Pape claims fifth tourney title of season as Bulldogs face large Central Invite field

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Bulldog freshman Danica Friedlein (left) finished the Central Girls Invite 1-2. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

Melody Grimm tries to stay on her feet in her first match at the Jan. 6 Central Girls Invite.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


The MFL MarMac girls wrestling team got a good taste of what it takes to face a large and diverse field at the Jan. 6 Central Girls Invite. The tournament drew over 150 wrestlers from 30 schools around Iowa, Minnesota Wisconsin. 


“We enjoy getting to see some new faces and different competition. Overall, it is all great time on the mat and that is exactly what we need for our program right now getting ready for the Regionals that will be coming up on Jan. 27,” said coach Brent Pape. 


Senior Kadence Pape wrestled her way to first place in the 120-pound bracket, after winning all four of her matches by fall. That included a pin of East Buchanan’s Sammi Isham in 2:17 in the championship bout. 


This marked the fifth tournament victory this season for Pape, who is currently ranked sixth in the state at 120.


“Kadence has been wrestling really well this season and she is enjoying her senior campaign with only one loss on the year. She has been using her strengths and technique this year to really put herself in a great position to be competitive in the last month of her high school wrestling career,” Pape said.


Sophomore Mackenzie Bachman also placed at the Central Invite, taking fourth at 135 pounds. After a first round bye and a fall in the quarterfinals, Bachman lost a narrow 1-0 decision to East Buc’s Miley Walz in the semifinals. Cecilia Scarff of Southeast Polk then pinned her in the third place match. Both Walz and Scarff are state ranked.


“Bachman was in that [final] match, trailing 1-0 again, before being caught in a tough position while fighting for a takedown and ended up getting pinned,” Pape explained. “Even though that is not how we wanted it to end, our coaching staff (and Mackenzie) know that she can wrestle with anyone in the state and we are looking to continue her physical style of wrestling.”


MFL MarMac’s three other varsity wrestlers—Melody Grimm (125), Danica Friedlein (145) and Audrey Ruff (155)—did not place. 


Grimm was pinned in both matches she wrestled and Ruff went 0-2 after suffering a fall and a 14-4 major decision, while Friedlein finished the night 1-2. She was pinned early in her first match, but rebounded on the backside of the bracket with a fall, before losing the second round consolation via pin.


“These three girls are really starting to truly learn the sport, body positioning and situations that arise during a match. We are going to keep gaining ground with these young ladies and I know they will be competitive,” Pape said.


Amelya Weigand participated in the JV portion of the tournament and placed first in her bracket. 


Pape said it was a great experience for Weigand, and that he can see her confidence building. 


“She is really coming along nicely and should be ready to be very competitive during tournament time at the end of January,” he shared.


The Bulldogs placed 15th of 30 teams with 46 points. Decorah claimed the top spot with 208, followed by East Buchanan with 170 and Southeast Polk with 152.


Next up for MFL MarMac is a dual meet at Postville on Jan. 10. The Bulldogs also have tournaments at Oelwein Jan. 14 and Decorah Jan. 21, as well as some matches at a home meet on Jan. 24, before regionals in Decorah.


“These tournaments are going to be important leading into the postseason because we really want to put ourselves in the best position possible to qualify all six of our girls for the state tournament. This means we will be looking for a seeding position against opponents that we know we will face at that regional,” Pape said.


The state tournament will be held at the Xtreme Arena in Coralville on Feb. 2 and 3.


Pape said the goals down the home stretch are simple: come to practice, pick something up each and every day in the practice room that will make you better, stay healthy and stay focused on personal goals.


“We have such a variety of wrestlers in our room. We have our ones that have a lot of wrestling experience and we are brand new to the sport. So goals for each athlete vary from placing at a certain tournament, using a certain move during a match, qualifying for state, placing at state or even winning a state title,” he added.

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