The Western Dubuque wrestling team ran the table at the Linn-Mar Duals earning three wins, Jan. 9, but they lost a close match to Linn-Mar, 36-33, when the Bobcats hosted the Lions in Epworth, Jan. 7.

With the three wins, the Bobcats improved to 8-6 for the season while they continue to set their sights on taking on every challenge on the mat and striving to get better.

“I think genetically West Dubuque people and kids are just engineered to be tough. It’s in their blood. They’re fighters,” said coach Paul Cleary. “They’re fighters until the day they die and that’s why I love coaching them.”

That fight is on display every time they put on their singlet, but it was really showcased when the Bobcats battled Linn-Mar, the 10th ranked team in Class 3A, to a tough 36-33 loss.

Sawyer Nauman got things started for Western Dubuque with a pin at 195 pounds. The lead quickly went to 18-6 when Emerson Lux-Morales caught his opponent in the heavyweight match and pinned him in 54 seconds, and that was followed by Maddox Bries taking a forfeit at 106.

That’s when the Lions took over the dual. Linn-Mar earned victories in seven straight weight classes to take a 36-18 lead, but they suffered a one-point deduction because of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty assigned to their coach after Reece Seery pulled out a 2-1 decision over Kyle Schirmer at 145.

During that run, the Bobcats’ knew that it wasn’t about the points that they earned while on the mat, but more about the points they didn’t give up. Because of extra points with a victory by major decision, technical fall or pin, the Bobcats fought hard not to get pinned and not to get taken to the mat during their six minutes on the mat.

So being down 36-18, the Bobcats still had life as, mathematically, they could still pull off a tie.

However, the win was quickly secured by Linn-Mar when Dakota Lau was unable to pin Kain Wempen during their match at 160 pounds even though Lau had Wempen in a near pin situation twice in the first period.

The Bobcats still finished the dual in style as Greyson Gardner (170) pinned his opponent in 4:47 and Evan Surface (182) earned his pin in 3:27.

“Linn-Mar is obviously a good team. We knew that going into this match. We also knew to pull something off that we’d need everything to go right, but we just got beat,” said Cleary. “Nothing changes for us. We’re back to work with the mindset of just getting better so we’re ready for the next opportunity to get onto the mat.”

The next time the Bobcats went to battle was just two days later when they traveled to Marion to participate in the Linn-Mar Duals. They easily handled business in two matches beating Clear Creek-Amana 53-24 and destroying Clinton 81 to minus one. However, they did pull out a 36-31 come-from-behind win over Cedar Rapids Xavier when they won the final three matches by pins. Racking up those three key wins were Fred Kammiller (126), Nathan Casey (132) and Nevin Pins (138).

Lux-Morales added points when he pinned his opponent in 56 seconds, while Trayton Kurimski (152) and Surface (182) both won by decision and Nauman (195) won by forfeit.

At the Linn-Mar duals, Kammiller (126), Kurimski (152), Surface (182), Nauman (195) and Lux-Morales (285) all went 3-0 for the day. Kurimski had two pins while Kammiller and Lux-Morales both had three. Lux-Morales had the fastest pin at the duals taking just 14 seconds to walk off the mat.

Bries (106/113), Casey (132), Pins (138), Lau (160), Gardner (170) and Mitchell Ashline (220) went 2-1 with Cooper Habel (106/113), Jagger McCool (120) and Brady Kennedy going 1-2.