Grain Valley had the victory well in hand before Brock Smith stepped onto the mat Wednesday night. That didn’t keep him from putting the cherry on top of the Eagles’ excellent evening.
Wrestling in the 120-pound and final match of a three-team dual meet, Smith, a freshman, battled Van Horn’s Ethan Moses through three scoreless periods before securing a takedown in overtime for a 2-0 victory. That ended Grain Valley’s 57-18 victory over Van Horn, and it capped a 2-0 night for the Eagles in their own gym.
“I just got put in the lineup at 120, I got my spot and I came in swinging,” said Smith, who was making his third appearance at 120. “Big matches are the way. That’s what we like.”
And it was a big match for Smith, who in Moses faced a two-time state qualifier and medalist at 106 in last year’s Class 3 state tournament. Neither could gain an advantage until Smith had Moses hanging upside-down on his back. From there he scrambled for a takedown with 22 seconds left in the extra period.
“I shot him a head inside single, and as I’m coming up the back I can feel him trying to kick out,” Smith said. “So I just went back to my roots and finished it as simple as I could.”
Smith’s grand finale just made the evening all the sweeter for Grain Valley coach Jeff Bowman, who also saw his Eagles top Winnetonka 63-18 in their first dual. Bowan said Smith, who recorded a first-round pin against Winnetonka, had been working hard for the opportunity to take on an opponent like Moses.
“We just had the conversation in the room about beating those good guys,” Bowman said. “It’s time now. And he went out there and showed the guys that, yeah, that’s what we’re here for – to compete and beat the better guys.”
Grain Valley’s guys were good enough to collect six pins against Winnetonka and another five against Van Horn. Trent Starr, a Class 3 state runner-up in 2018 who sat out last season, improved to 13-0 this season at 126 pounds after a quick pin against Winnetonka in his only match. State qualifier Hunter Newsom had two pins at 182 pounds, as did Jayden Jacobson at 160.
“The coaches told us our game plan and how to execute,” Smith said. “And we trust the coaches. So being able to go out there and make them proud and make these fans proud is everything we want to do.”
Moses, Steven Campos (132) and Chandler Seevers (152) had pins in Van Horn’s 42-40 loss to Winnetonka in its first dual. Seevers also won against Grain Valley and Kaleb Allee pinned his opponent at 195, but the Falcons couldn’t overcome forfeits at four weights.
“We’ve had some bumps and bruises along the way,” Van Horn coach Craig Addison said. “First semester we had a lot more numbers and this semester we have a few kids who are not with us anymore. We’re just trying to push through.”