HUXLEY - Ballard learned a valuable lesson in a season-opening double-dual wrestling meet with North Polk and Adel-Desoto-Minburn Nov. 29 at Huxley.
The Bombers are replacing three of the four state placewinners off last year’s team that placed fourth in Class 2A and went 23-8 in duals. They are inexperienced at several other classes as well, but it didn’t seem to faze them in the opening dual against North Polk.
Ballard rolled over the Comets by a 56-22 score, picking up seven pins in the win and also earned a technical fall and one win by decision. In the second dual, ADM just edged out North Polk by a 40-39 score.
ADM’s close call against North Polk may have given Ballard a false sense of assurance that it could easily dispose of the Tigers as well. The Bombers struggled mightily in the middle weight classes against ADM, suffering seven consecutive losses by fall from 120 pounds to 152.
When the dual came to a close, Ballard was on the short end of a 48-33 decision.
“I think some of them were a little overconfident,” Ballard head wrestling coach Steve Mickelson said. “They thought it was going to be a cakewalk. I’ve been saying all week that it’s not going to be a cakewalk — there isn’t anything that’s going to be a cakewalk this year.”
Skyler Noftsger, the No. 1 rated wrestler in 2A at 160, concurred with his coach.
“We got to see what we need to work on,” Noftsger said. “We haven’t worked on getting out of throws or arching off our back. We had a lot of pins tonight when they actually did get (us) on our back.”
But both Mickelson and Noftsger are optimistic the team will make big strides between now and the start of sectionals in February.
“It’s just a matter of getting back in the room and doing the right things in the room,” Mickelson said. “It’s gonna be a steep learning curve and we’ve got to get that straightened out before the important matches come.”
Noftsger was a bright spot for Ballard during the meet, cruising to two decisive wins.
Noftsger defeated North Polk’s Dylan Meiners by technical fall, 16-0, in the first match of the meet. In the second-to-last match of the ADM dual, he quickly pinned ADM’s Jordan Green in just seven seconds.
“My first match I just wanted to wrestle a little bit longer because I knew we were going to do well and I didn’t have to get the extra bonus point,” Noftsger said. “The second match we started to struggle and I just wanted to get the dual over with, so I got it done quick.”
Jim Chism (170), Joe Hofbauer (195) and Rylee Davidson (285) each earned two pins for Ballard. Eli Moore received a forfeit against North Polk and scored an 11-8 win over ADM’s Cooper Greenslade at 106.
Mason Askelson (182), Sam Andrews (220), Tim Lang (126) and Gage Long (132) each scored a fall against North Polk. Reese Broer added a 9-7 decision over the Comets’ Ryan Davidson at 120.
Ballard’s other points against ADM came when Chris Lee received a forfeit at 113.
Ballard 56, North Polk 22
160 pounds - Skyler Noftsger (B) won by technical fall over Dylan Meiners (NP), 16-0. 170 - Jim Chism (B) won by fall over Josiah DeValois (NP), 1:24. 182 - Mason Askelson (B) won by fall over Jayden Krehbiel (NP), 1:11. 195 - Joe Hofbauer (B) won by fall over Joey Klein (NP), 0:39. 220 - Sam Andrews (B) won by fall over Ben Ewing (NP), 0:31. 285 - Rylee Davidson (B) won by fall over Jaren Buls (NP), 0:40. 106 - Eli Moore (B) won by forfeit. 113 - Isaac Larson (NP) won by fall over Chris Lee (B), 3:08. 120 - Reese Broer (B) won by decision over Ryan Davidson (NP), 9-7. 126 - Tim Lang (B) won by fall over Reilly Maring (NP), 0:26. 132 - Gage Long (B) won by fall over Andrew Haney (NP), 2:50. 138 - Chance Bockenstedt (NP) won by fall over Gavin Estabrooks (B), 5:32. 145 - Parker Frey (NP) won by fall over Alex Bangs (B), 3:40. 152 - Logan Engebretson (NP) won by major decision over Wyatt Borg (B), 11-3.
ADM 48, Ballard 33
182 - Nolan Harsh (ADM) won by fall over Askelson (B), 0:11. 195 - Hofbauer (B) won by fall over Justice Paulson (ADM), 3:20. 220 - Kaden Sutton (ADM) won by fall over Sam Andrews (B), 4:24. 285 - Davidson (B) won by fall over Luke Ranson (ADM), 0:30. 106 - Moore (B) won by decision over Cooper Greenslade (ADM), 11-8. 113 - Lee (B) won by forfeit. 120 - Cole Williamson (ADM) won by fall over Broer (B), 1:35. 126 - Andrew Flora (ADM) won by fall over Lang (B), 1:31. 132 - Hogan Hopewell (ADM) won by fall over Long (B), 1:43; 138 - Kolton Benz (ADM) won by fall over Estabrooks (B), 0:22. 145 - Caleb Buse (ADM) won by fall over Bangs (B), 1:17. 152 - Brodrick Schmidt (ADM) won by fall over Borg (B), 0:30. 160 - Noftsger (B) won by fall over Jordan Green (ADM), 0:07. 170 - Chism (B) won by fall over Eli Jones (ADM), 1:22.