FORT DODGE – First-year program Indian Hills continues to turn heads in the Warriors’ inaugural season as the No. 20-ranked IHCC went on the road and upset No. 6-rated Iowa Central Wednesday evening at Hodges Fieldhouse, 27-15.
On a night where both squads were missing ranked competitors from their lineup, it was Indian Hills that got the better of it on this occasion, taking six of the nine contested matches and adding in a forfeit victory at 141 pounds to spring the upset.
“I could not be more proud of the amount of fight our guys showed,” said IHCC head coach Cole Spree. “We knew what we were up against, but one never knows how a young team will respond. We definitely answer the call, and it was exciting to be a part of.”
Freshman Khris Walton set the tone for the evening as the Merrillville, Indiana native took a dominating 16-2 major decision over Hugo Harp to put the Warriors up 4-0.
The No. 5-rated NJCAA heavyweight Jorden Pryor quickly put the host Tritons back in the lead with a pin in 1:14 to hand Iowa Central its first and only advantage on the scoreboard of the night at 6-4 after two matches.
The Warriors would pocket the next three weights as sophomore Chris Busutil belted an 18-2 technical fall at 125 pounds, followed by No. 8-ranked 133-pounder Caleb Meekins edging out an 11-8 decision and Victor Guzman garnering a forfeit at 141 to give IHCC an 18-6 lead half way through the event.
“We’ve just got to keep working and pushing,” said Iowa Central head coach Luke Moffitt. “It’s tough because we had to give up 141, and move kids to different weights to try and make up for that forfeit.”
The two squads took turns taking each of the next four bouts as ICCC’s No. 6-rated 141-pounder, Phil Smith, Jr. moved up a weight to down IHCC’s Destin Jones, 10-2, but Eli Loyd was right there to give the Warriors a pivotal 13-11 win at 157 to position coach Cole Spree’s wrestlers for the upset heading into the final three matches up 21-10.
The Triton’s No. 6-rated 165 pounder, Keaton Geerts breathed some life back into Iowa Central’s hopes with a 20-5 technical fall victory, pulling the hosts back within 21-15. The Warriors would not be denied as Neal Larsen took a hard fought 7-3 decision at 174, and Deron Pulliam gutted out a 4-2 win at 184 to seal the fate of the Tritons. Pulliam’s victory was over ICCC’s Jose Rodriguez, who’s rated No.3 in the nation at 174, but was moved up a weight as the highly-rated Tritons fell to 0-3 on the season and 0-2 in the ICCAC.
“As a staff, we have known that the ability was there to compete against some of the top teams in the country,” Spree added. “This win confirmed it to the guys though.”
Indian Hills (3-0 overall, 2-0 ICCAC) will hope to keep its early season momentum going Wednesday as the Warriors will host No. 13-ranked Iowa Lakes (1-2) in Centerville.
“Tonight was a great team win, but it has to be short-lived,” Spree said. “We will enjoy this win for a few hours, but we will have to get refocused and get back to work quickly. Iowa Lakes is another nationally-ranked team on the schedule, and we’ll have to be ready.”
First match against the Lakers is set for 6 p.m.
INDIAN HILLS 27, IOWA CENTRAL 15
197 – Khris Walton (IH) won by 16-2 major decision over Hugo Harp (IC). (IH leads 4-0)
285 – Jorden Pryor (IC) won by pinfall over Caleb Collins (IH), 1:14. (IC leads 6-4)
125 – Chris Busutil (IH) won by 18-2 technical fall over Couy Weil (IC), 4:28. (IH leads 9-6)
133 – Caleb Meekins (IH) won by 11-8 decision over Aidan Harris (IC). (IH leads 12-6)
141 – Victor Guzman (IH) won by forfeit. (IH leads 18-6)
149 – Phil Smith, Jr. (IC) won by 10-2 major decision over Destin Jones (IH). (IH leads 18-10)
157 – Eli Loyd (IH) won by 13-11 decision over Nolan Miller-Johnston (IC). (IH leads 21-10)
165 – Keaton Geerts (IC) won by 20-5 technical fall over Mouhamadou Sene (IH) 5:53. (IH leads 21-15)
174 – Neal Larsen (IH) won by 7-3 decision Devon McSorley (IC). (IH leads 24-15)
184 – Deron Pulliam (IH) won by 4-2 decision over Jose Rodriguez (IC). (IH wins 27-15)