Zach Slocum had to wait long enough.
By Thursday night, he was at the front of the line.
Returning from a knee injury he suffered this summer, Slocum recorded the first of three pins to open the meet as the Marshalltown wrestling team jumped out to a lead it would never relinquish in a 39-35 victory over Urbandale at the Roundhouse.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
Marshalltown freshman Doston Harrelson awaits a pin call in the 106-pound match at the Roundhouse Thursday. Doston won by fall over Urbandale’s Peyton Towers as the Bobcats (1-1) defeated the J-Hawks 39-35.
Opening the dual at 138 pounds, Slocum pinned Mike Stuart at 2:40, providing an early spark for the Bobcats.
"When you have a senior coming off of a knee surgery and he gets to be the first guy to go out and he lights the guy up. And then you get two more (pins) behind it - it just set the tone," said Marshalltown coach Mike Mann.
Once Ben Rebik and Josh Edel followed with wins by fall at 145 and 152 to give Marshalltown an 18-0 advantage, Mann and the Bobcats sensed something special in the air.
Marshalltown 39, Urbandale 35
138-Zach Slocum (MHS) pinned Mike Stuart, 2:40; 145-Ben Rebik (MHS) pinned Lachlan Kelly, 1:35; 152-Josh Edel (MHS) pinned Cody Pearson, 2:44; 160-Dady Mansaray (URB) dec. Peyton Williams, 11-5; 170-Sam Johnson (URB) pinned Deven Mann, 1:35; 182-Derek Mann (MHS) pinned Reese Craycrat, 1:47; 195-Grant Petrillo (URB) pinned Cody Mast, 1:02; 220-Jake Heinrich (URB) won by forfeit; 285-Pedro Gomez (MHS) dec. Shaquille Wells, 3-1; 106-Doston Harrelson (MHS) pinned Peyton Towers, 5:15; 113-Jurica Caculovic (URB) dec. Alec Gill, 3-1; Colten Phillips (MHS) pinned Zeljko Caculovic, 1:09; 126-John Paulson (URB) tech. falled Jordan Paone, 17-2; 132-Colby Knight (URB) won by forfeit.
"I felt like something pretty positive could happen tonight," said Mann.
The J-Hawks threatened to spoil the evening as Urbandale rattled off wins in four of the next five matches to pull within 24-21. Derek Mann broke the run with a win by fall at 182.
Facing Class 3A No. 5 ranked Shaquille Wells, Pedro Gomez swung momentum back in the Bobcats' favor with a 3-1 decision at heavyweight. Gomez had defeated the J-Hawk senior 18-9 last year, but was academically ineligible for the second half of the season.
"Pedro's been out for a little bit so you just hope with that time off that he's able to come out and compete," said Mann.
"It wasn't pretty, but he got the job done and that was huge."
With two ranked wrestlers still in the fold for the J-Hawks - including three-time state qualifier Colby Knight, the Bobcats couldn't afford to give back any ground.
Freshman Doston Harrelson kept the run going with a pin over Mike Stuart in 5:15 at 106 in what Mann described as one of the "bubble matches" that could go either way to give the Bobcats a 33-21 lead with four matches remaining.
Alec Gill followed with a strong effort at 113 losing a 3-1 decision, before Colten Phillips (120) sealed the deal with a win by fall in 1:09 over Zeljko Calculovic.
"Phillips gets (Calculovic) in a whipover, pins him, and heck, we just won ourselves a dual meet," said Mann, replaying the match that ensured his first victory as head coach of the Bobcats (1-1).
The J-Hawks' No. 7 ranked Jon Paulson, a two-time state qualifier, and No. 2 Knight - a state champion, runner-up and fourth place finisher in his three trips to Wells Fargo Arena, followed with a 17-2 major decision and win by forfeit but it was for naught as the Bobcats had the victory on ice.
Mann expected a close match with Urbandale (0-2) and felt the meet could come down to the bubble matches - which is were Doston stepped in.
"The pin by Doston threw us over the hump. That just broke it open and then Phillips put the crunch on," said Mann.
The Bobcats will send several of their freshman and sophomores to a 9-10 dual meet format with five pools at Southeast Polk Saturday, while the rest of the varsity will head to West Des Moines Valley to battle the Tigers and Johnston that same day starting at 10 a.m. Valley currently boasts three ranked wrestlers, while the Dragons have one.
The Bobcats' Justus Bjelland, who has been recuperating from injuries sustained in a car accident, will attempt to return Monday. There is no timetable on Matt Vandegrift's return as he is sidelined with mono.