SIOUX CITY | It may have been an individual tournament but Bishop Heelan and Sergeant Bluff-Luton turned it into their own dual.

Except this time the MRAC Tournament title was on the line.

Both Heelan and SB-L placed nine wrestlers in championship matches with seven head-to-head meetings in the finals. Heelan won four of the seven matchups with the Warriors, but it was SB-L that would claim its third straight conference tournament title 242.5-225.5 over the Crusaders.

"This is nice for the guys," Sergeant Bluff-Luton Coach Clint Koedam said. "It just seems like our conference the last few years has boiled down to a couple of teams in it for the battle."

The Warriors got some measure of revenge after Heelan won the MRAC dual title downing SB-L 35-31 earlier this season.

"Tournament scoring is a little different than dual scoring, and I just think our guys felt a little bit slighted at the 35-31 loss at the duals," Koedam said. "They have been thinking about that for a long time now thinking about how they could get a piece of that conference pie."

The Warriors started fast with Nate Curry winning his first MRAC title with a pin over North freshman Nick Walters in 4:54 at 113 pounds.

"I am starting to peak now and it is good for me," Curry said. "I think (an early win) is a big confidence booster for my teammates, not just me."

SB-L would also take the next two titles with freshmen earning the top spot. Seventh-ranked Jack Gaukel pinned Heelan's Nick McGowan in 1:53 at 120 while Isaac Bryan was a 6-2 winner over fellow freshman Mitchell Joines of Heelan at 126.

"I didn't panic because I knew I could win and I continued to wrestle hard," said Bryan of the victory after falling behind early. "This feels really good."

Third-ranked Easton Graff kept the momentum going for the Warriors with a hard-fought 2-1 tiebreaker win over Heelan's Brennan Todd at 138. It was Graff's second conference crown.

Heelan would make a charge for the tournament tile beginning at 160 pounds. Ninth-ranked Luke Martin held off Alex Freiberg of SB-L for the 5-4 win.

"I just try to keep my poise when I am in there and try to stay calm, stay comfortable," said Martin of his second MRAC title. "There is a lot that I need to work on but those are the matches where you really learn a lot."

The Crusaders would earn titles in the final four weights of the night with Caleb Engel earning the pin in 1:17 at 182, and Shyler Langley downing Javier Herta of Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln at 195.

"Being a senior this means a whole lot," said Langley, who was the 170 MRAC champ a year ago. "I was looking for the pin but hats off to that kid because he was tough.

"There is a mentality we have build in the room to never be satisfied and always be searching for something. If you can break a kid, break a kid and push the pace 24-7."

Senior Diego Samaniego added another MRAC title with a pin of SB-L's Casey Holsinger at 220, and eighth- ranked sophomore Kobe Clayborne gave the Crusaders their fourth win in seven matchups with SB-L taking the heavyweight title 4-0 over the Warriors' Jacob Sponder

East crowned a champion at 152 with senior Eric Steele getting his conference title with a 7-3 win over North's E.J. McElmeel.

"This is a dream," Steele said. "My best friend goes to Heelan (Langley) and it has been our dream growing up wrestling that we would come out with a conference title at the same time."

North, which finished third in the team race, also had a champion as 10th-ranked Clement Oyadare was a 19-5 major decision winner over Heelan's Isiah Gilmore at 170.

"I was just looking to take him down whenever I could because it was difficult for me to pin him," Oyadare said. "I just took him down and accumulated points."

Both Heelan and Sergeant Bluff-Luton have sectional competition next Saturday while the 4A schools have another week of competition before districts.


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