OTTUMWA — It took over 15 years for the Ottumwa High School wrestling team to once again host a meet inside the OHS wood gymnasium.
Less than a month later, the Bulldog grapplers were back in the once and potentially future home of Ottumwa wrestling duals. The final home dual of the 2018-19 season ended on a positive note for OHS in a 60-20 CIML Metro conference win over Des Moines North/Hoover on Thursday night, making the Bulldogs 1-1 this year inside the wood gym.
"I think, after that night last month we wrestled Des Moines Lincoln, we talked about definitely wrestling in the high school gym in the future," Ottumwa head wrestling coach Jeremy Frueh said. "I asked if we could host the next dual here. I got a yes right away. I'm pushing to host all of the duals here, but we've had a couple here this year and it's been a really cool environment. Hopefully, we can keep doing it."
The second dual of the season in the wood gym doubled as Senior Night with OHS senior wrestlers, managers and cheerleaders honored with their parents prior to the dual. Jacob Brownlee, who joined Vincent Vass, Bryan Cordova and Dylan Skinner as the senior honorees, secured a win by fall in just 35 seconds over Orlando Fuentes in the heavyweight match.
"I wish I could have been able to wrestle the last match of the night," Brownlee said. "I wanted to savor the environment of the entire meet."
Brownlee was recovering from an injury last month when OHS made its return to the wood gym against Lincoln. At the time, it appeared Brownlee would miss out on the chance to compete in the unique environment.
On Thursday, Brownlee shined in the spotlight in what will be his only match he will wrestle inside the wood gym.
"It's pretty cool wrestling here. Having it be Senior Night makes it that much better," Brownlee said. "There's nothing like it wrestling somewhere that hasn't hosted wrestling in awhile."
Brownlee improved to 18-2 on his senior season, including seven-straight wins since returning from injury out of the holiday break. Brownlee, seeking to make it to the state wrestling tournament, has scored five wins by first-period fall over the past week and appears to have only gotten better since returning to full health.
"He's on a really good run right now and just has to keep it going," Frueh said of Brownlee. "The way Jacob's training right now, he's the best he's ever looked in practice and the best he's trained in four years. He's putting everything together. He just has to believe that there's no one he can't beat. He's a big move guy, he's dangerous and I think he's starting believe. The sky's the limit for him."
Vass and Cordova both won by forfeit after scoring pins last month at the wood gym. Skinner, meanwhile, showed improvement falling in an 8-4 decision to Arthur Sumie at 170 pounds.
"That's a returning state qualifier that Dylan wrestled really tough," Frueh said. "All Dylan has to do is get control of his ties a little more. He can give himself a chance to win matches like that going forward."
The night also featured plenty of success for young OHS wrestlers. Sophomore Reese Jones scored a fall in 4:46 over Vital Nyabashi at 145 pounds for the Bulldogs while freshmen Trevor Summers (138) and Corbin Grace (120) also scored pins in the home finale of the 2018-19 season.
"The energy is definitely a lot different than it is at Evans Gymnasium," said Grace after pinning Mohammed Hussain in 2:33. "There's a lot more yelling. It's a lot more exciting when you win. It definitely feels a lot better."
Ottumwa, having won three-straight duals, returns to action in Centerville at the Mike Halupnick Big Red Invitational on Saturday.
Ottumwa 60, Des Moines Hoover/North 20
220: Brody Slack (OTTU) over (DMNH) (For.) 285: JACOB BROWNLEE (OTTU) over Orlando Fuentes (DMNH) (Fall 0:35) : 106: Aime Mukiza (DMNH) over Chris Luedtke (OTTU) (TF 19-4 5:21) 113: Dawson Goodwin (OTTU) over (DMNH) (For.) 120: Corbin Grace (OTTU) over Mohammad Hussain (DMNH) (Fall 2:32) 126: Zachariah Shoemaker (OTTU) over (DMNH) (For.) 132: Michael Moore (DMNH) over Kelvin Howard (OTTU) (Fall 1:08) 138: Treavor Summers (OTTU) over Vital Nyabashi (DMNH) (Fall 0:33) 145: Reese Jones (OTTU) over Ethan Stanley (DMNH) (Fall 4:45) 152: VINCENT VASS (OTTU) over (DMNH) (For.) 160: Andrew Johnston (OTTU) over (DMNH) (For.) 170: Arthur Sumie (DMNH) over Dylan Skinner (OTTU) (Dec 8-4) 182: Dalton Davis (DMNH) over Sam Matthiesen (OTTU) (Fall 0:47) 195: Bryan Cordova (OTTU) over (DMNH) (For.)