The 32-team Battle of Waterloo is considered by many to be the premier high school dual wrestling tournament in Iowa, if not the midwest. If you want to be in the hunt for the team title in this event, you’d better bring a pretty salty crew to the Cedar Valley.

Which is exactly what coach Jeff Voss did last weekend, as West Delaware swept its way through the Bunning-Love bracket Friday to move to the four-team championship bracket Saturday with powerhouse squads from West Des Moines Valley, Don Bosco and Waverly-Shell Rock.

“I didn’t know how our team would handle eight duals in three days, knowing the teams at the Battle of Waterloo would be among the best in the state,” said West Delaware coach Jeff Voss. “They really responded well in all of our duals Friday and Saturday.”

In the championship bracket, the Hawks started the day with a 55-12 dismantling of Valley. West Delaware won 11-of-14 matches — six by fall. Blake Engel (106), Evan Woods (120), Ryan Phillips (132), Cael Meyer (145), Mitchel Mangold (152) and Jared Voss (160) won by pin, while Luke Farmer (113), Jadyn Peyton (138), Kieran Monaghan (195) and Jordan Bries (220) won decisions. Jack Neuhaus picked up a win by forfeit at 182.

Saturday’s second match of the day featured the Hawks and perennial Class 1A power Don Bosco — and it was a barn-burner.

Carson Petlon won a big swing match at 285 with a 1-0 decision over Bosco’s Noah Pittman, but the Dons won the next four to take a 14-3 lead. Jaiden Moore won over Blake Engel, 4-1, at 106, Garrett Funk won a major decision over Farmer at 113, Cody Brown won a tight 6-4 match with Evan Woods, and Daniel Kimball took a major decision over Stavely Maury at 126.

Phillips and Peyton then recorded falls to regain the lead, with Phillips decking Ryan Naughton in 29 seconds and Peyton pinning Cael Frost in 1:58, making the team score 15-14.

Meyer decisioned Max Wettengal at 145, 3-0, and Mangold won a 6-3 dogfight over Cade Tenold at 152. Don Bosco’s Cael Rahnavardi got the Dons back on track with a tough 7-5 win over Voss at 160 to make it 21-17.

Wyatt Voelker and Neuhaus won 6-2 decisions at 170 and 182, before Thomas Even of Don Bosco pinned Monaghan at 195 leaving the match on the line going to 220.

Bryce Schares won a 2-0 battle over Bries to finalize things, but the Hawks hung on for a statement-making 27-25 win.

Nemesis Waverly-Shell Rock was the only thing standing between West Delaware and the team title, but the Go-Hawks defeated the Hawks for the second time this season, 34-23.

After Waverly won the first two matches, at 106 and 113, by fall, to take a 12-0 lead, Evan Woods got the Hawks on the board with an 8-1 decision over Zack Barnett at 120. W-SR grabbed four points on a major decision at 126, before West Delaware won three in a row to get within 16-15, as Phillips gained some redemption with a 6-2 win over Evan Yant at 132, Peyton pinned Carter Fect in 1:39 at 138, and Meyer took a 7-2 decision over Cayden Langreck at 145.

Waverly-Shell Rock won decisions at 152, 160 and 170 to move ahead 25-15, but Jack Neuhaus got the Hawks right back in it with a 52-second pin of Darin Whiteside at 182. The Go-Hawks then took two of the three remaining bouts, with Bries’ 4-0 decision of Lucas Walker the only West Delaware win as the match ended at 34-23.

Friday’s matches went as expected, with the Hawks defeating Wapsie Valley, 78-6, as West Delaware won seven matches by pin and Wapsie Valley forfeited at six weights.

Lake Mills gave the Hawks a bit of a tussle in match two, but West Delaware took a 44-24 verdict to move to the bracket final with familiar foe Davenport Assumption.

Assumption bolted to a 12-0 lead at 195 and 220, but Carson Petlon pinned Tim Kendall at 285 to get the Hawks on the board.

Ethan Forkner’s 5-0 win over Engel at 106 made it 15-6 before Farmer won a major decision at 113. Assumption wins at 120 and 126 had the Hawks in the hole at 21-10, but Phillips’ 2-0 decision over Jacob Felderman got West Delaware back on track, and the Hawks won the final six matches to pull away for the 40-20 win.

Peyton won by pin over Parker Foley in 1:54 at 138, Meyer won a decision at 145, Mangold pinned Evan Forker in 1:58 at 152, Voss won by decision at 160, Voelker pinned Logan Schimanski in 43 seconds at 170, and Neuhaus won a 9-4 decision at 182.

“Our team really came together and gave great effort both days. We showed a lot of progress in the last three weeks. The wrestlers are practicing really well and the product on the mat is showing,” said Voss “The best part is we had the opportunity to compete against some of the best in the state. The level of competition we faced will allow us to see what we have to do to keep moving to our goals at the end of the season.”

As usual, the West Delaware faithful showed in large numbers to cheer on the Hawks.

“I would like to thank all the West Delaware fans that came out to support our team last week. An attendance record was set at the Battle of Waterloo, and our fan base had to be the largest of all the teams,” Voss said. “We want to keep building and go into the break with a lot of momentum heading to the postseason at the end of January.”