Spring Grove boosted by upper weights
Wyatt Becker repeated the same word to himself over and over.
The Spring Grove senior 195-pound wrestler was clinging to a two-point lead over South Western's Cole Stremmel in the final minute of the third period. A win by Becker would move the Rockets ever so close to a dual meet victory, while a loss would make the final three bouts interesting.
Becker wasn't thinking about any particular strategy, just that one word: win.
Becker slipped out of Stremmel's grasp for a late escape, sealing an 8-5 victory that put the Rockets up 11 with three matches to go. Spring Grove would end up beating South Western, 41-24, on the road Thursday night.
"If I had to stall out I would stall out as long as I win," Becker said. "Just doing it for the team. It was so loud I couldn't hear myself think. As soon as something big happened and I scored points, everybody started cheering and it was music to my ears."
As usual, the annual rivalry match brought out plenty of fans for both teams. But while the Rockets and their supporters were celebrating at the end, it was the South Western faithful cheering during the middle of the dual meet.
After giving up a tech fall and pin to start the match, South Western rallied back with wins from Chase Mowery (126), Adam Leib (132) and Jordan Shepard (145) to keep things close. A pin from 152-pound freshman Ethan Baney against Michael Goyco put South Western on top, 18-15, halfway through the meet.
But remainder of the meet would swing heavily in Spring Grove's favor. A 6-3 victory from Anthony Hinson at 160 tied the match before back-to-back major decisions from Trent Baker and Jared Barley set up Becker's dramatic win. A pin by Nate Young over Andrew Sipling officially sealed the victory.
"Realistically I was just looking for wins at that point, I didn't really expect the majors," Spring Grove coach Tony Miller said. "The part about tonight that really is hard on both teams is that the atmosphere gets kids nervous. Some of the young kids we're shaking on the way up. I think some of the older guys at lunch time said, 'We're ready to go, we're jittery.' I told them to calm down because we had a ways to go."
South Western shifted a few kids around during match, with some of the changes including Stremmel bumping up from 182 to 195 and typical 220-pounder Tom Aumen competing at heavyweight. Mustangs coach Nate Murren said he was looking for best matchups and still thought his team had a chance at the end.
"We were definitely in a position up until the very end there," Murren said. "Obviously some of those big swing matches didn't go our way. Our kids worked hard and did the right things, we're just not there yet."