Cub wrestling team caught tough breaks in 2020-2021: Health issues slowed Nevada’s momentum

Joe Randleman
Nevada Journal
Drew Robinson went 16-3 at 126 pounds as a sophomore for the Nevada wrestling team in 2020-2021. Robinson, a state qualifier at 106 as a freshman, will be looking to make it back to Des Moines next year as a junior.

The Nevada wrestling team endured some tough breaks that prevented it from reaching its full potential in 2020-2021. 

The Cubs lost potential state qualifier Caden Jones for the season in December to a shoulder injury, saw 2020 state qualifier Drew Robinson battle an injury and a COVID-19 quarantine and Edgar Cabrerra miss most of the season with a medical condition. Cam Vincent, Nevada’s most consistent wrestler all season, hurt his knee late in the year and suffered a tough draw at the 2A sectional meet in Nevada. 

Those misfortunes prevented from Nevada being able to capitalize on the momentum it had built a year ago. 

“Not much we could do,” Nevada head coach Lonnie Ferguson said. “It’s tough. When you look at the beginning of the season when we were pretty tough to where we (ended) at – it's a long way off.” 

Nevada finished with a 6-17 record in dual meets. The Cubs defeated Knoxville by a 45-36 score Dec. 3, Prairie City-Monroe (48-33) and Woodward-Granger (42-36) Dec. 10, Greene County (36-21) Dec. 17, West Marshall (39-37) Jan. 15 and Red Oak (47-27) Jan. 16. 

The Cubs took sixth at the Heart of Iowa Conference meet and sixth at the sectional meet. 

Jones was a fantastic 17-2 at 220 pounds before his injury. Robinson moved up from 106, where he went 33-8 a year ago, to 126 and finished the season at 16-3 with a third-place finish at sectionals – leaving him one spot shy of advancing to districts. 

Vincent finished his junior season with a 28-8 record at 285. He placed second at the HOIC meet and third at sectionals behind two powerhouse wrestlers in South Tama County’s Rudy Papakee and Grinnell’s Kamrin Stevenson. 

Freshman Kaden Weber was the breakout wrestler for Nevada.  

Along with Vincent, Weber was the Cubs’ bright spot at the end of the season, finishing 28-14 at 106. Weber took second at the HOIC meet, won a sectional championship and placed fourth as Nevada’s lone district qualifier. 

In his limited time on the mat Cabrera finished 7-4 at 138.  

Dominick Garcia, Holden Fry and Matthew Sallee also finished with winning records for Nevada. Garcia went 17-14 at 120 and 126, Fry 15-14 at 160 and Sallee 11-7 at 120.  

Garcia took third at 126 during the conference meet. 

Seniors Luis Lopez and Sam Steele both came in third at both the HOIC and sectional meets. Lopez finished 13-19 at 132 and Steele 17-22 at 145. 

Gage Bielenberg picked up five wins and Everett Bridgeman three at 220, Payton Mosinski won nine matches at 160 and Caiden Woton scored five victories at 182. 

Nevada loses Jones, Steele, Lopez, Garcia and senior leader Zach Stinn. But the return of Robinson, Vincent and Weber gives the Cubs an outstanding nucleus to build around next season. 

Nevada head coach Lonnie Ferguson said Nevada will need a strong offseason to regain its momentum in 2021-2022.

The key to regaining the momentum the program had built up will be a lot of extra work put in by the returning wrestlers between now and next November. 

“They’ve got to focus on the offseason – that's where it’s at,” Ferguson said. “Last year we didn’t really have an offseason because with COVID they shut everything down. We need that time on the mat. Hopefully this year we’ll have that opportunity.”