After herding his team into the locker room Monday night, Fort Osage wrestling coach Brandon Wackerman had two topics to discuss: Staying focused and sticking to the plan.
Wackerman, and the Indians themselves, felt they were lacking in both at times as they battled Park Hill South. Lapses led to losses, which led to a 43-34 defeat at Fort Osage.
“Focus and composure I would say were the themes tonight,” Wackerman said after the Indians’ first dual loss of the season. “We had matches where we lost focus, even for seconds, and it cost us.”
It cost Fort Osage in two of the first three matches, when the Indians had victories slip away late. Kyle Lehotta took a 15-3 lead into the third period against Dylan Taylor in the 113-pound match but lost when Taylor got him on his back and pinned him with 42 seconds left. In the 120-pound match, Dylan Reed led 4-2 before giving up a takedown and late near fall points in a 6-4 loss to Connor Detty.
And 145-pounder Jesse Newton had a 7-4 advantage before Gage Baska put him on his back with 8 seconds left in the second period.
“Tonight, we showed that if we don’t wrestle sharp for all six minutes those types of kids can catch us,” Wackerman said. “Park Hill South caught us off-guard, especially in some matches where we had leads and didn’t stay in good positions all six minutes.”
Too many times, Wackerman, said, Fort Osage (6-1) didn’t follow the plans outlined for each match. Instead of staying with what they practiced, the Indians tried new and untested strategies. He’s hoping this loss will be a lesson to them.
“We’ve worked on the right things,” Wackerman said. “But if you work on things in practice and then you try to debut a new thing that you thought looked cool the night of the competition, it’s not going to go well. In several matches, I felt like that’s what happened.”
Added Fort Osage senior Josh Rieck: “We did a lot of beginner work when this is really a beginner team. They did a lot more scrapping when we tried to get technical and it didn’t work out in our favor.”
Rieck, who picked up his 100th career victory last month, improved to 17-5 on the year when he collected one of the Indians’ five pins at 152 pounds. That pin, combined with a fall from Jeremiah Phillips at 160, rallied Fort Osage from five points down to a 28-21 lead.
But Park Hill South won the next three matches with two pins and a major decision, and Fort Osage couldn’t regain the lead.
“After those first three or four matches I kind of knew how tonight was going to work out,” Rieck said. “Tomorrow we’re just going to have to work a little bit harder and try to perfect everything we messed up on tonight.”
Fort Osage won two of the three varsity girls matches. Rachel Rellihan rallied from a 2-1 deficit for a third-period pin at 142 pounds, and Breanna Clark pinned her opponent with seven seconds left in the 152-pound match. Tess Kinne was pinned in her 135-pound bout.