Cedar Falls sends two wrestlers to State

By: Ben Louviere

One of the greatest wrestlers of all time, Dan Gable, once said, “Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.” Cedar Falls senior Jacob Watters (126 lbs) and junior Bryce Pilcher (170 lbs) have adhered to the grind and have fought long and hard to find this alloy — one which is now taking them to Wells Fargo Arena this weekend for the state championship wrestling meet.

After the Hi-Line deadline, Watters and Pilcher will have wrestled Thursday at 1:30 p.m. If these matches were won, the following match for either wrestler will be held today at 9 a.m. Winning here would send them to the semifinal match. *Fun fact: Jacob Watters’ first match will have been against Jake Watters from Dowling Catholic.

Of the two wrestlers that Cedar Falls will send to State, both were motivated toward a tireless pursuit of victory this year after injuries prevented them from participating in much of last year’s season. “I missed the majority of the season last year due to injury, so the opportunity this year means a lot to me,” Watters said.

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 3.14.31 PMThis season challenged many of the wrestlers to step out of their comfort zones. “Our team had a lot of guys that were asked to fill in some spots where they weren’t really comfortable — some were up a weight [class], and we had freshmen filling in on the varsity squad. I think they worked hard in positions where they wouldn’t have normally been,” said Pilcher.

Watters also reflected positively on the growth and perseverance of the young team this season. “We performed well for how young we are. We had a great group of guys who pushed each other to be the best they could, and we had fun doing it,” he said.

For Watters, Pilcher and wrestlers across the state of Iowa, wrestling at Wells Fargo is a dream. The chance to prove yourself in the greatest wrestling state in the Midwest is something that takes a little bit of crazy and, more importantly, a whole lot of guts. “I’ve always wanted to wrestle [at Wells Fargo], since I was a little kid. I think the first time I went I was 6 or 7 years old, and that’s where I’ve wanted to wrestle ever since. I just want to make sure I make the most of my opportunity there, and I’m ready for some great competition,” Pilcher said.

What makes the battle at state even more important to both wrestlers is the chance to stand up for Cedar Falls on the mat. “I’m looking forward to representing CF at State because it’s an opportunity to show the hard work and attitude of our program that all of our guys put in,” Watters said.

“A lot of people don’t know it here, but our head wrestling coach, Wil Kelly, is very respected throughout the state. Coming from Cedar Falls, wrestling under him and Brad Penrith, who coached at the college level for a long time — we have two of the best coaches in the state, so it’s a big deal to represent them and our school. I’m very excited,” Pilcher said.

Dan Gable also once said, “There’s always ways of motivating yourself to higher levels. Write about it, dream about it. But after that, turn it into action. Don’t just dream.” For Cedar Falls wrestlers, the dreams have become reality, and in front of them is the final action on the mat.

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