While the scoreboard might have indicated a loss for the Fort Osage wrestling team, head coach Brandon Wackerman was pleased with the way his team performed against the Lee’s Summit West Titans Tuesday at home.
The Indians lost 39-33 to the Titans but won six out of 10 contested matches. They had to surrender 12 points by forfeit because of open spots.
Wackerman said he felt like his team still could have won the points battle but Fort Osage wasn’t able to score some pinfalls when the opportunity was there.
“We could have gotten a little closer,” Wackerman said. “There was a few circumstances where we could have got a fall but we had to settle for less team points on the board. We really weren’t trying to make this a scoreboard dual. We just wanted to wrestle competitive matches today.
“It’s tough when you have to give up three open spots. This was the first varsity dual for several of our kids tonight, too. All things considered, we came out of this pretty excited.”
Still, there were many positives to take away from Tuesday’s dual.
Lee Rodriguez, one of the two seniors for the Indians, ran out to a 9-0 lead before he worked a pin at the 1:09 mark. He got a quick takedown before forcing West’s Carson Shanks shoulders down with a bundle hold.
“This wasn’t the kid I was expecting to wrestle today,” Rodriguez admitted. “I was expecting to wrestle their varsity guy, but he was injured. I will see him at state.”
Added Wackerman: “Lee looked like a senior and was poised out there. He was in control and very systematic about what he wanted to do. He went into the top combination and the takedown that he likes.”
Rodriguez, a 145-pounder who has fell just short of making the state tournament the last two years, is more motivated than ever to make it to Columbia. The last two seasons, Rodriguez lost in the bubble match which would have qualified him for state.
“I want to be district champ this year, that’s all that matters,” Rodriguez said.
Another impressive pin came from Ikani Tuiano (285), who pinned Jed Falk in 46 seconds with a underhook hold. It was a move that Tuiano had been working on a lot in practice and it paid off Tuesday.
“I’ve been working on my single legs since last year,” Tuiano said. “I was working underhooks and was able to get him down. I finished pretty well in the Grain Valley tournament (second place). I am ready for some other good tournaments we have coming up.”
Wackerman said it’s going to be important for Tuiano to get a lot of work in during duals and tournaments because there isn’t anyone currently on the team who can wrestle with him.
“When we have the better wrestlers, we can focus on getting a little more work in, and work on some technical things,” Wackerman said. “(Tuiano) doesn’t have the teammate that’s nearly his size. You kind of sometimes have to use competition as practice when you have the better wrestler.”
Tuiano wasn’t the only upper-weight wrestler who got a pin either. Gavin Roller (220), who only had two varsity matches to his name coming into the season, avoided a pair of takedowns from Justin Benedetti because they were out of bounds. He surprised Benedetti with a throw and he quickly turned it into a pin at 1:22 mark.
“He came out excited and you can’t stop wrestling him for a moment,” Wackerman said of Roller. “You think you have him and he hits that big throw. He did that last year in a dual similar to this one. He’s done that in practice, too, where one of our guys thought they had him beat then all of a sudden pulls a big throw or a big reversal.”
Other Fort Osage winners were junior Roman Tinoco (138), who took a 2-1 decision after riding out Morgan Potts in the first overtime and working an escape in the second; freshman Kai Schreier-Mameula (113) dominated his match in a 14-2 major decision; and junior AJ Sanchez (132) won by injury default in the third period while holding a 10-1 lead.