Fittingly, a senior clinched the Blue Springs wrestling team’s 39-31 dual win over Blue Springs South on Senior Night.
Exactly which senior did so might have raised a few eyebrows, though.
With the Wildcats holding a 36-24 lead and three bouts remaining, 120-pounder Alicia Reyes, competing in just her second varsity match, held on for a 9-7 win over Seth McLain to assure her team’s dual victory.
South forfeited four classes but won seven of the bouts, which is what Blue Springs coach Mike Hagerty had more on his mind.
“I hope we learn something,” Hagerty said following a prolonged postmatch discussion with his team. “We won the dual, but we got outwrestled.
“We pulled out a couple matches – the pin at 106 and Alicia holds on to win her match. But last night, I thought, was one of our best practices.”
Blue Springs’ other wins came at 106 pounds, where Jacob Staggs converted his first takedown and pinned Trent Ainsworth in 46 seconds, and 220, where state champion Michael Pixley bumped up a class and quickly built a 7-1 lead on Christian Boyles before getting the pin in 1:06.
Forfeit wins went to Zane Heiter (152), Holden Liptack (160), Daniel Lewis (170) and Gage Harmon (113).
Reyes countered McLain’s early throw attempt into a five-point move, and in the second period she worked out of a cradle for a reversal and two back points and a 9-4 lead. She relinquished back points in the third but kept her shoulder off the mat enough to avoid the pin and claim the win.
Reyes had wrestled for three seasons on the junior varsity, including a conference JV title her sophomore season, she said.
“I went with hips; it’s all about the hips,” Reyes said of her early takedown. “I just kept fighting and didn’t give up. I got out, gave an Easton roll and that got some back points.
“I was just really focused on not getting pinned, getting out of that cradle.”
South’s Sam Jackson started the night at 132 pounds with a pin (2:32) of Juan Juarez, and Jaguar 138-pounder Sidney Robertson trailed 7-3 when he caught Codie Bell for a pin in 3:52. Wyatt Parker (182) controlled Alex Dye for a 9-2 decision, and Ben Lancaster (195) got a third-period takedown of Collyn Allen before holding on for a 3-2 win.
Hagerty had moved Dye and Allen up a class, as well Jeremy King to 126, in order to fill the lineup and give his wrestlers the best possible matchups. That didn’t make some of the losses easier to swallow, though.
“We knew Daniel wasn’t going to get a match,” Hagerty said, “so for our lineup, to give Mike the best match he could get, we put him up against Christian Boyles because I have a lot of respect for Christian.
“Maybe that backfired. As coaches, we want to believe that when you put a kid somewhere you think they can win. They beat us in the top position. Our kids couldn’t get out and gave up some back points.”
After Reyes’ victory, South’s Dalton Kenig (126) beat Jeremy King 9-1, and 132-pounder Sam Hampton closed the match with a 5-0 win over Joe King.
“We lost a couple matches with some mental mistakes, but overall the kids came out and competed hard,” South coach Doug Black said. “We won a couple matches that could’ve gone either way, and that’s big for our program.”
Specifically, Black pointed to Robertson's and Lancaster’s wins.
“He’s fallen short in some close matches,” Black said of Lancaster, “so it was good for him to come up with a win.”
“We wrestled pretty good,” added Hampton. “There’s still some things that need work, but the effort was there. I’m proud of my teammates for how they handled themselves today.”