Bettendorf High School’s wrestling team was humbled last week in its gymnasium. The Bulldogs were the ones dishing out the pain Thursday night in a rival’s gym.
Spurred by five pins, including a 21-second fall from Dustin Bohren over state-ranked Michael Macias at 145 pounds, Class 3A fourth-ranked Bettendorf conquered 2A second-ranked Davenport Assumption 47-23 at Assumption High School.
“We all came into practice (this week) with a purpose,” senior 195-pounder Bradley Hill said. “We realized what we can really do and we’re starting to accomplish that.”
After losing to North Scott last Thursday, Bettendorf went to The Clash in La Crosse, Wis., and finished sixth out of 32 teams in a national dual tournament last Saturday. The loss to North Scott and that performance seemed to fuel coach Dan Knight’s team.
Bettendorf was the aggressor throughout, racking up 26 takedowns and bonus points in six contested matches. It had two other six-point decision victories where it tallied 12 and 11 points, respectively.
“We’ve definitely picked up the pace since losing to North Scott,” Bohren said. “We didn’t wrestle very well against them, and it sucked losing to them.”
Knight said The Clash has been a turning point for his team in previous years, too. With six duals over two days, it allows his team to get into a dual meet rhythm.
“We always seem to come together as a team, gain a little confidence and we always come back from The Clash a little tougher,” Knight remarked.
The Bulldogs won six of the first seven bouts to build a 29-3 advantage.
Freshman Tycho Carmichael recorded five takedowns before pinning Mikey Kersten in 2 minutes, 25 seconds at 132. Jordan Roberts followed with a 12-6 decision at 138 and then Bohren made quick work of Macias, a multiple-time state place winner.
Bohren took Macias down 13 seconds into the match, was in a crab ride, grabbed Macias’ wrist, turned it into a half and kicked him over for the fall.
A state champion a season ago, Bohren showed some emotion after he recorded the fall.
“Macias is a tough kid,” Knight said, “so to come away and get a fall, that’s a big win for him.”
"It gets the team going and builds up confidence for the rest of the guys," Bohren said, "and it showed the rest of the dual.”
Elijah Mendoza followed with a technical fall for the Bulldogs at 152 before Assumption collected wins from Allen Catour (160), Chase Diaz (170) and John Argo (182) to trim the margin to 29-17.
Catour wrestled former teammate and drill partner Ethan Forker, who transferred to Bettendorf last year.
“It was definitely unique,” said Catour, who registered an 18-3 technical fall. “There were a lot of people supporting me and wanting me to get a big win tonight. Once we started wrestling, I flipped the switch. It was just another opponent and wrestled my match.
“We talked afterward, and there is no bad blood between us.”
Bettendorf made a lineup switch and prospered from it.
Diego Cortes slid down to 195 and pinned Rhett Schaefer in 1:31. Hill, meanwhile, bumped up to 220 and stuck state-ranked Aiden Morgan in 1:08.
Usually reserved, Hill displayed some emotion afterward toward the Assumption student section. The Knights booed him early in the match after he was poked in the eye and the match was stopped.
“When they started booing our 160-pounder (Ethan Forker, a former Assumption student), we knew it would be a little chippy,” Hill said. “I wasn’t going to celebrate, but after I got poked in the eye and they booed me that brought it out in me a little bit.”
It was Assumption’s second conference dual loss. The Knights also dropped a dual to 1A power Lisbon out of winter break.
“We’re creating a new culture and a new atmosphere,” Assumption coach Sonny Alvarez said. “These guys are learning, it is a process and the coaching staff has a plan. We’re going to stick to the plan and let everything fall where it falls at the end of the season.