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LISBON, Iowa – Good to be back, but the result could be better.
Brad Smith returned to Lisbon's gymnasium for the first time as the Lions head wrestling coach since guiding them to 10 total state titles. The Hall of Fame coach will have to wait for the return of those glory days though.
Rival Mount Vernon, coached by former Lisbon state champ Vance Light, played the role of spoiler in Smith's homecoming, claiming a 51-24 victory Thursday night. The Lions (2-1) opened the season with two road wins Tuesday.
Smith was approached by fans from both teams, sharing handshakes, laughs and a couple stories.
"Except for getting beat, it is fun," Smith said. "I've had a lot of people come up to me and they're excited about me being back. I'm excited about being back."
Former Lisbon three-time state champion and four-time state medalist Ryan Morningstar was honored before the varsity dual with the program's inaugural "Lifetime Honorary Captain" award. He was presented a framed picture and plaque by his former high school coaches Dean Happel and Brian Hall.
Smith has 465 career wins, ranking third all-time in state history. The Lions were 144-40-4 under Smith from 1979-91, winning seven traditional state team titles and three state dual championships. The school and community remain similar so memories of his first stint at Lisbon flood his mind.
"Especially tonight brought back a lot of flashbacks," Smith said. "You see a lot of people in the stands that were former wrestlers and students. It's pretty neat."
Light and Smith have 746 combined coaching victories. Light wrestled for Smith at Lisbon, winning 112 and 119-pound state titles in 1986 and 1987, respectively. It was the first time the two have coached against each other, but Light wasn't bothered by handing his old coach a loss.
"It's been so long ago you forget about that stuff," Light said. "We'll face each other for a little while."
Smith was impressed by the physical style and builds of the Mustangs, who won 10 weights. He also praised the technique taught by Light.
"Vance obviously knows what he's talking about, because I coached him," Smith said with a laugh. "I hate losing to a former pupil, but it's good for him. There will be many more shots for us in the future. My hat's off to him."
Mount Vernon (1-0) scored bonus points in five wins, receiving pins from Noah Dahlstrom (152), Daniel Abresch (182) and James Wenzel at 132. Trey Ryan, ranked second in Class 2A at 160, scored a technical fall at 170 and Kyle Jilovec added a major decision at 145.
The Mustangs bumped many wrestlers up a weight since Lisbon forfeited three weights.
"We wrestled real well," Light said. "We jockeyed people around a little bit. We have some pretty equal kids in the middle weights, so we were able to move guys. That always helps."
Mount Vernon had the win secured before Lisbon hit the strength in the lineup, which is the lighter weights. Nick Williams (106), Colten Smith (113), 120-pounder Carter Happel and Hunter Hutchinson (126) posted four straight pins for the Lions, making it 39-24.
Smith said that Williams and Happel are accomplished, winning AAU titles. Colten Smith is 3-0 with three falls this season. Hutchinson, a former state qualifier, is the lone senior for the young Lions.
"He's fired up this year," Smith said of Hutchinson. "He's been a really good leader for us."
The fans showed their enthusiasm, filling the bleachers Thursday night. Recapturing the success he had coaching the Lions will take some time. Lisbon has 15 wrestlers on the roster and Smith said he has to increase interest among students to get some of the bigger athletes walking the school's halls to participate.
"We have some goals," Smith said. "We want to get the (state title) trophy back here eventually. We need to get some more kids out."
Mount Vernon will compete at the Belle Plaine Invitational on Saturday, while Lisbon will wrestle in a tournament at Tipton.
Mount Vernon 51, Lisbon 24
(Individual takedowns in parentheses)
145 pounds - Kyle Jilovec (MV) major dec. Jordan Speed, 12-2 (4,0); 152 - Noah Dahlstrom (MV) pinned T.J. Krob, :22 (1,0); 160 - Spencer Drahos (MV) won by forfeit; 170 - Trey Ryan (MV) tech. fall Jacob Lewis, 18-2 (4,0); 182 - Daniel Abresch (MV) pinned Connor Woodward, 2:56 (3,0); 195 - Connor Welch (MV) dec. Matt Montgomery, 9-2 (1,0); 220 - Josh Cannon (MV) won forfeit; 285 - Carson Kuntz (MV) dec. Jordan Woodward, 11-7 (5,0); 106 - Nick Williams (L) pinned Jake Durgin, :55 (1,0); 113 - Colten Smith (L) pinned Jayden Casey, 1:26 (1,0); 120 - Carter Happel (L) pinned Kyle Durgin, 3:46 (3,0); 126 - Hunter Hutchinson (L) pinned Luke Muller, 1:39 (1,0); 132 - James Wenzel (MV) pinned Ryan Kortemeyer, 5:47 (2,0); 138 - Charlie Engelbrecht (MV) won by forfeit.
Takedowns - Mount Vernon 20, Lisbon 6; Reversals - Mount Vernon 3, Lisbon 1; Escapes - Mount Vernon 4, Lisbon 12; Nearfall points - Mount Vernon 16, Lisbon 8; Penalty points (awarded) - Mount Vernon 1, Lisbon 2. Total match points - Mount Vernon 67, Lisbon 36.