Redhawks return with wins, rankings following break
Zook newly ranked at No. 7
The Redhawks wrestlers returned to the mats following winter break in a big way last week with two ranked wrestlers, team wins over Hartwick-Ladora-Victor (HLV) and Lynnville-Sully, and a fourth place finish at the North Mahaska Invite.
As of Tuesday, Jan. 4, sophomore Case Monat at 106 was again ranked No. 8 in 1A wrestling, while Aiden Zook at 170 zoomed onto the rankings with a fresh place at No. 7 following a slew of dual and tournament wins.
In the wake of the new rankings, North Tama headed south to Iowa County Thursday night for a double dual in Victor.
The rosters for both of the opposing teams were slim that night – HLV’s roster in particular with only five competing wrestlers – but it was a good first toe back in the water for North Tama.
The Redhawks took down HLV 40-24 and Lynnville-Sully 31-30.
Head coach Andrew Knaack was pleased with Thursday’s results.
“I think [Thursday night] was a good first meet to have to get back on the mat after a long break,” Coach Knaack said in a text-based interview. “I think the guys that had the opportunity competed well. Case [Monat] went out and took care of business like he has the ability to do every time he steps on the mat.”
Monat took down his Lynnville-Sully opponent Elizabeth Elliott by fall in 1:48. His second dual against HLV was a forfeit due to an open weight class.
Christian Dronebarger (126), Kolt Knaack (132), and Nathan Kucera (138) also had good nights in Victor.
Dronebarger won by decision 7-2 over Lynnville-Sully and took a forfeit win over HLV due to an open weight class.
Knaack grappled for an extended period of time to ultimately take down Lynnville-Sully’s Terran Gosselink by major decision 11-2. Like Dronebarger, Knaack also received a forfeit win over HLV due to an open weight class.
Kucera got two solid wins to start the new year – the first over Lynnville-Sully by fall in 0:45 and the second over HLV by major decision, 12-1.
Despite not having an opponent to wrestle from either team on Thursday, Zook spent the evening encouraging his teammates and acting every bit the senior wrestler that he is.
“Aiden has been wrestling well for us this year,” Coach Knaack said. “I expect him to be a leader since he does have the experience. He is the only one on the team to wrestle at the state tournament. He has the big goal of being a state champ. I am going to do everything I can to help him achieve that goal.”
If Saturday’s tournament action is any indication, it certainly looks like Zook is making his case for a repeat appearance at the state tournament, coming away with a North Mahaska Wrestling Invitational Champion title.
The Redhawks were returning to New Sharon as the reigning 2020 Champions and had high hopes of repeating the feat. While not quite reaching their goal, the team as a whole put up a stellar effort.
Both Kolt Knaack and Zook took home champion titles in their respective brackets, while Monat, Kucera, Dronebarger, and senior Logan Rausch (160) each captured second place in their respective weight classes.
Runner-up Dronebarger, who is unranked, only lost in the final to Class 1A No. 10 ranked Paul DeJong of North Mahaska.
The Redhawks will be busy again this week starting in Belle Plaine on Tuesday where they’ll also face BGM, Grinnell, and South Tama.
The team will then travel to Sumner on Thursday, Jan. 13 for double dual action against Sumner-Fredericksburg and Wapsie Valley.
On Saturday, Jan. 15, the Redhawks host the North Tama Wrestling Tournament featuring Des Moines Roosevelt, Columbus Catholic, and Hudson beginning at 10 a.m. in the Redhawks Nest.
The tournament is set to feature several ranked wrestlers – in addition to Monat and Zook – including Class 1A Columbus Catholic’s No. 1 Maximus Magayna (160) and Class 1A Hudson’s No. 2 Tate Entriken (182).