OTTUMWA — Growing pains. During the vicissitudes that mark a season, nearly all young teams must endure this hardship. And, last Monday, it was the Ottumwa wrestling team's turn to suffer its share.
The Bulldogs sustained a lopsided 59-9 defeat to an imposing Dowling team. The dinged-up, short-handed Bulldogs had few answers for Dowling's impressive array of wrestlers.
"It was by far our best competition," Ottumwa wrestling coach Jeremy Frueh said. "We did see Mediapolis this weekend, but Dowling is a solid team that doesn't make many mistakes. And when you make mistakes, they capitalize on them."
Yet, despite the deficit of victories, Ottumwa's first-year coach and some of his wrestlers were able to glean some positives from the dual.
"It gives us good experience, especially against a team that is really aggressive with good technique," said Juan Aldaba, who accounted for half of Ottumwa's victories that night with an 11-6 win over Gus Moon at 145 pounds.
"It's good competition for us and it gets us to know where we're at as a team," said Nathan Cary, who won Ottumwa's only other match by fall over Soren Kyhl at 126 pounds in 3:28.
Frueh said the dual was good for some of his wrestlers.
"I liked how Juan competed," he said. "That was a really good match for him. I thought a couple of other guys could have won. I thought Tyler [Bookin-Nosbisch] and Alec Clark could have won.
"I thought Levi [Cobler] competed well until the very end where he gave up the fall. He was in a couple of positions where I think he could have scored takedowns, but he stopped wrestling for just a second. I was happy with the way Tyler competed; that kid always competes that way, so I'm not surprised. He's going a 100 miles per hour all the time. Sometimes he gets a little out of control, but not a terrible match for him and I think we'll get him Saturday (Ottumwa and Dowling will be among the teams competing at the Oskaloosa Invitational Saturday).