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Open weight class haunts Wildcats as Broncos rally

By Cody Thorn
The Examiner

On a night where Blue Springs seniors were honored, it was the visiting underclassmen from Lee’s Summit North who stole the show.

The Broncos won the final two matches and also got a forfeit to secure the points needed to rally for a 42-33 Suburban Big Eight dual victory over the Wildcats Tuesday.

Lee’s Summit North (10-1) held a lead earlier in the night – 12-6 after a first-period pin by senior Cody Steinbrugge (152) – but then trailed through 285 pounds.

The Wildcats held a 30-27 lead heading into the final three matches, which started at 106 pounds. Freshman Paden Cole got a pin with 10 seconds left in the final period to cap a rally and give the Broncos the lead.

Blue Springs’ Aleksei Wojkiewicz led 9-4 early in the second period in the match but a takedown and two near fall points cut the lead down to one going into the final period.

A locked hands call and the decision to go neutral to start the third gave Cole the lead. He got a reversal with 58 seconds left to make it 12-9 before he got the pin at 5:50.

“I was trying to stay in the moment and not overthink things,” Cole said.

Added Lee’s Summit North coach Mick Cronk: “Paden never lost his cool and he kept battling and kept battling to get back in the match and got the stick. It was phenomenal.”

At 113, freshman Charlie Dykes got a forfeit win for the Broncos – the only open out of the 14 matches.

That made it 36-33 going into the final match and the outcome was still up for grabs. A win by either Blue Springs’ Devin Baldwin or Lee’s Summit North’s Seth Hooper would decide who secured the win.

Hooper got a takedown early and then got the pin shortly afterward to seal it for the Broncos.

“I was thinking about the score before the match, but during the match it is like a twilight zone – you aren’t thinking about anything and it's all about muscle memory,” said the freshman, who improved to 11-9 this season. “Before the match, I was happy Paden got the win and I knew I had to protect it and to get it over in the first period is what we needed.”

Each team had lineups that were a little bit different than they had expected.

Owen Moore was unavailable due to injury for the Broncos. Another roster change was flipping Joe Engle from 220 to 195, while Aaron Barnhill moved from 195 to 220 – but both won their matches to help trim Blue Springs' lead.

The Wildcats had two starters out, one due to injury and one due to illness. However, the biggest change for Blue Springs was at 113, as two wrestlers failed to meet weight Tuesday.

It was the second time in a week that forfeits given up by the Wildcats (8-7) turned into wins for the opposition. On Jan. 5, Blue Springs and Raymore-Peculiar tied at 35-35 but the forfeit criteria gave Ray-Pec the win.

“You know this is the second dual we have lost when guys don’t make weight,” Blue Springs coach Bobbe Lowe said. “Both kids at 113 can’t make weight. It is not a goal, it is your obligation. It is your job to make weight. If we do that, we win this dual if our kids make weight.

“I’m frustrated. We have spent the last three weeks talking about fighting and dedication to your teammate and doing your job. We got to a point where we take two or three steps up and then we take two steps back. It just stinks losing duals. … It's not fun.”

Blue Springs honored seniors Cayden Dotson, Korbin Shepherd and Jason Gross prior to the varsity match. Dotson (126) opened the dual with a second-period pin over Caden Schweitzer. Shepherd needed 39 seconds to pin Ryan McNeel and improve to 12-0. Gross lost his match to Trey Robinson.

Javi Gutierrez (145) got Greg Dillon in a cradle and got a pin 54 seconds to help the Broncos pull within two. After Steinbrugge’s win, the Wildcats got three straight wins to regain the lead. Jaxson McIntyre (160) and Mason Sullivan (170) won by pins and Corbin Katamura (182) dropped down a weight class and got a 1-0 victory over Zack Coetzee. Blue Springs’ final win came from sophomore heavyweight Brock Sullivan (14-3), who secured a pin in the third period.

Blue Springs won the girls dual 18-0. Miriya Stiles and Adrianna McMurrey each got forfeit wins and Mady Banker won the lone match with a pin in 49 seconds.