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C.R. Prairie Gets Rivalry Win Over Jefferson Ahead of Conference Meet

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa There's history at play every time No. 9 Cedar Rapids Jefferson and No. 4 Cedar Rapids Prairie take to the mat.

Years of hard-fought dual meets and opposing state champions rachet up the intensity whenever the two meet, and last night at Jefferson High School was no exception.

And though Prairie left the gym with a 35-25 dual meet victory in the main event of a triangular that also featured Dubuque Senior, don't let the final score fool you.

"It was two good teams going at it. Just good wrestling," said Prairie Coach Blake Williams. "Going into the meet there were probably a few toss-up matches, and I think each side probably won a few. But I like how our kids fought. (We can) kind of use this as a stepping stone for the next few weeks."

Prairie (15-3) used back-to-back pins early in the dual to dig a hole for Jefferson (9-1) that the J-Hawks were never able to get out of.

No. 5 Sam Uthoff pinned Seth Jellison in 1:45 at 120 pounds for starters, then the Hawks got an emotional boost. Prairie junior Zach Fiser stuck No. 6 (at 120) Kyle Briggs in the 128-pouinds on a reversal and got a win by fall that stunned the home crowd and had every person on the Hawks' bench jumping up and down in celebration.

"That was great. He beat a tough kid," Williams said. "He was just aggressive. When you're aggressive, good things can happen.

"Before the meet, we said 'If you get a guy on his back, you have to put him away.' We did that for the most part."

Fiser said he got some words of inspiration from his dad prior to going out on the mat last night. The junior's dad told him to "go out there and pin him in his own gym," a demand the younger Fiser was more than happy to meet.

With Briggs moving up to 128-pounds Jefferson coaches said that was in an effort to get crucial dual meet points Fiser faced more of a challenge than may have been expected. But when the headgear went on as he was warming up before the match, so did the blinders.

A cross-face on a shot by Briggs and a quick turn later, and Fiser had mission accomplished.

"I wanted to do that and really get the ball rolling for Prairie," Fiser said. "I (thought), 'Just don't worry about it, go out there and let the wrestling do the talking.'

"It felt good. I did everything I could to contribute to the dual, and I knew that if I did my job, everyone else would do theirs and everything would fall into place."

With the MVC Conference meet looming large on Saturday, both coaching staffs said they can benefit from tonight. Both squads cruised to victories over Dubuque Senior (0-12) in the first two portions of the triangular Prairie winning, 78-5, and Jefferson beating Senior, 65-15.

Prairie can obviously use the emotional lift of beating a rival in the main event on their home mat. And Jefferson, even with the pang of its first dual defeat, can use the loss to learn.

"Losing is not fun, obviously, but if we we're going to lose, I'd much rather lose now than in a regional dual where it counts for state," said Jefferson co-head coach Matt Orton. "Losing teaches you something. And tonight we were taught that we need to be better prepared and come out and battle.

"It's a great learning experience."

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