Gael wrestlers back in action

After an extended holiday layoff, the St. Edmond wrestling team will make its first appearance of the new year here tonight.

The Gaels (2-4 overall, 1-3 NCC) will host 15th-ranked (Class 1A IWCOA) Clarion-Goldfield and Eagle Grove in a North Central Conference triangular.

Both varsity and junior varsity matches begin at 6 p.m. inside the SEHS gym.

In their final outing of 2012, the Gaels suffered a 42-29 league setback to Algona. Ryan Szalat (106 pounds), Colten Lastine (113), No. 5 (1A) Kaden McClintock (120), Parker Huebsch (145), fourth-ranked Teddie Harvey (152) and No. 1 Vinnie Harvey (220) all collected victories for St. Edmond.

“We’re looking for more improvement, and I just want to see us come out ready to fight for a full six minutes, which I know our guys are capable of,” Gael head coach Tanner Utley said. “Just like every other dual meet, we need as many bonus points as we can get.”

McClintock (13-0 overall), Teddie Harvey (12-0) and Vinnie Harvey (14-0) – all defending state qualifiers – have combined for a perfect 39-0 record on the season. Szalat (11-2), Nick Johnson (10-4), Matt Stumpf (10-7) and Dillon Nelson (11-4) have each reached double digits in wins, as well, for the green and white.

“We’re getting back to being healthy, but we still have a couple of guys on the fence,” said Utley. “We’ve been wrestling each other for the last 10 or 12 days, so we’re ready to get back out (on the mat) and compete.”

The Cowboys (4-1, 3-1) settled for runner-up honors in their own Glen Brand Invitational back on Dec. 15. Sophomore Joel Haberman (No. 9 at 126), senior Jake Haberman (No. 7 at 160) and junior Mitch Gambrill (No. 2 at 220) headline the C-G lineup. Clarion-Goldfield, whose only dual loss of the season was a 39-32 defeat to No. 7 (2A) Humboldt, placed sixth at state duals a year ago.

Eagle Grove (0-6, 0-4) fell to both West Hancock (42-31) and fifth-ranked (1A) Lake Mills (76-0) in its last action prior to the break.

“Clarion is second in the conference right now (behind unbeaten Humboldt), and Coach (Kurt) Morgan always does a good job with (the Cowboys),” Utley said. “Eagle Grove has about six open weights and is trying to rebuild.”

Last winter, the Gaels were upended by the Cowboys, 43-24, while rolling to a 69-6 triumph over the Eagles.