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JUCO wrestling: Warrior wrestlers make final push

Feb. 13—CENTERVILLE — It hasn't been easy for the Indian Hills wrestling program this season.

The Warriors just make it look easy at times. Such was the case in the final home meet of the season as both the top-ranked IHCC women and 19th-ranked IHCC men dominated Iowa Lakes, allowing just six combined team points to the Lakers on Sophomore Night at the multipurpose center on the Centerville campus sweeping through two final Iowa Community College Athletic Conference duals with the Warrior men winning 50-6 while the Warrior women completed a 48-0 shutout in less than 30 minutes to close out the month of January.

Indian Hills kept the momentum going this past weekend in the NJCAA North Central District Tournament. Isaac Gibbs led the Warrior men to a third-place finish in the tournament winning the district championship at 125 pounds as IHCC will send all 10 wrestlers that competed in Estherville to Council Bluffs to compete in the NJCAA National Tournament Mar. 1-2 at the Mid-America Center.

"Considering the circumstances the guys have been battling, it's been a pretty impressive performance," Indian Hills head wrestling coach Cole Spree said. "We had guys the week before our meet with Iowa Lakes that were really battling some sickness. We only had about 12-13 guys practicing the Monday before the meet and a couple guys that started after not being able to practice all week. They got in and made weight. Some of them hadn't recovered, but we needed them to be gutsy and fill weight classes."

Besides having wrestlers available to compete in nine of the 10 weight classes, the Indian Hills men that did compete against Iowa Lakes were able to dominate the action on the mat. Yavion Freeman put 10 points on the board in the opening period on the way to a 15-5 major decision over Eddy Ndayikengurukiye at 149 pounds before KingJames Perry securing a 16-1 tech fall in just over a minute at 157 pounds against Fischer Hawkins, giving IHCC a 9-6 lead after giving up the only points of the dual on an opening forfeit at 141 pounds.

Four of the IHCC men honored prior to the final home dual as sophomore members of the Warriors also contributed points in the win. Peyton Asbury scored a fall in 2:52 over Ulises Placido at 165 pounds, Rodrick Love earned a forfeit at 184, Treshawn White pinned Tyreik Davison in 82 seconds of a heavyweight battle while Steven Luedtke closed out the final home meet of the season pinning Ayden Rader in 1:49 at 133 pounds wrestling just days after losing his grandmother.

"I went back home and went to my club team to sort of find myself again," Luedtke said. "There's a lot of love that was waiting back here with this community. I can really appreciate that. People need that."

White, meanwhile, clinched a trip to nationals on Saturday by finishing third in his first district tournament. After falling in the semifinals, White battled back in the consolation bracket scoring consecutive pins to help extend his season.

"It really comes down to getting the job done no matter what," White said. "It's motivated me a lot to be a part of this program. Indian Hills has a great tradition of getting heavyweights deep into the national tournament. I definitely want to keep that tradition going and keep on adding to the legacy."

The Indian Hills women, meanwhile, will be looking to add to their burgeoning legacy as a program by going after their fourth national championship in four years at the NJCAA National Invitational also held in Council Bluffs Mar. 1-2. The top-ranked Warrior women completed a dominant run through ICCAC competition outscoring their six regional rivals by a combined score of 267-40, including just two points allowed in two meetings with Iowa Lakes.

Dutchess King and Shammilka Miranda Diaz, two of IHCC's reigning individual national champions, both took full advantage of their final matches at home against the Lakers. King clinched a 10-0 tech fall in less than two minutes against Kylie Hessenius at 109 pounds while Diaz also needed less than one period to clinch her own 10-0 tech fall over Alex Carty at 116.

"It's kind of hard to believe that it's the last time I'll get to wrestle at home," King said. "It's the same sequence as any other dual. Nothing's really different.

"I still feel like I need to work harder, but I still feel like I'm definitely on pace to win another national championship. It's a lot of pressure to even say we are who we are. Not a lot of teams get to say they're No. 1. Not a lot of teams can be like ours."

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.