The youngsters filling in holes on the Western Dubuque wrestling team’s lineup sheet helped the Bobcats earn a 39-33 win in the Bobcats’ team dual match with Decorah at Epworth, Dec. 10.

“I love it when those freshmen step up, go out there and get the whole idea what high school sports is all about,” said Paul Cleary, head coach of the Bobcats. “Wrestling is an incredible team sport, it really is. Everyone is important. Everyone’s points are important and it sure showed there. So I’m super proud of the heart that they showed there in that match.”

Cleary was addressing Maddox Bries (106) and Caden Mulnix (113), the two freshmen at the top of his lineup card who battled in their matches against the Vikings. Mulnix was clutch in his match scrapping his way to a 4-2 win to tie the team dual at 33-33, allowing the Bobcats to post a 39-33 victory after Jagger McCool (120) was given six points by forfeit. However, the fight that Bries put up in his match was impressive if not inspiring. Several times during his match Bries looked to be in position to earn points but was unable to gain control long enough to be credited with them as he dropped a 2-0 decision that put Western Dubuque down 33-30.

The dual started at 126 and Ben Schueller (132) gave the Bobcats their first win when he pinned his opponent (3:47).

After a forfeit at 138, senior and first-year starter Kyle Schirmer (145) closed the gap to 12-9 with his 9-2 win.

The Bobcats found themselves down 24-9 when a Greysen Gardner (170) pin started their comeback thanks to a four weight-class run by the home team that put them up 30-24 going into the heavyweight bout.

Evan Surface (182) earned his win with a 9-3 decision while seniors Sawyer Nauman (195) and Mitchell Ashline (220) won by pins. It took Nauman 1:44 to end his match while Ashline had the fastest pin of the night taking just 29 seconds.

“Positive energy is contagious — that happens in the room with the seniors and again with the coaching staff,” said Cleary about the shift that was also felt on the scoreboard. “We’ve got great seniors and a coaching staff that is second to none. I’m super proud of their energy.”

The Bobcats are now 2-0 in team duals with just one dual and the Battle of Waterloo on the schedule before the holiday break.

“We’ve got some things to learn from our losses here tonight, but we’ll keep moving forward,” said Cleary.