Prairie Wrestling added 2 more wins to their undefeated record yesterday, after beating both Dubuque Hempstead, and Cedar Rapids Kennedy. The Hawks are now 5-0 on the season, despite missing up to 5 starters, for multiple reasons including injuries, sickness, and other medical problems.
The depth of the team has been the story so far throughout the season, with JV wrestlers competing, and winning, on the varsity stage. The next man up mentality is something that every coach tries to instill in their wrestlers, but Head coach Kane Thompson has obviously gotten the message across.
“We feel like we’re getting to pull out some great wins because of the guys who have wrestled on the (junior varsity) and they are stepping up,” Thompson told the Gazette after the wins Thursday. Out of the 14 current starters, 11 of them have previously wrestled on Junior Varsity, showing how much talent this team really has.
Kids like Mason Johnson ’18, who is filling in for Casey Hogan ’17 at the 138 weight class, are competing at a level that gives the Hawks an edge. Johnson had a pivotal pin against Kennedy’s Jay Oostendorp, putting Prairie up 24-18, a lead they would hold the rest of the way.
“I think it’s all about going out to win,” Johnson said. “No matter how deep you go in our lineup there will be a guy who will compete.”
And it’s not just the underclassmen winning. Senior Tyger Whitters upset second-ranked Alex Ward in a gutsy 3rd period comeback, and Preston LaGrange ’17 went 2-0 on the night, extending his undefeated streak.
This team is likely to make a deep run at state, after a somewhat disappointing finish last year. If the Hawks get healthy soon, they could be unstoppable.
(Photo by Gazette)