By Travis Hutson
The electrical atmosphere of high school playoff wrestling is arguably unmatched by any other sport. The teams and the crowd are full of anxious passion, usually rising to a critical point in a meet, where it explodes. Because of the early back and forth matches between Johnston and Prairie on Wednesday, that kind of explosion happened twice.
The first, was when Morgan Hood ‘17 defended Prairie’s early 4-3 lead with a reverse cradle pin in 41 seconds against Johnston’s Elliot Pohlmeyer. Hood, along with rest of the team, and every Prairie fan in the building, celebrated the win.
Hood spent most of the year out of the starting lineup, with Junior Mike Jasa in the varsity 152 spot. When Jasa injured his shoulder, the coaches knew that Hood, as a returning state qualifier, was hardly a downgrade.
“When the door opened to get back in the lineup, he’s done the things needed to do to put himself to win matches like that,” Prairie Coach Kane Thompson told the Gazette.
The second big moment of the meet was just three matches later, following an upset over Prairie’s 160 pounder Tyger Whitters, a match that painted a bleak picture for the Hawks chances of winning the dual.
Preston LaGrange gave up a takedown and was put on his back in the opening period, losing 7-0 before he scored an escape, and a take down. He then clinched his signature cradle, and pinned Johnston’s Emin Okic in 3:31.
The gym erupted once again, and the Hawks never looked back, winning the meet 47-16. Prairie qualified for state for the 4th straight year, and will face first ranked Southeast Polk at the Wells Fargo Arena.
(Photo by Gazette)