Union/G-R grapplers split home dual with Cougars

Knight wrestler Jilllian Worthen, top, works to flip Sumner-Fredericksburg’s Isabel Christensen during their bout on Jan. 18 in La Porte City. Worthen – currently ranked No. 2 at 125 pounds by IA Wrestle – would go on to win the match by pinfall. PHOTO BY RUBY F. MCALLISTER

LA PORTE CITY – The full Union/Union-Gladbrook-Reinbeck wrestling team split their last home dual of the season last Thursday evening with the top-ranked boys’ squad confidently conquering Sumner-Fredericksburg 57-21 while the girls fell 48-18 to the Cougars.

The meet was originally meant to be a double dual with two sets of Cougars – Sumner-Fred and AGWSR – but due to the weather AGWSR elected not to travel. (A winter weather advisory was issued that evening for much of Iowa due to accumulating snow, wind, and bitter cold.)

Ahead of the girls’ dual, five seniors from Union’s boys squad were honored alongside their parents including Keegan Ellsworth, Wyatt Hoy, Tyce Murley, Caleb Olson, and Brock Ruzika; Gladbrook-Reinbeck senior Xandra Anderson was also honored.

Following Senior Night announcements, the girls took to the mats with Union notching three wins including reigning state champion Jillian Worthen (130) who came from behind to win by pinfall in a tough five minute, 13 second bout with Isabel Christensen.

Xandra Anderson (235) also won her match, pinning Maddisen Kolaas in a quick 53 seconds.

Union’s remaining points were courtesy of Ella Wagner (145) who won by forfeit.

Later that evening – following the induction of retired Union wrestling head coach Dick Ingvall into the district’s Hall of Fame (see page 1 for the story) – the boys took seven wins on the mats over the Cougars including:

*Coy Mehlert (106) over Michael Eimers by pinfall in one minute, 30 seconds

*Brayden Bohnsack (120) over Sam Egan by pinfall in 30 seconds

*Jace Hedeman (132) over Ryder Larson by pinfall in one minute, 24 seconds

*Keegan Ellsworth (144) over Kyler Glenn by pinfall in three minutes, one second

*Brock Bergmeier (157) over Nolan Pagel by pinfall in five minutes, 54 seconds

*Briar Mast over (165) Jordan Cannon by pinfall in three minutes, eight seconds

*Brock Ruzicka (175) over Grant Henderson by decision, 7-6

Stratton Luke (113), Kaydin Jones (126), and Caleb Olson (150) also notched wins for the Knights by forfeit.

Ruzicka’s bout with Henderson was particularly rousing bringing many of his teammates to their feet including in the final moments when a question arose between the officials as to the awarding of points; Ruzicka ultimately earned those points, helping to seal his hard fought win by decision.

On Friday the girls wrapped up the regular season in Winthrop at East Buchanan’s Marilyn Steinkamp Tournament. The Knights took 10th out of 13 teams with Worthen capturing another tournament title by notching pinfall wins in the quarterfinal and semifinal, and a win by major decision (12-3) in the final over MFL MarMac’s Mackenzie Bachman.

Also at East Buchanan, Mya Ellsworth took silver in the 155 pounds bracket while both Grace Witt (105) and Anderson (235) captured bronze in their respective brackets.

The road to state for girls wrestling begins Friday, Jan. 26, at 10 a.m. at four different super regionals held across the state.

Union’s squad has been assigned to Region 5 which is competing in Cedar Rapids at Alliant Energy PowerHouse. Other teams assigned to Region 5 include: Bellevue, Camanche, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Washington, Central DeWitt, Clinton Columbus Junction/WMU, Denver, Don Bosco, East Buchanan, Fort Madison, Independence, Linn-Mar, Louisa-Muscatine, Marion, Marshalltown, Midland, Northeast Community, Pleasant Valley, Prairie, Wahlert Catholic, West Liberty, Wilton, and Xavier.