By ANDY HEINTZ
Courier Sports Writer
---- — OTTUMWA — Conner Mier and Nathan Cary both captured first-place honors when the Ottumwa wrestling team put on its home invitational Saturday at Evans Middle School gym.
For Cary, it was a reaffirmation of sorts; iron-clad proof that all that extra work on the mat had paid off.
Cary stuck his first four opponents at 126 pounds before he won an 8-4 decision over Des Moines North's Austin Claussen in the finals.
"I was glad it was over and I came out on top," Cary said. "All the hard work I put in the wrestling room helped me on the mat. I stayed in better shape than that kid and I managed to stay in better position because my technique was better."
For Mier, the meaning of the victory was magnified by the small sliver of time the senior has left to perform in the friendly confines of Evans Middle School gymnasium.
"It's great," Mier said. "I was so happy I finally got to be at the top of the podium here at home. It's an adrenaline rush, there's nothing like it.
"My days here competing in this gym are numbered, I just want to make the most of them."
Mier pinned all four of his opponents at 285, providing him with his second-straight first place in a tournament.
Not only did the senior wrestler create a memory that will remain lodged in his repository long after his high school career is over, he also accomplished this feat on his dad's birthday.
"Happy birthday dad, that's all I can say," Mier said.
"It was a nice birthday present," Conner's dad, Mike Mier added. "I'm very proud of that boy."
Meanwhile, Bryce Lunsford was at the forefront of Fairfield's success. Lunsford stuck his first three opponents before he registered his last pin of the day over Des Moines East's Prince York in the finals in 4:36 at 160 pounds.
"He beat a couple quality opponents," Fairfield coach Steve Miller said. "He just wrestled smart today. [He] got some pins for us, got some good team points. Just a good day by him."
"I didn't get nervous and I did what we went over in practice," Lunsford added.
Other Bulldogs who enjoyed a considerable degree of success in the tournament included Aleck Clark, who took third at 106 pounds, and Jack Stabile, who took third at 113 pounds. For Clark, it was another rock-solid effort, for Stabile it was a breakthrough day for the young sophomore wrestler who still sports a below .500 record.
"Jack Stabile had a great day," Frueh said.
Despite a few lapses here and there, the Bulldog coach was OK with his team's performance.
"That second to last round, we probably weren't favored in a lot of those matches," Frueh said, and we didn't win any of those. But need to start winning some of those even when we're not favored. We lost a few clsoe ones that cost us.
"Our last round was good. We're getting closer and we're working hard. Not bad at all."
As for the Trojans coach, he's optimistic about the program's future.
"I'm pleased with the overall effort, we just have a lot technical stuff and mental things to work on but, I'm overall pleased with the direction we're going."
Burlington took first overall as a team with 215 points and Ottumwa nabbed fourth place with 187.5, finishing just 1.5 points behind third place Des Moines East. Fairfield finished seventh with 87 points and the Ottumwa junior varsity team took eighth with 66.
Ottumwa (6-7) hits the road to take on Des Moines Lincoln at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Des Moines Lincoln High School.
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OTTUMWA WRESTLING INVITATIONAL
1. Burlington 215
2. Newton 208
3. Des Moines East 189
4. Ottumwa 187.5
5. Des Moines Lincoln 146.5
6. Davenport North 136.5
7. Fairfield 87
8. Ottumwa junior varsity 66
1st place match: Koby Hull (Newton) won 6-4 dec. over Tyler Powell (Lincoln).
3rd place match: Clark (Ottumwa) won by fall over Armandon Delarosa (East) in 2:55.
5th place match: Dalton Kelley (North) won by fall over Jacob Fitzner (Ott) in 0:43.
1st place match: Hunter Veersteegh (Newton) won 17-2 technical fall over Logan White (Burl.) in 3:51.
3rd place match: Jack Stabile (Ottumwa) won by fall over Alec Somsavath (East) in 3:14.
