DES MOINES - Ballard junior Gage Long didn’t have his best day competing at the state wrestling tournament at 132 pounds in Class 2A last Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena.
Long placed eighth at state wrestling at 132 last season. But last Thursday he dropped both of his matches to cut this year’s state appearance short.
“We had a terrible day,” Ballard head coach Steve Mickelson said. “We didn’t get our offense going in either match in the first period at all.”
In his first match Long put up a great fight against fifth-ranked Nate Curry of Sergeant Bluff-Luton before falling by a 6-4 score.
Long fell behind Curry by a 4-0 score after one period in the first round. He fought back within 5-4 after a takedown 20 seconds into the third period, but couldn’t score again.
The consolation first round was a rough match for Long. He never got anything going against Crestwood-Cresco’s Chase Thomas, losing by fall in the second period.
“I’m not sure what happened the second match,” Mickelson said. “We weren’t moving our feet at all.”
Long ended the season at 33-8.
Mickelson said Long plans on being back at state for the third time next season. But the Bomber coach stressed that Long must work on starting off his matches stronger over the offseason if he wants to get back on the podium.
“We’ve just got to work on getting after our offense early and being mentally prepared from the whistle instead of waiting a period to get our engine going,” Mickelson said. “That’s something that we’ve had several conversations over - we’re slow to get our engine going to the point to get our offense going in the first period and do what we want to do as opposed to making up ground on the better kids.”