Three West Sioux High School wrestlers got a taste of the big time during Night of Conflict, an exhibition event hosted by IA Wrestle, that was held at the Long Lines Family Rec Center in Sioux City last Saturday.

“We got some wrestling in and I love anytime we can get mat time,” said West Sioux coach Mark Van Oort. “We’re very lucky that IA Wrestle keeps coming in and putting on good events in northwest Iowa. It was a good crowd and they were pretty rambunctious. It was wrestling people being wrestling people and I love it.”

The wrestlers performed in spotlight matches, with the rest of the arena dark and one bright light shining on the mat.

“We try to do that at our place once a year too,” Van Oort said. “It gets the kids fired up.”

Van Oort said despite high-profile opponents, he thought going in all three West Sioux representatives had a chance to win. It didn’t work out that way, with the Falcons going 1-2 on the night.

The first match involving the Falcons saw senior Cameron Clark take on junior Ty Koedem of Sergeant Bluff-Luton. Clark had to give up weight while Koedam had to cut to get to a 140-pound bout, but both wrestlers wanted the match. Koedam wound up getting a takedown in the final 30 seconds to rally for a 5-4 win.

“That was one of the most exciting matches of the night,” Van Oort said. “We were on top most of the way, but we got a little tired at the end and he outhustled us for a takedown. But I reminded Cam that state champions aren’t going to be crowned until February 19. This was good for him. It showed some things we need to work on.”

Junior Mikey Baker took on senior Ryder Downey of Indianola and struggled a bit in a 7-1 loss at 145.

“Downey is a tough kid. He’s placed seventh, second and fourth in the last three state tournaments,” Van Oort said. “Mikey has had a great summer, but he didn’t wrestle his best. He did go on offense right away and almost got a takedown, but when he didn’t get it he kind of shut down. It is hard to score when you aren’t on your offense and going after points. It looked a lot like what his matches early last season looked like. It’s early. It’s a reminder that he needs to always be on the attack and he knows that. But he did do some good things. The shots he took were well set up. There just weren’t enough of them. And he got out from the bottom without any issue. He just needs to be a little more aggressive.”

West Sioux senior Braden Graff provided the highlight of the night for the team, defeating McKinley Robbins of Greene County 3-1. Robbins was an undefeated state champion at 120 in Class 2A last year. The wrestlers were at 126 for this bout.

“It was a tall task, but he was leading Robbins in a freestyle match early this summer and made a few mistakes at the end. I think he ended up losing 7-6, so this was a grudge match for Braden,” Van Oort said. “He prepared properly and did it right. He got a takedown right away and rode him out and he got out when he was on the bottom. It was a gritty performance. He did everything he needed to do to win. He looked strong.”

Van Oort said the important thing for Graff and all the wrestlers to remember is the season has not even started yet.

“This is just something to build on,” he said. “No one is getting crowned until February. You can’t get ahead of yourself and think you are good enough to win a state title today. But for Braden, that was a solid performance by a kid that I think is going to have a remarkable season.”

Bergstrom recognized

Boyden-Hull High School senior Jewel Bergstrom became the volleyball program’s all-time leader in assists a long time ago, but on Tuesday her team took the opportunity to celebrate another milestone for its setter.

Bergstrom recently surpassed 2,000 assists for her career. On Tuesday, during the Comets’ Pink Out night win against Central Lyon, a presentation was made commemorating the achievement.

With 36 more on Thursday in a win over Okoboji, Bergstrom has 569 assists this season and 2,112 for her career. Boyden-Hull’s previous school record was 1,139, a mark she surpassed midway through 2020.

NCC shooting squad splits

The Northwest Iowa Community College sports shooting team went to Stockdale Gun Club in Ackley last Saturday for a pair of duals.

The Thunder lost to the Hawkeye Community College team 492-486, but earned a 486-464 win over Iowa Lakes Community College.

The win over Iowa Lakes saw Thunder coach Brian Lauck competing against a team that featured his son, Iowa Lakes student-athlete Josh Lauck.

“It was a beautiful day to be at the range. All of the athletes were excited and shot well,” coach Lauck said. “This was a great opportunity for the new athletes to get a feel for college shooting competitions.”

Sebastian Brock, Levi Hemmelrick and Alex Wilson each carded a 98 for NCC. Calob Prange turned in a 97 and Matthew Zieser shot a 95.