Maquoketa Valley’s Parker Sternhagen earned a pin in his opening round match of the Cascade Invitational held at Cascade Jan. 12.

The Maquoketa Valley wrestling team had its ups and downs this season with many of the wrestlers having to battle illnesses or injuries sometime during the season. They were still able to band together and qualify for the Class 1A regional team duals.

“We came a long way from earlier in the year when we had just a few guys able to wrestle because of injury or because they were sick. Once we got those guys healthy we had a chance to show what this team was capable of,” said Tim Andrews, head coach of the Wildcats. “I truly believe we showed that at sectionals even though we only had three wrestlers move on to districts. But what we did accomplish there was showing our depth as we qualified to compete in the state team duals.”

The wrestlers managing to earn a spot in the brackets at districts were Parker Sternhagen (145), James LeGassick (170) and Michael Feldman (220). Feldman was the only champion at sectionals while Sternhagen and LeGassick both earned second-place medals. Unfortunately, all three of their individual dreams ended at districts, but Sternhagen, a sophomore, and Feldman, a junior will return to the team next year for another chance to wrestle in Des Moines, while LeGassick, one of three seniors on the team, ended his career at districts taking third.

There were two other Wildcats who were seniors on the team and they are Canyon Richardson (120) and Dylan Happel (220).

“Canyon’s been a lot of fun the last four years. He might not have the best technique or be the strongest wrestler in his weight class, but he’s one kid that doesn’t give up when he is out there,” said Andrews with a smile. “He is a Wildcat through and through.”

Wrestlers are bred to fight and battle until the end no matter what. Most of the time, they are either battling a clock or another wrestler. This year, wrestlers all across the state of Iowa had to contend with the weather which was an opponent that you normally don’t prepare for.

“This was a tough season for the boys, especially toward the end of the season because of all the issues that the weather caused us,” said Andrews. “However, their attitude all season long has been great and it was a key factor in our ability to turn the season around and finish as well as did. I’m already looking forward to seeing what these guys will do next year.”

The Wildcats’ varsity records this year were: Anthony March (106) 18-20; Canyon Richardson (120) 8-19; Michael Schaul (126) 23-19; James DeMoss (132) 9-13; Aden Atwell (138) 2-8; Parker Sternhagen (145) 28-16; Tim Harmon (160) 23-18; James LeGassick (170) 24-14; Carter Kruse (182) 23-15; Evan Elgin (195) 12-14; Michael Feldmann (220) 22-15 and Dylan Happel (220) 1-1.