Callahan, Garvey finish first at Gary Curtis Invitational

By Jeff Yoder
Posted 1/9/22

As Gannon Callahan drove Wilton junior Alexander Kaufmann to his back during the final first-place match of Saturday’s tournament, it looked like the Mid-Prairie senior’s sixth win of the …

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Callahan, Garvey finish first at Gary Curtis Invitational

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As Gannon Callahan drove Wilton junior Alexander Kaufmann to his back during the final first-place match of Saturday’s tournament, it looked like the Mid-Prairie senior’s sixth win of the season would come as easy as the first five. 

But it wouldn’t.

Down 5-0, Kaufmann got a reversal and took Callahan to the second period tied 5-5.

“I got into that bad position in the first period and kind of made me mad,” Callahan said. “So I was really trying to look for the win after that.”

Callahan took control of the match with an escape and a takedown in the second and went on to a 13-6 win, joining teammate Cael Garvey as a champion at Highland’s Gary Curtis Invitational. 

Callahan, who suffered a shoulder injury during football season, wrestled his first matches of the season on January 6. 

“He did a good job,” Mid-Prairie coach Justin Garvey said. “We’ve got one week under our belts right now, and in his head he thinks you can just throw everybody to their back. And we’ve just got to get back to that mindset of grinding out matches and making smart decisions.

"He finished it out great, he did everything that he had to do.”

While Callahan was unable to wrestle before the winter break, he had physical therapy and worked to stay in shape. 

“It's a frustrating road for any athlete when you have to sit out certain drills and you can't wrestle,” Garvey said. “At Christmas break he was cleared and had a really good two weeks of practice. So now it's just shaking the rust off during competition.”

Callahan says he’s at 100 percent, and isn’t limited at all by the injury. 

“It's been really good,” he said about the rehab. “It's gone a lot faster than I thought it was going to.”

Callahan won his first three matches of the season by first-period pin, and pinned Cascade senior Kodey Miles in the second period to reach the final. 

Cael Garvey got a couple quick pins on Saturday to reach a tournament final for the fourth time this season. Garvey (21-2) picked up his second tournament championship with a 64-second pin of New London junior Trent Wilerson (20-5).

Wilerson tried to take a shot early in the first period, but Garvey took advantage of his position. 

“(Wilerson) was trying to do a little slide-by action and then Cael just out-scrambled the kid,” Justin explained. “He's been wrestling for so long that it's just instinct. He just knows where he’s at on the mat, and it’s something that's almost impossible to coach —  his mat awareness and knowing which direction to turn, and Cael’s really good at that.”

The 106-pound bracket featured four freshmen with at least 20 wins, including 1A No. 6 Brock Morris of Cascade. Mid-Prairie junior Mose Yoder (20-4) didn’t get a chance to meet Morris in the semifinal, as Rowdy Neighbor (23-7) sent him to the consolation bracket, getting a couple takedowns and a pin with 10 seconds left in the first period. 

Yoder responded by winning the next three by first-period pin to take fifth. 

“I think he overlooked his first round match a little bit, he was a little flat,” Garvey said. “Unfortunately, with the format of the tournament, you had to win that one to get into position for that third-place round. So he came all the way back, and he got fifth place. But it's just reminding him constantly that  we've got to stick with what got us here.”

Kaden Meader finished fourth at 170. He won his quarterfinal match, but dropped the next two to Regina’s second ranked Aidan Udell, and South Tama’s No. 10 Boden Koehler. 

“Kaden had a pretty decent day,” Garvey said. “Him and Mose are very similar in the fact that they're both very strong, they’ve got great conditioning, but the wrestling knowledge is a little bit limited. So we got to stay within what we know really well and just dictate that the match stays there.”

Terry Bordenave was 3-2 for the day to finish sixth at 220. Jarron Thomas was 1-2 and finished sixth at 182. Tucker Miller and Evan Phillips each went 2-2 for the day, while Dalton Miller and Landry Gingerich each finished 1-2. 

Mid-Prairie finished fifth out of 15 teams. 

“We got a lot of wrestling in today, most of our guys got between three to five matches,” Garvey said. “And even some of those guys who lost in the second round bounced back and had a couple of wins on the backside. So it was a pretty good day for us.”

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