Article Written by : Matt Coss
When the third annual Muddy Water Duals are contested next month at Augustana College’s Carver Center, there will be two fewer teams in the field.
With this year’s daylong dual tournament moved to Jan. 4 because of the rollover schedule, Bettendorf and Moline were unavailable to make the event work for their schedules.
That leaves five schools competing for each state — Assumption, Pleasant Valley, Davenport North, Davenport Central and Davenport West for Iowa and United Township, Alleman, Sterling, Rock Island and Geneseo for Illinois.
“This is a different type of stress level,” PV coach Jake Larsen said Wednesday during a news conference at Sanchos to promote the event. “You’re trying to win every dual and give it your best, but these matches won’t impact you at a seeding meeting or be a future district matchup.”
Central activities director Kevin Petersen said the goal is returning the Muddy Water Duals to a 12-team field next year.
A date, however, has not been finalized for next season. There is a possibility of it moving to the first or second weekend of December.
In the meantime, each team will wrestle a dual on the center mat that will be televised by Mediacom 22.
It will be West and United Township in Round 1 (9 a.m.), Central and Alleman in Round 2 (10:30 a.m.), North and Sterling in Round 3 (noon), PV and Rock Island in Round 4 (1:30 p.m.) and Assumption and Geneseo in Round 5 (3 p.m.)
“This is such a good thing because all these kids know each other,” Assumption coach Jon Terronez said. “They wrestle in clubs together and the coaches know each other. There are bragging rights between us.
“It is more about this area to enjoy the sport and help it grow.”
Illinois has won the bi-state event each of the first two seasons. It finished with a 17-13 advantage in duals and outscored Iowa 1,244-964 in team points last season.
“With us changing conferences and now in the Big Six, we see the Illinois guys a lot,” Sterling coach Kevin Heller said. “This is our only chance for the most part to see the Iowa guys.
“We love the venue and opportunity to be down here.”
Davenport West coach Jim Weisrock believes the timing of this year’s event can be beneficial for his team.
“It gives us a reason to come in over (Christmas) break because we’re preparing for that Saturday at the end of break,” Weisrock said.
Quite a catch: Assumption 106-pound freshman Derrick Bass, a four-time state AAU champion, already has made an immediate impact.
Bass, off to a 12-0 start, picked up a championship at the Mount Vernon Invitational last weekend. In that tournament, he beat Class 1A top-ranked Quincy Happel of Lisbon by technical fall and bested Wapsie Valley’s Dawson Schmit in the finals.
“We knew he was a good wrestler, but sometimes kids transition better to high school wrestling than others,” Terronez said. “We didn’t get a true feel until he beat (Kale Anderson) of Clinton. Then it was like, ‘OK, this dude has it.’
“There is a difference between practice wrestlers and competition wrestlers. He’s proven to be a competition wrestler.”
‘Family feel’: With the renovations at PV, the Spartans have two separate wrestling rooms now. It has turned into a good thing for Jake Larsen’s program, which has more than 60 wrestlers out.
“We’re really working hard on maintaining and keeping a relationship with each of those kids,” Larsen said.
Practices are held at the same time, but PV splits its coaching staff up to give each of the kids individualized attention.
Larsen has seen a strong chemistry within his team this winter.
“When I started, we had some studs at PV but it wasn’t a balanced team or real close-knit,” Larsen said. “The vibe now is a family feel, more than it has been. Our kids see it, too.”
PV hosts Clinton and Davenport North in a triangular Thursday night.