Bulldogs are sectional champs, send record seven wrestlers to districts

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The MFL MarMac wrestling team won the sectional tournament at Postville Feb. 4. Seven wrestlers—Ethan Stubbs, Michael Egan, Brady Olson, Riley Doeppke, Nathan Johanningmeier, Garret Keehner and Korby Keehner—were individual champions. (Photo courtesy of Erin Keehner)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

A week after becoming Upper Iowa Conference champions, the MFL MarMac wrestling team topped another tournament, this time winning their sectional at Postville Feb. 4. Seven of the team’s 14 wrestlers were individual champions.

The Bulldogs racked up 251 team points, handily out-pacing the second-place finisher, South Winneshiek, which had 203 points. With 194.5 points, Sumner-Fredericksburg placed third, followed by Postville with 119, Starmont with 74, Clayton Ridge with 50, Central with 43.5 and Turkey Valley with 36.

Michael Egan (132), Brady Olson (138), Riley Doeppke (145), Garret Keehner (170) and Korby Keehner (220), who were all conference champions last week, also became sectional champs Saturday. Egan, who has a 42-1 record this season, defeated a familiar foe, South Winn’s Tayton Bullerman, in a 14-6 major decision to win the title. Olson scored a 14-1 major decision victory over Jacob Ling, from South Winn, to place first. Doeppke earned a close 3-1 decision win over Sumner-Fred’s Carter Seitsinger, to come out on top. Garret Keehner won his final match after South Winn’s Gabe Kipp was injured, while Korby Keehner picked up a 6-2 decision win over Brock Meyer, of Sumner-Fred.

Ethan Stubbs (106) and Nathan Johanningmeier (152) were also sectional champions. Stubbs, who narrowly lost last week’s conference title to South Winn’s Felicity Taylor, got redemption this week. He defeated Taylor in the final seconds, to win a 2-1 decision. Johanningmeier, who finished third at conference last week, took home the championship after winning a 7-4 decision against Central’s Ted Hilgerson. 

The remaining MFL MarMac wrestlers all had fourth-place finishes or better. J.T. Stocker (113), Zach Trudo (120), Zach Howe (126), Colton Dettman (182) and Nick Larson (285) placed third. Avrey Smith (150) and Austin Ruff (195) were fourth in their respective weight classes.

“It was one of those days you’re always working for,” said head coach Chet Bachman. “They all fed off each other. All 14 pieces contributed. Some are wrestling better than they ever have.”

The Bulldogs’ success, Bachman added, goes to show that, if you believe in yourself and don’t quit, anything can happen.

“If you have heart, fight and will, if you’ve got all of that in a match, you can beat just about anybody,” he said.

This week, MFL MarMac,  who is ranked 11th with a record of 24-3, will compete in regional duals at Dike, versus East Buchanan, on Tuesday, Feb. 7. The winner will take on either Wapsie Valley or Pleasantville, for a chance to compete at the state duals on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

The seven sectional champions advanced on to the Class 1A, District 6 tournament, which will be held at Starmont on Saturday, Feb. 11. Seven qualifiers is a school record.

Whether preparing for the regional duals or districts this coming weekend, Bachman said it’s important to remain healthy, while also drilling and staying in a rhythm in practice. 

“We need to keep doing what we’re doing,” he shared. “You also need to talk about what you need to do. Mindset is pretty big.”

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