WATERLOO — There are many fun things about the Battle of Waterloo, Iowa’s premiere midseason dual tournament, but perhaps the most intriguing part of this grueling two-day competition is how revealing it can be.
Let’s start with the big results. Waverly-Shell Rock prevailed here with a spotless 6-0 record. The Go-Hawks, the No. 1 team in Class 3A and the 17th-ranked high school team in the country, are champions for the third time in school history after defeating Indianola, West Delaware and Don Bosco in Saturday’s championship pool.
The Go-Hawks put forth another masterclass performance here at Young Arena, posting a 58-26 record in individual matches this weekend. Of those 58 victories, 46 resulted in bonus points, including a tournament-best 36 pins. They scored 50 points or more in four of their six duals, and 49 in a fifth.
The highly anticipated final against Don Bosco, Class 1A’s No. 1 team, went lopsided in a hurry. The Go-Hawks won 10 of 14 weights, including five of the first six for a 26-4 lead. The Dons closed within 32-14 with three matches left, but three-straight wins from Zane Behrends, Braxton Westendorf and Sam Hornyak slammed the door shut.
The Dons finished ahead of West Delaware, the No. 1 team in Class 2A, thanks to a narrow 30-29 victory in the first round of Saturday’s championship pool. It was that kind of afternoon for the Hawks, who also fell to Waverly-Shell Rock, 37-33. The Hawks found pay dirt in a 38-26 win over surprise finalist Indianola to take third.
Those were the top four from this weekend’s 32-team competition. But much more was revealed during both days here at Young Arena. Here are 27 things we learned from the 2021 Battle of Waterloo:
1. There are many standout individual performances that we’ll highlight, but let’s begin with a few team nods, and our first goes to Indianola.
2. Indianola took advantage of an open Bracket D after Lisbon, the No. 2 team in Class 1A, pulled out due to multiple illnesses within the team. It’s impossible to say how this bracket would’ve unfolded had Lisbon showed, but Indianola beat both Pleasant Valley and Independence to seize on the opportunity and reach the top four.
3. Even more, Indianola rallied to beat both Pleasant Valley and Independence. Against the Spartans, Indianola trailed 32-26, then won the final three matches, twice by fall, to win 41-32. Against Independence, they trailed 18-4, led only 25-24, then won the final three matches again, all pins, to win 43-24.
4. Part of what makes this tournament so fun is that every team gets six duals. Waverly-Shell Rock was the only one to go 6-0, but four others finished 5-1: Don Bosco, Linn-Mar, Crestwood and North Scott.
5. Another part of what makes this tournament so fun: Nashua-Plainfield, with a 9-11 enrollment of 128 kids, can wrestle West Des Moines Valley, enrollment 2,141, and win, 35-34. Or Don Bosco, enrollment 65, can wrestle Ankeny, enrollment 1,292, and win, 45-28. Let the small class-large class debate rage on.
6. Anyway, North Scott’s one loss came during Friday’s preliminary rounds, and it came on tiebreakers. The Lancers and Cedar Falls tied at 36-all. The Tigers advanced because they had five pins to North Scott’s three pins and one forfeit. Tough sport.
7. The Lancers then ripped off five-straight wins: 53-21 over Denver, 42-36 over Assumption, 54-15 over Lake Mills, 48-27 over Union, 34-31 over Cedar Rapids Prairie. Everybody wants to be in the championship pool, but plenty of good things and measurable growth can happen in the other rounds, too.
8. Linn-Mar can claim fifth place after knocking off Independence, Ankeny and Osage on Saturday. They all took second in their preliminary pool. Linn-Mar finished behind West Delaware, then beat Independence (39-36) and Ankeny (37-35) by a combined five points before thumping Osage, 49-24.
9. Speaking of West Delaware, they lost to Waverly-Shell Rock and Don Bosco by a combined five points. The Dons won two crucial swing matches — Kyler Knaack beat Blake Engel, 6-2, at 132, then Jacob Thiry scored an escape, a takedown and two back points to rally and beat Kyle Cole, 8-6, at 170 — to seal it.
10. Against the Go-Hawks, West Delaware picked up crucial pins from Jadyn Peyton and Will Ward, at 170 and 182, respectively, for a 21-19 lead, but Waverly-Shell Rock’s Jake Staack picked up a fall over Grant Northburg in a crucial swing-match at 220 to lift the Go-Hawks.
11. OK, individual shout-outs — and we'll start with top-ranked Aiden Riggins, who went 6-0 at 160 pounds, which included two decisive wins over the other two top-ranked 160-pounders: 8-2 over Columbus Catholic’s Max Magayna, No. 1 in 1A, then a 14-4 major over Osage’s Nick Fox, No. 1 in 2A. Pretty resounding performance.
