Golden Hawks take three first-time state qualifiers to Des Moines

By Jeff Yoder
Posted 2/17/21

Once the whistle blew, Cael Garvey wasted little time before driving his opponent to his back  and forcing a pin to join district champion teammates Ben Meader and Josh Wallington as first-time …

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Golden Hawks take three first-time state qualifiers to Des Moines

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Once the whistle blew, Cael Garvey wasted little time before driving his opponent to his back  and forcing a pin to join district champion teammates Ben Meader and Josh Wallington as first-time state qualifiers. 

The second-place match at 195 pounds lasted just 31 seconds. 

“I just went out there and I took my shots, and I got in on good deep shots,” Garvey said. 

“And then I just turned him. I wasn’t wanting to be out there any longer. I wanted to come come off the mat and know that I had secured my place.”

His first match wasn’t much longer at 37 seconds. Then he took a 6-1 in the final before Davenport Assumption’s sixth-ranked Aiden Morgan came back for a 9-6 decision. 

“The thing as a coach you’re always fearful of is someone getting too down after loss, and as a dad, it was even worse,” Mid-Prairie coach Justin Garvey said.  “But he stayed really focused. Laser focused. I mean, he was going to win that match and there was nobody that was going to be able to take it away from him.”

Afterwards, he told his son, ‘Good job, Bubba,’ and got a forceful high five before Cael exited the gym to run sprints. 

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Justin Garvey said. “It’s something that he has worked for, for 10 years. It’s something that hasn’t always been easy. 

“When he was younger, he didn’t have the success that he has now. So his character, his perseverance to stick with a sport – that I love so much, and to grind through it, and now as a junior to start to see that success and all that hard work paying off… Really proud of all the hard work he’s put in.”

Wallington will finish his senior season in the state tournament after claiming a district title with a 16-0 tech fall of Albia’s Paul Ballard. It was a rematch of last week’s sectional final, which Wallington won with a quick pin. 

“You know, you’re not always going to be able to pin people,” Garvey said. “So you’ve got to be able to stay in good position and keep scoring points. And that’s what he did. He just kept scoring points.”

Wallington trailed Assumption sophomore Chase Diaz 1-0 after a period in the opening match. Wallington finally scored a takedown in the second period and then started on top and got the pin in the third. 

Meader won a pair of thrilling matches to punch his ticket to the state tournament.

He trailed 4-3 on bottom with 20 seconds left in his opening match before scoring a late reversal and adding back points for an 8-4 decision over Washington’s Ayden Frazer. 

In the final, Assumption’s ninth-ranked John Argo got a takedown to go up 7-3 with a minute left. Meader escaped, and with 18 seconds left scored a takedown and pinned Argo.

The first Class 2A session of the state wrestling tournament at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines begins as 6:00 on Thursday, February 18. 

In addition to the three state qualifiers, Mid-Prairie had three third-place finishers as well. 

Mose Yoder had a tough opening match at 113 against No. 2 Lane Scorpil out of Columbus Junciton, and a rematch with Albia’s Brodie Conner (32-7) for second. He wrestled well, but lost both matches by fall in the second period. 

“We get the wrestle back match and we wrestled it better than we did a week ago,” Garvey said. “And there’s just a few things that we got to tighten up a little bit, but Mose got on top and he almost turned him and almost put that thing into a match. A sophomore who had a great season and wrestled a good tournament here today.”

For junior Gannon Callahan and Vinnie Bowlin, the season ended with difficult losses. 

Callahan got a late escape and takedown to go up by a point with 10 seconds left in the wrestleback for second place at 285. Skyler Young, who was pinned by Callahan in the sectional final a week earlier, got a late escape to force overtime, where he came away an 8-6 winner. 

“We just took a took a chance we didn’t need to take,” Garvey said about the overtime. “And it’s unfortunate, and it’s just something that you’re going have to learn from. And Gannon’s got another season to come back.”

Callahan won his first match with a first-period pin, and had a 1-0 lead over No. 9 Chance Malone (Columbus/WMU) with a minute remaining. Malone got a reversal and a 4-1 decision. 

Bowlin took a quick 4-0 lead in his first match of the day with Notre Dame’s River Belger, but gave up a late reversal and was pinned with nine seconds left on the clock in the first period. 

“It’s hard on everybody,” Garvey said. “It’s hard on the coach, it’s hard on him. And you know that we had to win that match – and he was a little flat. He stayed in a position they shouldn’t have been too long. And it cost him. 

“It was his senior year and that was his last shot at it. And it’s sad. The kid has put a lot into it –lifetime of it. He’s been in the big tournaments before, he just hasn’t been able to crack this one.”

Bowlin finished his career with a second period pin in the third-place match at 160. He finishes his senior season at 13-1, he was 41-9 over the past two seasons.  

He missed almost the entire month of December with an ankle injury and then did not wrestle from January 10-27. He was only able to wrestled four matches as a sophomore.  

“I’m really proud of everything that Vinnie has overcome, and his career,” Garvey said. “He’s had a lot of setbacks and he’s stayed in there, stayed positive and worked his tail off.”

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