Spartan wrestling season highlighted by program’s first-ever state qualifier
The Collins-Maxwell wrestling team made history in 2020-2021 by producing its first state qualifier and placewinner.
Spartan freshman Brody Sampson made it to state at 182 pounds, where he ended up placing eighth in Class 1A. Sampson and senior Jacob Pierick both topped 30 wins during the season and that combined with improved depth helped Collins-Maxwell take a step forward in dual-meet competition, going from 1-18 in dual meets a year ago to 3-23 this season.
“I think the season turned out well,” Collins-Maxwell head coach Mike Leslie said. “We had more numbers which made our team atmosphere better.”
Collins-Maxwell's dual victories were against HLV by a 35-22 on Jan. 19 and Baxter (42-36) and Cardinal Community (36-18) at the Lynnville-Sully Duals on Dec. 19.
Individually, the Spartans had three wrestlers place in the top three at the 1A sectional meet in Colfax.
Nate Dumbaugh took third at 132 pounds to finish one spot shy of qualifying for state. He finished his junior season at 11-12 with eight pins.
Pierick and Sampson both advanced to the district meet at Pleasantville. They each placed second at sectionals, with Pierick wrestling at 120.
At the district meet Pierick came in third, losing his wrestle-back match to finish one spot shy of state. He finished with a 34-11 record and 18 pins and ended his career with 95 wins.
“A big milestone that was reached was Jacob Pierick reaching 75 wins in his career,” Leslie said. “We have not had anyone over 75 career wins since becoming the Spartans.”
Sampson went on to win a district championship by upsetting eighth-ranked Mason Juhl of Pekin by a 3-1 decision then an 11-4 decision over Sigourny-Keota's Aidan Schuster in the finals to become the first Spartan to qualify for state.
At state Sampson went 2-3. He lost by fall in his first match, but came back with a 5-3 victory over Denver’s Brennen Graber and an 8-5 triumph over Tri-Center's Brecken Freeberg in the consolation second round.
Sampson dropped his final two matches, but his two wins were enough to secure him a spot on the podium.
“I think this is not only big for him but big for our program as well,” Leslie said. “Other teammates now see it can be done, which before might have seemed slightly out of reach to some. As far as his potential, Brody is a smart wrestler and always making adjustments to get better. With that mentality he will continue to have success and definitely has the potential to do something that hasn't been done here yet.”
Sampson ended his freshman season at 35-11. He scored 60 takedowns on the season and finished with 15 pins.
Leslie’s daughter Gracie won eight matches at 126 and she became the first Spartan to wrestle at the girls’ state tournament. Gracie went 1-2 during the competition with a pin over Ankeny Centennial’s Avery Grimm in 57 seconds during the consolation second round.
Coach Leslie’s son Clayton was 16-19 at 145 with 15 pins during his junior season. Sophomore Zach Haus went 17-18 at 106 pounds with seven pins, Sophomore Marshall Day had 10 wins and eight falls at 152, sophomore Trevor Sliger went 9-21 with three pins at 132, junior Lucas Ness picked up five victories at 170 and sophomore Owen Clark had two wins at 152.
Pierick leaves some big shoes to fill next season. But he is the only loss among the varsity regulars.
“The number one key to having a productive offseason is getting the younger guys back in the room along with the kids that are thinking about doing it next year to work on technique,” Coach Leslie said.
If the Spartans put in the time during the offseason 2021-2022 has the potential to be a major breakthrough season.
“Hopefully we will continue to grow in numbers and retain the majority of the kids we had this year,” Coach Leslie said. “I think with the progress we made this year that next year should be even more successful than this season.”