Take your pick in Rock Valley wrestling
If you’re looking for a favorite in the Rock Valley Conference wrestling meet on Saturday at Palmyra-Eagle High School, forget it.
Rob Kostroun, coach of reigning four-time champion Evansville/Albany, said the Rock field is wide open, and coaches Tim Colden of Brodhead/Juda and Dan Wallace of Clinton agree.
“Realistically, there are five or six teams that can win it,” Kostroun said. “I’ve never seen it like this.
“Usually there are two or three teams,’’ he said. “But this time, it’s five or six of them, because nobody has a solid lineup all the way through.’’
After topping East Troy last season for their fourth straight dual meet championship, Kostroun said the Blue Devils were not as talented as the previous three title teams.
“We have a similar team to last year,” he said. “But everybody (in the Rock Valley) is about the same. We just about beat each other.”
Evansville/Albany and Whitewater tied for the North Division dual meet title at 4-1. Clinton ruled the South Division with a 5-0 mark.
The Blue Devils will return junior J.J. Boley at 112, one of last season’s three champions. But Kostroun said Boley will have to work to repeat.
“There are three (Division 2) state-ranked kids at that 112,” Kostroun said. “That’s like a little state tournament at that weight.”
The No. 6-ranked Boley will compete with Clinton’s No. 2 Daniel Banh, Turner’s No. 8 Ian Grice, last season’s 103 champ, and Jefferson’s No. 9 Tim Pendleton.
Tim Colden agrees the Rock Valley meet is wide open.
“It’s going to boil down to who has the best day,” he said. “It’s the wrestlebacks where the championships are won. It’s the kids who finish third, fourth and fifth.”
The Cardinals’ Hunter Colden is 30-2 at 145 pounds, but as a freshman will need savvy to gain a title.
“He could win it or place fourth,” said Tim Colden, Hunter’s father. “When freshmen wrestlers face seniors for the first time, they (seniors) overlook you a bit.’’
Besides Hunter, Colden thinks Mitchell Wiesenberg (125), No. 12-ranked Devon Seitz (152), Cody Spooner, who is 22-5 at 215, and junior Dylan Severson at 285 will help Brodhead/Juda.
Wallace said that, with conference realignment, the North and South has made it unpredictable.
“It’s been a lot of fun with 12 teams,” Wallace said of the Rock’s second year of new alignment. “When we get to finals time, it really has a lot of impact.’’
Clinton has three major contenders for individual titles. They include Banh (30-0), who lost to Boley in the 112 title match last season; senior Brandon Wixom, 27-3 at 125 and a 2009 conference champ at 119; and junior Salvador Carranza, ranked No. 11 at 135.
“Whoever brings in the best lineup, is prepared and healthy will have the best chance,” Kostroun said.