The Knoxville varsity wrestling team has been turning some heads recently with strong performances to start the 2019-20 season.

The Panthers were runner-up at the South Central Conference Wrestling Tournament held in Centerville Dec. 12.

The Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont Rockets won the team title with 229 points, but the Panthers were second overall in the seven-team field with 165 points.

Knoxville crowned two champions along the way as Luke Spaur (120) and Gavin Montalvo (170) each won their respective weight classes.

Spaur moved to 7-0 for the season. “Luke had a great day defeating a very good EBF wrestler in the finals, who was a District qualifier,” commented Panther Coach Doug Hatch.

In regard to the other champion for the day, Gavin Montalvo, “Gave is so fun to watch. He just gets after it. He is a force to be reckoned with for the Panthers.”

Adding strength and key points to the KHS total for the day were Marco Alejo (113), Nash Linsley (160) and Wyatt Darnell (182) all in second place.

Hayden Hatch at 126, Koby Gordon at 145 and Cael Hollinrake at 152 all placed third for the Panthers.

It was the first year back for the traditional tournament, that has been off the schedules for quite a few years.

Coach Hatch stated, “It was a very good day. We wrestled hard from the opening match till the last whistle. I was very proud of our boys. I believe all the boys placed above their seeds or equal to.”

Saturday the Panthers venture to Roland-Story to participate in the Norseman Invitational staring at 10 a.m.

SCC TourneyTeam Scoring1. Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont 229, 2. Knoxville 165, 3. Centerville 146, 4. Clarke/Murray 113, 5. Davis County 111, 6. Albia 83.5, 7. Chariton 80.

Perry Bell can be reached at or by calling the newsroom at 641-842-2155.

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