The reaction from the Blue Springs South wrestling team following Tuesday’s season-opening dual against Raytown was rare considering the end result.
Cody Kenig, a 132-pound wrestler, scored an overtime takedown to give himself an 6-4 win in the final match of the night.
That win tied the score at 37 all with the Blue Jays, but there was little excitement from the Jaguar wrestlers and the ending drew the ire of South head coach Doug Black.
The official ended the match immediately after Kenig’s takedown of Tyler Westervelt, when he could have let Kenig attempt to convert it into a pin. If the Jaguar junior had scored a pin, the Jaguars would have earned a decisive 40-37 win.
The South wrestlers silently awaited the final team decision, while Black was flipping through a wrestling rulebook. Turns out the Jaguars earned a 38-37 win via a tiebreaker.
Because South won seven contested matches to Raytown’s six, it was awarded the team victory. The Blue Jays won the only forfeited match at 106.
After Kenig’s win, Black was beside himself and argued with the official because he felt like his junior could have scored a pin for bonus points, which is typically allowed if the wrestler on top is in position to do so.
“I knew we had the tiebreaker but you have to give the kid a chance to get the pin,” Black said. “If he scores a fall, we win by three.”
In the end, the Jaguars still earned the victory thanks to Kenig’s clutch takedown, which completed South’s comeback from a 25-0 deficit. He initially was down 2-1 but scored a late takedown in the first period to take a 3-2 edge. He was ahead 4-2 after an escape in the third, but Westervelt managed to catch Kenig off guard with a late takedown in the final seconds of the third to send it to overtime.
“That shows a lot of courage on his part,” Black said of Kenig. “He got caught relaxing and gave up a takedown late in the third. He could have folded right there but he fought back and won it.”
Added Kenig: “It all starts in the wrestling room. And what I did out there was because of our coaching staff. I just did what they told me to do. I knew my team needed my help.”
After that, it didn’t take Kenig long to seal the win with a perfectly executed single-leg takedown.
That was the exclamation point to South’s tremendous comeback.
The Jaguars lost their first five matches, but senior Brady Childers helped stop the bleeding when he scored a pinfall via crossface cradle late in the first period.
“My coaches have been pushing me hard and I have been doing a lot of sprints,” said Childers, who missed out on making state last season. “It’s the most sprints I have done in awhile, so I am in good condition. I lost 15 pounds, too.
“I saw that we were down and saw how many matches we had left and thought, ‘We can do this!’”
From there, South won six out of the next seven matches including pins from, Peyton Valentine (195), Noah Leonard (220), Jastin Robertson (113), Braedon Blurner (126).
“It was a hard fought match between both schools,” Black said. “I have to give Raytown a lot of credit. They gave us a battle. I am proud of the kids. They fought hard. We did this with a lot of new guys in our lineup.”
One of those newcomers was freshman 120-pounder Cooper Doolin, who scored an impressive 13-2 win, with three near falls, during his first varsity bout. Doolin, who said he was nervous and had struggled to cut enough weight to compete at 120, said he was confident he and his team could get the win.
“I was nervous, but I had to give myself that mental edge and to believe that I could win,” Doolin said. “When you tell yourself that, you know you’re going to win. I thought I had the kid pinned in the beginning, but he was good at standing up and getting out of my cradle.
“I’ve been having to eat healthier and lose weight. I wasn’t eating or drinking very much today. I was getting tired out there. I stalled a little bit, but luckily it wasn’t called.”