The start of the prep wrestling season has shed light on several interesting happenings. Here are five to keep an eye on as the season moves forward:
1. The match of the year lived up to the hype
It was the talk of the wrestling world in Iowa with plenty of chatter from around the nation.
When Fort Dodge's Brody Teske and Underwood's Alex Thomsen met up in the the finals of the 126-pound bracket at the Council Bluffs Classic it made Iowa prep wrestling history. It marked the first time that a pair of wrestlers who are both three-time state champions and had never lost during the high school season met up this late in their prep careers.
Thomsen controlled the match through two periods building a 7-3 lead, but it was Teske who came up big in the third to win the battle of the unbeatens 11-9. The Fort Dodge senior, who will wrestle at Penn State next season, had to rally to win in both his semifinal and final matches.
There is a possible rematch coming in January at the Cedar Rapids Jefferson tournament, but the match did what rarely happens anymore -- it lived up to the hype.
2. Adam Allard is better a year after winning a state title
Adam Allard was plenty good as a freshman last year when he went 47-1 en route to winning the Class 1A 106-pound state championship for West Sioux. An offseason of hard work and plenty of wrestling has made him that much better as he has moved up to 113 pounds.
Allard is off to a 17-0 start to this season with every win coming by pin and just one of those matches even reached the second period.
His biggest win came in the finals of the Sergeant Bluff-Luton tournament where he avenged the only loss of his high school career when he pinned Millard South's Blake Johnson in the first period.
The top-ranked wrestler is sure to face a few more tests before the state tournament rolls around, but he is bigger, stronger and he is getting off the mat faster than ever.
3. Heelan is close to locking up the MRAC dual title
The Crusaders took care of the Council Bluffs schools and then last Tuesday scored a big 35-31 victory over two-time defending MRAC dual champion Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
With wins over North and West the Crusaders will claim the dual title and take a nice step for a program that has been on the rise the last few seasons, but is also on its fourth coaches in the past four seasons.
Heelan is putting together a strong dual team that has some very tough and experienced wrestlers at the bigger weights. The atmosphere at East High last Tuesday is exactly what wrestling in Siouxland needs on a more consistent basis.
4. This is one of the deepest senior classes the state has produced in years
You don't need me to tell you this, especially if you read No. 1 on this list. However, Siouxland has its own impressive seniors and two really shined bright before the pre-Christmas break.
Sibley-Ocheyedan's Hunter DeJong, who will wrestle at Iowa State next year, is off to a 20-0 start racking up bonus points in every match. He finished fourth at state a year ago and will be looking to climb higher this season.
A summer of wrestling major tournaments and having success puts DeJong on another level from most of his competition.
Lawton-Bronson senior Austin Eilers, sitting at 21-0, placed fifth at state a year ago, but scored a major early-season victory when he beat Ballard's Skyler Noftsger 6-3 in the finals at the SB-L tournament. Noftsger was a state runner-up a year ago.
Eilers followed that up with a 4-3 win over another state placer in Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley's Austin Rozeboom as he will be in the hunt at 152.
5. Siouxland may be poised to up the number of state champs
Siouxland had a pair of state champions last year in Allard and Akron-Westfield's John Henrich. Both are back, both are ranked No. 1 in their respective weight classes, and both seeming likely to make a strong run at defending those titles.
Team strength is not as obvious early in Siouxland as is some very talented individuals. There will be plenty of area wrestlers on the podium come state time, but several of those could be battling for that top step.