Cyclones earn share of conference dual title

Creston denies HCHS outright championship, 39-36, after Cyclones beat LC to clinch first H-10 crown since 1984

 CRESTON (Jan. 28) -- It wasn’t quite everything Harlan Community dreamed of Tuesday night, but it was an historic occasion nonetheless for the Cyclone wrestling program.
 Winning two out of three duals at Creston’s quad meet, HCHS wrapped up a share of this year’s Hawkeye Ten Conference dual title with a 45-24 win over Lewis Central. The Cyclones also beat Carroll 46-24 before suffering a nail-biting 39-36 loss to Creston/O-M that came down to the final match in front of a raucous pro-Panther gathering.
 HCHS finished the night at 16-4 overall and 9-1 in Hawkeye Ten duals, sharing the conference championship with Creston/O-M (18-1, 9-1). Atlantic/CAM made it a three-way tie for first Jan. 30 when the Trojans beat Shenandoah and St. Albert.
 The Cyclones clinched their first conference dual title since tying for the Hawkeye 8 crown in 1984.
 “It’s still the first time in 36 years... so a pretty historic night (and) I’m real proud of our guys,” said HCHS head coach John Murtaugh.
 “We’ll take a share of it. It’s been a long time. I told the kids, ‘You can go through your entire career and not do anything on a team that’s historic to your school.’ I never had a chance to do anything historic, but these guys did and they came through big time, especially that win (over) LC. That clinched it.”
 To be fair, the Cyclones were not wrestling with all of their bullets Tuesday as 138-pound senior Wyatt Obrecht and 145-pound junior Dalton McKinley are currently out of the lineup with injuries. Via forfeit and pin, Creston outscored Harlan 12-0 at those two weights.
 The Harlan-Creston dual featured five lead changes, five pins by each side and countless celebratory eruptions from both teams and fan bases. In the end, it boiled down to arguably the best wrestler on each team going head-to-head at 182 pounds with the dual score tied at 36.
 Creston’s Jackson Kinsella is ranked second in Class 2A at 182 while HCHS senior Carter Bendorf is currently unranked at 170 but has won multiple tournaments this season. The quick-striking Kinsella led 2-1 after the first period before gaining control in the second, landing a number of single-leg shots and taking down Bendorf three times. He added another takedown in the third and rode out Bendorf for an 11-4 win.
 HCHS finished 7-6 in contested matches against the Panthers and held the lead at 3-0, 9-6 and 24-12. Against Lewis Central (11-8, 5-5 H-10), HCHS scored the first 45 points and won 45-24. HCHS had a similar start vs. Carroll, building a sizable 33-6 advantage and also winning the last three matches. The Cyclones went 8-3 with five pins against the Tigers.
 Overall, five HCHS wrestlers finished the meet with 3-0 records. Thomas Frederick pinned all three of his opponents, Nathan Henry and Jesse Schwery both had two pins and a decision while Luke Freund and Luke Musich had two pins and a win by forfeit.

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