12. Two guys actually pinned their way through the weekend: Assumption’s Michael Macias, at 145, and Western Dubuque’s Greyson Gardner, at 182.
13. More standout performances: Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Blake Gioimo (113), Linn-Mar’s Kane Naaktgeboren (132) and Alburnett’s Preston Klostermann (120) all recorded five pins and a technical fall. Iowa City High’s Cale Seaton registered four pins and two technical falls at 120, and actually put up a tournament-best 114 match points.
14. One funny performance: Iowa City High's Kendall Kurtz went 6-0. Kind of. He accepted five forfeits at 106, and recorded one pin, over Charles City's Carter Haberkorn in 56 seconds. Imagine coming to a tournament with 32 teams and 548 wrestlers and you wrestle just once and it lasts less than a minute.
15. We saw some high-level individual matchups, too.
16. West Delaware’s Wyatt Voelker registered an 8-3 win over Waverly-Shell Rock’s Jake Walker. Voelker led 5-0 in the third, but Walker made it 5-3 after an escape and a takedown. Voelker iced it with an escape and a third takedown with 27 seconds left in the match. Both guys were All-Americans in freestyle and Greco-Roman last summer.
17. In the championship final, Waverly-Shell Rock’s McCrae Hagarty beat Don Bosco’s Carson Tenold, 8-5. Both guys are returning state champs and currently ranked No. 1 at 195 — Hagarty in 3A, Tenold in 1A. Tenold led 4-3 in the third period, then Hagarty scored a takedown and three back points in the final minute to win.
18. Don Bosco’s Garrett Funk, a Northern Iowa signee, made a statement at 132 pounds, with three major decisions over ranked opponents: 13-1 over Alburnett’s seventh-ranked Brody Neighbor, 13-5 over Indianola’s 12th-ranked Cael Meachem, and 12-3 over Waverly-Shell Rock’s fifth-ranked Carter Fecht.
19. Another future Panther, Ankeny’s Trever Anderson, went 5-0 with two pins, a technical fall and a decisive 9-3 win over Osage’s third-ranked Tucker Stangel in a fun matchup at 126 pounds.
20. The 145-pound bracket at the Class 3A state tournament has amazing potential. Waverly-Shell Rock’s Bas Diaz, Indianola’s Ryder Downey and Linn-Mar’s Grant Kress all went undefeated this weekend. Kress notched a third-period pin over Ankeny’s Jace Anderson, who went 5-1, and also beat Osage’s third-ranked Chase Thomas in overtime.
21. How tough is the Battle of Waterloo? Two returning state finalists — Cedar Falls’ Dylan Whitt and Independence’s Isaiah Weber — were pinned this weekend.
22. Who impressed this weekend? Indianola’s Bowen Downey: 6-0 at 113 with a pin, a technical fall, a 9-1 major over Waverly-Shell Rock’s eighth-ranked Zane Behrends, an 11-3 major over Independence’s sixth-ranked Kaden Kremer, and a 4-2 win over West Delaware’s third-ranked Carson Less in a matchup at 120.
23. This year’s tournament hosted a girls’ division, where eight teams brought a combined 103 wrestlers and they all wrestled five times on Friday. The continued growth of girls wrestling in Iowa demanded this, and the girls brought tremendous energy and fantastic performances to Young Arena this weekend.
24. Waverly-Shell Rock’s girls’ team won, going 5-0, a run capped by a 36-24 win over Crestwood in Friday night’s final. The Go-Hawks led 18-6, then the Cadets rallied to tie it at 24-all with two weights left. Waverly-Shell Rock closed it down with back-to-back pins by Brinley Meier (113) and Eva Diaz (120).
25. Crestwood finished second after beating Osage on the fifth tiebreaking criteria in the semifinals. It was tied, 30-30, after 10 matches, and the Cadets won because they had more wins via forfeit (2-1). Their celebratory screams after they were informed they had won rang through Young Arena on full blast.
26. The highlight of the girls’ division was perhaps one of the major highlights of the entire tournament, as Bettendorf’s Ella Schmit bumped up to 132 pounds to wrestle Charles City’s Lilly Luft in their preliminary dual on Friday morning. Luft led 4-0 entering the third period, then Schmit ran a half-nelson for a pin with less than a minute left.
27. These are two of the state’s premiere girl wrestlers. Schmit is a two-time girls state champion, a Junior All-American, and she even qualified for the boys state tournament last season. Luft is a 2021 state champ and a 16U All-American. Matches like these are how the sport will continue to grow — for both the boys and the girls.
Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Wrestling: 27 things we learned from the 2021 Battle of Waterloo