Late collapse dooms Fort Osage against Oak Park

By Michael Smith
The Examiner

The Fort Osage wrestling team came in riding high after winning the Grain Valley Invitational last weekend.

That momentum appeared to carry over in a dual against Oak Park in the early going, but the Indians had to forfeit three matches and lost the last four matches in a 42-36 home loss.

“We had a few matches that were tight,” Fort Osage coach Brandon Wackerman said. “If we could have fought to decisions and got off our backs, it could have made the difference.

“During the tournament last weekend, we got a lot of falls and stretched out some bonus-point wins. But in this dual we gave up too many pins. We would have a great first period, then when we did get taken down, we got too complacent. We weren’t urgent enough to get back to our feet and wrestle our match.”

Fort Osage was ahead 36-24 before Oak Park’s Jamison Tunstill (120) earned a 7-1 victory over Kyle Lehotta, and Coleton Tunstill worked a cradle for a pin from the top position against Dylan Reed to bring Oak Park within 36-33.

The deciding match came down to Fort Osage’s Bryan Herrera (132) and Oak Park’s Jacob Wooten. Since Fort Osage had the last of its three open spots at 138, which was the final match, Herrera needed to win his match to guarantee at least a tie for the Indians.

After a scoreless first period, Wooten earned an escape in the second to go up 1-0, a score that held until the third. Herrera managed to get a reverse before Wooten escaped to send the match to overtime. Both of them seemed evenly matched with both getting near takedowns earlier in the match. However, Wooten got a late waistlock takedown for the 4-2 win, tying the team score at 36.

Jet Holder (138) got the forfeit victory, which put the Northmen on top.

Fort Osage only benefited from one forfeit victory, Carter Christiansen at 195. After Oak Park’s Logan Linard started the dual with a forfeit victory at 145, Jesse Newton (152) evened the team score at 6 when he hooked Elijah Lowe’s arms and rolled him onto his back for a first-period pin.

Jeremiah Phillips (160) helped Fort Osage take a 12-6 advantage after a first-period win by fall over Karl Knacik.

After Fort Osage’s David Jacquez (170) and Gavin Gallman (182) were pinned by Paul Hernandez and Lucas Oitker, respectively, the Indians captured four out of the next five matches. The Northmen’s only win during that stretch was a forfeit win for Tristan Supernaw (106).

After Christiansen’s forfeit victory, Daniel Tapusoa (220), wrestling his first year at varsity, got a waistlock takedown of Taye Stapleton, before using his upper body to press his opponent’s shoulder to the mat for a second-period pin in 3:45.

“He did a remarkable job of stepping up and covering a weight class we normally don’t cover,” Wackerman said of Tapusoa. “He gave us a chance to be competitive. He stepped forward and gave up a lot of weight doing it.”

Stevie Gabb (285) – who has received the most recognition among Fort Osage wrestlers (he’s ranked No. 3 in his weight class in the poll – made it look easy when he took down Joshua Gantt with a throw and pinned him in 1:06.

“I can’t wait to have a good match with somebody,” Gabb said. “This last tournament I had at Grain Valley, no offense to those wrestlers, but they weren’t the caliber of athletes that I need to wrestle. I need to get better.

“I was hoping that (Grain Valley’s Donovan) McBride was going to be there. I was hoping to wrestle him in the finals. But I will have to see him at the dual.”

The Indians’ final victory came when Rylan Mansfield (113) got a quick takedown and cradle to pin Adrian Aguirre.