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Clark, Malcom earn first state victories

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

DES MOINES – Josh Clark and Matt Malcom both earned their first wins at state but the Glenwood wrestling team missed out on a medal for the third straight season at the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament in Des Moines last weekend.
Bettendorf edged 2013 champion Southeast Polk for the traditional state team title by just four points in the team standings.

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Glenwood finished in a four-way tie in 45th place with Decorah, Norwalk and Pella in the team standings. The Rams went without a medal for just the third time since 2008 and only the fourth time overall in 37 years. Glenwood’s last medals at the state wrestling came in 2010.

“We wrestled well but it’s still an empty feeling,” said Glenwood coach Brad Asche. “It’s been a few years now (since we’ve medaled) but it does feel like we’re definitely getting closer. I honestly think that. Matt and Josh really wrestled well that first day. I don’t think they wrestled like themselves that second day but no excuses.”

Malcom (46-8), the Rams’ 132-pound district champion, scored a 13-0 major decision over Jakeb Bakken (35-20) of Iowa City West in the opening round to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals.

“Matt went up there on a mission,” Asche said. “He looked like he was on the right track getting a quick takedown and turning him multiple times. He took control of the match right away.”

Day two, wasn’t quite as successful for Malcom. Malcom dropped his second round match to Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Clint Lembeck (43-4) in a 10-1 major decision Friday morning.

“That kid liked to do a move and maybe we didn’t go over it enough for Matt’s sake, but he (Matt) ended up being a little defensive in the match and it all trickled down from there,” Asche said. “I think maybe he wrestled not to lose. When you realize it’s wrestle or go home it puts some pressure on you.”

Malcom dropped his Friday afternoon consolation match to Justin Reiher (46-9) of Waverly-Shell Rock 4-2.
Clark (28-13), a first time state qualifier, earned the Rams’ second win of the day when he defeated Johnston’s Nathaniel Standish in  a 15-9 decision over in their 160 pound first round match.

“Josh is an undersized 160 pounder; he’s really a 152 pounds,” Asche said. “But I’ve always said if he can get to state he can make some noise. He has sort of a weird (wrestling) style. He’s a good performer on the matt. That first match was up and down, that kid was really unorthodox, but he took control and scored some points after nearly pinning him.”

Clark couldn’t carry over the momentum of his first round win into Friday’s second round, falling by major decisions to Mason City’s Andy Bartel (40-6) and Iowa City West’s John Milani (43-18).

“He just ran into two tough kids that had cut a lot of weight and were a lot bigger than him,” Asche said.
The Rams’ A.J. Slaughter (28-23) and Cole Peckham (39-12) lost both of their opening day matches and were eliminated on day one.

Slaughter, a 120 pound freshman, lost his opening round match to top seeded Alijah Jeffery (41-0) of Marion Linn-Mar, before dropping his consolation match to Camiran Sadeghi (27-7)of Keokuk by fall. Slaughter closes out his freshman season with a record of 28-25.

Peckham lost by major decision 9-1 to Indianola’s John Gioffredi (42-5) in the opening round before being eliminated in the consolation round with a 5-4 loss to Logen Rodriguez (30-10) of Cedar Rapids Kennedy. Peckham wraps up his Ram career with a record of 39-14 this season.

Both Slaughter and Malcom return for the Rams next season. Glenwood finished 19-7 overall in duals this season with seven freshmen in the lineup for most of the season. Asche thinks his young team can build on that success with lessons learned at state this season.

“I really think that makes them hungry for next year,” Asche said. “Matt, his was his second taste of state, and he’s finding out they just don’t hand those things (medals) out. Medals aren’t handed out. It’s going to take all the kids around Matt to realize, ‘Hey, he’s one of our better wrestlers and he didn’t medal.’ I think that sends a message and as soon as every kid gets that message I think we’ll be alright.”