Bearcats come up short in battle of top ranked teamsPosted:
With an electric finish Thursday, Class A No. 2 Lincoln East made No. 1 Kearney exit stage left at Lincoln East Auditorium with a 36-33 Spartan wrestling victory.
After the Spartans made a run to take a 30-12 lead, it was Nic Swift’s pin in 53 seconds over Kearney’s Dallyn Ritchie at 106 pounds that clinched the victory.
Swift and Ritchie have a had a past already this season, splitting two matches — Swift defeated the Bearcat 106-pounder in Kearney and Ritchie defeated the Spartan at the Flatwater Fracas in December.
“That was a match we knew we had to win,” East coach Jeff Rutledge said. “(Swift) recognized a cradle was there, locked it up, and the rest was history.”
Kearney rallied, but a medical forfeit at 170 pounds for the Bearcats was more a class act than a result on the scoreboard.
Lincoln East co-head coaches Keenan McCurdy and Rutledge wrestled for Kearney coach Ty Swarm when he was an assistant coach at Nebraska-Kearney.
After Grant Lyman’s opponent took a hard hit on the mat, Swarm offered to restart the match, then forfeited to hand East the points.
“I went over to Coach Swarm and his AD and said ‘That is the classiest thing you can do as a wrestling coach,’” Rutledge said. “Coach McCurdy and I were talking on the sidelines and asking ourselves, ‘Would we do that?’
“We sure hope we would do that same thing, but it is always easier to say that when you are on the other end, but Coach Swarm is a role model for Coach McCurdy and I and one of the main reasons we think he is a phenomenal coach but a better role model for the Kearney community and the wrestling community as a whole.”
The Spartans’ big lead seemed like a lot, but it was the Bearcats who took three straight matches at 126, 132 and 138 pounds after East’s Maxx Mayfield began the dual with a 23-8 technical fall over Gage Ferguson in 5:53.
Chance Fry put East back in the win column with a major decision at 145, and DaShawn Dixon and Cade Kammerer used back-to-back pins to give East its second lead before a 10-minute intermission honoring past Spartan wrestling alumni.
“Those are huge. Pins and bonus points is what win duals for you, especially in duals against Kearney High,” Rutledge said. “When you’re wrestling Kearney, you are going to need every point you can get and last time we wrestled them, we gave bonus points at (132) and (138), and tonight we got those bonus points back. Those pins for those guys at the end was digging deep and wrestling for six minutes.”
Kearney won the pin department with four to Lincoln East’s three, but the Spartans dominated other aspects of the mat, including a 31-16 takedown advantage.
Article from: Tim Gray, Lincoln Journal Star