CENTERVILLE — For the first time in program history, the Indian Hills men’s wrestling squad took the mat on its home turf, and the Warriors did not disappoint as IHCC won convincingly, 38-4 over visiting Ellsworth.
Head Coach Cole Spree, whose previous job saw him leading the Ellsworth’s Panthers, showed his first-year program may be one to be reckoned with after a second-straight dual victory to start the season.
“I think some people may have been sleeping on us early,” Spree said after watching his Warriors win nine of ten bouts at the IHCC Multipurpose Building. “I’m excited. I think we’re pretty darn talented, and after winning in dominating fashion at William Penn and now with winning this one in dominating fashion… I think people will take a little more notice of us.”
Spree’s wrestlers would make sure there would be little suspense on the evening as the Warriors took the first five matches to sprint out to a 23-0 margin. Chris Busutil christened the mat at 125 pounds for IHCC with a 9-0 major decision over Carter Littlefield, and despite the shutout win, Spree noted that Busutil wasn’t satisfied.
“I don’t this Chris was happy with that performance. He knows he’s got more in him. I don’t know what it was for sure, but he was just a little flat. I think he felt like he could dominate that match even more,” Spree said. “The good news is that we’ll see these guys again later in the season, so he’ll get to see from today until March 24 how much better he can get.”
No. 8-rated Caleb Meekins (2-0) got his second straight win by pinfall to start the season as he took only 45 seconds to dispatch of Ellsworth’s Martin Santana.
In what Spree would call the most impressive win of the night, Victor Guzman followed with a 19-4 technical fall over Ricardo Santana to boost the Warrior lead to 15-0 after three matches.
“That was a three-time Georgia state champion that Victor beat, and that kid is tough,” Spree said. “We know that Victor is going to be really, really good. He’s a great kid. Academically he makes all the right decisions. Socially, he makes all the right decisions. Because he doesn’t have distractions in those other areas, he just keeps getting better and better. He’s going to be a dangerous, dangerous person by the end of the year.”
Destin Jones moved to 2-0 at 149 pounds after a hard-fought 8-6 win over Nathan Lendt, and was followed by Eli Loyd (1-1) winning by technical fall at 157 pounds over Joe LIttrell, 17-2.
Ellsworth’s Justin Henry collected the Panther’s lone win of the evening at 165 pounds with a 15-4 major decision over Ramiro Mosquera, but the Warriors would sweep the remaining matches with Mouhamadou Sene (174), Khris Walton (197) and Caleb Collins (285) all winning by decision, while Deron Pulliam collected his second pin in as many outings at 184, with a second period stoppage over Jarred Landsperger.
“That’s the first time we’ve had Khris at 197,” Spree added. “I’m excited to see him continue to grow. I feel like from day one until now, he’s a whole different person.”
The Warrior headman also lauded Pulliam’s effort.
“When Deron pulls the trigger there’s no one in the country that can hang with him. He’s just that talented. We’ve just got to get him to pull the trigger all of the time.”
After seeing his squad move to 2-0 on the campaign, Spree reflected on the team’s accomplishments thus far.
“We ask two things of the guys. Have fun and perform. Mistakes will happen, but I don’t want our emphasis to be on results right now. We went out there and scored a lot of points and had a lot of fun. We’re getting better and in the end that’s what you want to see as a coach. Now we just have to get better and hopefully Wednesday we will see another step forward.”
Wednesday’s test will be a stiff one as the Warriors travel to Fort Dodge to take on perennial power Iowa Central, currently ranked No. 6 by the NJCAA.
“Iowa Central is the best team in our conference. They have been for years,” Spree noted. “They’ve won numerous national titles and they set the bar in our conference. It’ll be good for us to see them early in the season and know where we’ve got to go.”
Wednesday’s showdown with the Tritons begins at 6 p.m. at Dr. John E. Hodges Fieldhouse.
Indian Hills 38, Ellsworth 4
125 – Chris Busutil (IH) won maj. dec. Carter Littlefield (E), 9-0. (4-0)
133 – Caleb Meekins (IH) won by fall over Martin Santana (E) 2:15 1st period. (10-0)
141 – Victor Guzman (IH) won by tech. fall over Ricardo Santana (E), 19-4. (15-0)
149 – Destin Jones (IH) won by dec. over Nathan Lendt (E), 8-6. (18-0)
157 – Eli Loyd (IH) won by tech. fall over Joe Littrell (E), 17-2. (23-0)
165 – Justin Henry (E) won by maj. dec. over Ramiro Mosquera (IH), 15-4. (23-4)
174 – Mouhamadou Sene (IH) won by decision over Teegan Tschampel (E), 14-6. (26-4)
184 – Deron Pulliam (IH) won by fall over Jarred Landsperger (E) :58 2nd period. (32-4)
197 – Khris Walton (IH) won by dec. over Jerrell Belcher (E), 10-3. (35-4)
285 – Caleb Collins (IH) won by dec. over Chris Sanchez (E), 4-1. (38-4)