Erik Lux 50 wins