5th place match: Brendon Mash (North) won by fall over Chris Workman (Fair) in 4:44.
1st place match: Alfred Buford (Burl.) won by 8-3 decision over Ty McGhee (Lincoln).
3rd place match: Cole Peters (Newton) won a 13-9 decision over Collin McConnell (Ottumwa).
5th place match: Dylan Swinney (North) won by fall over Devlen Fisher (East) in 2:28.
1st place match: Nathan Cary (Ottumwa) won by 8-4 decision over Austin Claussen (North).
3rd place match: Alex Bentley won a 9-4 decision over Lucas Holiday (Lincoln).
5th place match: Vacengle Vang (East) won a 9-7 decision over Trevor Medina (Ottumwa junior varsity).
1st place match: Chance Raleigh (East) won 9-2 decision over Zach Swink (Burl.).
3rd place match: Newt Tish (Newton) won a 7-5 decision over Cole Baber (LIncoln).
5th place match: Jonny Morales (Ottumwa) won by 16-1 technical fall over Nathan Armstrong (North).
1st place match: Dallas Terry (Burl) won a 3-1 decision Dakota Dawson (Newton).
3rd place match: Devonte Whitfield (North) won by fall over Wyatt Schlotter (Ottumwa) in 1:49.
5th place match: Matthew Wilson (Lincoln) won by 6-5 decision over Seth Staton (Ottumwa).
1st place match: Spencer Sherwood (Burl.) won by 10-8 decision over Selbie McNair (North).
3rd place match: Spencer Northcott won by fall over Adolphe Nimenye (Lincoln) in 0:52.
5th place match: Juan Aldable (Ottumwa) won by fall over Ismar Argueta (Ottumwa JV) in 1:41.
1st place match: Josh Davis (East) won by fall over Nate Luna (Lincoln) in 2:22.
3rd place match: Garrett Grimshaw (Burl.) won by a 7-3 decision over Cody Meixner (Ottumwa).
5th place match: Peyton Patterson (Newton) won by fall over Trevor Anfinson (Ottumwa) in 3:39.
1st place match: Bryce Lunsford (Fair) won by fall over Prince York (East) in 4:36.
3rd place match: Kellen Kemp (Burl) won by forfeit over Cooper Smith (Ottumwa).
5th place match: Ben Berber (Lincoln) won by fall over Ben Berber (Lincoln) in 1:45.
1st place match: Dalton Witte (Burl) won by fall over Jeffery Thongvanh (Newton) in 1:58.
3rd place match: Markram Ibraheem (East) won by fall over Austin Francisco (Fair) in 1:32.
5th place match: Isaiah Cox (Ottumwa) won by fall over Grant Schiltz (Lincoln) in 3:52.
1st place match: Antone Swayzer (Burl) won by major decison over Brandon Haus (East) 17-6.
3rd place match: Michael Fritz (Fair) won by major decision over Levi Cobler (Ottumwa) 12-1.
5th place match: Mac Icenbice (Newt) won by a major decision over Drew Jones (Ottumwa JV) 10-2.
1st place match: Jordan Trowers (North) won by 5-2 decision over Roy Schroeder (Newt).
3rd place match: Austin Robbins (East) won by fall over Broihson Turner (Burl) at 0:28.
5th place match: Tyler Bookin-Nosbisch (Ottumwa) won by 4-3 decision over Randall Pugh (Fair).
1st place match: Alex Contreras (East) won by 5-2 decision over Brett Scott (Fair).
3rd place match: Briles Christenson (Lincoln) won by injury over Jacob Williams (Newton).
5th place match: Zain Lay (Ottumwa) won by fall over Trenton Sheets (Ottumwa JV) in 0:59.
1st place match: Conner Mier (Ottumwa) won by fall over Vincent Clark (Burl) in 1:38.
3rd place match: Gary Padavich (Ottumwa JV) won by fall over Devon Ramirez (North) in 4:54.
5th place: Lucas Montgomery