By ANDY HEINTZ
Courier Sports Writer
The Ottumwa wrestling team has gotten off to a solid start in its first year with Jeremy Frueh at the helm.
The Bulldogs headed into Christmas Break with a respectable 6-5 dual record overall and a perfect 2-0 record against CIML Metro Conference competition. The Bulldogs attained their winning record in spite of an arduous schedule swimming with high-caliber opponents like Ballard, Southeast Polk and two duals against an imposing Dowling squad.
Though the Bulldogs efforts to topple these high school wrestling Goliaths fell short, Ottumwa compensated for these losses with dual victories over Cardinal, Davis County, Fairfield, Des Moines Roosevelt and Des Moines North-Hoover. Not bad for a youth-laden squad that’s decorated with only four seniors wrestling at the varsity level.
“I think we’re figuring out what we need to work on and get better on,” Frueh said. “Some of our guys need to learn how to win close matches against good competition. We’re making progress.”
Thus far Alec Clark and Nathan Cary have been two of the Bulldogs most reliable wrestlers: Cary boasts a 14-3 record at 126 pounds, while Clark is 15-4 at 106. In addition, Cary and Clark have enjoyed success in tournament competition: Both Bulldogs took second in their respective brackets at the Dick Mellinger Invitational in Burlington and the Bill Van Horn Invitational in Pella last Saturday.
“It was just gaining confidence and figuring out they can beat good competition,” Frueh said about his two wrestlers.
In addition, Conner Mier has has looked impressive in the heavyweight decision since he returned from an injury that had forced him to miss the first couple of duals of the season. The pinnacle of Mier’s season up to this point came when he took first place at the Pella Bill Van Horn Invite.
“That’s the first tournament he’s won in high school,” Freuh said.
The coach added that the return of Mier will provide Ottumwa with a big boost in dual competition.
Other Ottumwa wrestlers who boast a winning record are Isaiah Cox at 170 pounds and Wyatt Schlotter at 138. In addition, Cox and Schlotter along with Tyler Bookin-Nosbisch (195) and Zain Lay (220) all corralled third-place finishes at the Dick Mellinger Invitational. Collin McConnell (120) and Juan Aldaba (145) also have enjoyed a considerable degree of success in tournament competition: McConnell claimed second at the Dick Mellinger Invitational and Aldaba grabbed third at the Bill Van Horn Invite.
Ottumwa wrestles in a pair of duals against Indianola and Urbandale at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9 at Indianola High School.
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