Sturgis Brown High School made the most of its road trip from South Dakota by beating both of Gillette high school wrestling teams in duals Thursday night.
Campbell County faced off against the Sturgis Scoopers to lead off the triangle dual at Thunder Basin High School and lost 74-6. Then the Bolts took their turn and, despite three straight pins to end the dual, came up short in a close 39-33 battle.
A fast start for Sturgis was the difference in the dual against Thunder Basin, as the Scoopers won five straight matches to take a 21-0 lead. Three of those wins were neck-and-neck decisions and those two- or three-point losses for TBHS shifted the scales in Sturgis’ favor.
“It came down to some of those tight matches and some of them didn’t go our way,” TBHS coach Mikah Kadera said. “We wrestled well in almost every single match. It was just being stingier in certain positions that was the difference.”
The Bolts got on the scoreboard with the 138-pound match, as sophomore Cael Porter picked up a 10-2 major decision. He said a three-point win by decision wasn’t enough and he nearly got the pin at the end of the match.
“I had to get that extra point to get the major (decision),” Porter said. “I knew I had to do it for the team and to give us momentum. So instead of going for two, I just went for it all and almost had the pin.”
The momentum continued to build for TBHS at 145 pounds with senior Keanyn Weber making a dramatic pin early in the second period. After almost getting pinned himself and being down 5-0 after the first period, Weber turned the tables and pinned Harrison Good 29 seconds into the second.
The 152-pound match was never in much doubt as TBHS senior Warren Carr was in complete control from the start. The only points his opponent scored was when Carr let him escape intentionally to keep working on techniques and score takedowns.
Carr was up 14-4 after two periods with five takedowns, but he added some drama to the match by waiting until the final 14 seconds to secure the technical fall. Thunder Basin needed every point it could get and those three wins closed the gap to 21-15.
For all of the remaining matches except heavyweight, every Scooper bumped up a weight class from where they wrestled against CCHS. Even so, Sturgis rattled off three straight pins to secure the win.
Those three wins put Sturgis ahead 39-15 with three matches to go. There was no longer a chance for a TBHS win, but the Bolts closed the dual on a strong note.
Lane Catlin was next up at 195 pounds and the big, strong freshman took full advantages. He controlled the match from the start and picked up the pin in 90 seconds.
“He bumped up from a lower weight, so I had a little confidence going in,” Catlin said. “It was good to rally at the end (of the dual). You can take positives and negatives out of it.”
Senior Brock Sather had to battle a little more in his match at 220 pounds, but the result was almost the same — a pin in 1:29. He tossed Clayton Smith to his back with about 45 seconds left in the first period and had him pinned 15 seconds later.
Senior Dalton McInerney made it three TBHS pins in a row to finish the dual and he was trying to work on a specific move for most of the match. He called it the leg turk, where he lifts one of his opponent’s legs and then hooks his own behind the remaining leg and an arm behind his opponent’s head to “make it look like a telephone.”
McInerney accomplished it in the first period, but just missed out on capitalizing with a pin. He had a 7-0 lead going into the second period, before making the pin 20 seconds in to make the final score 39-33.
“I decided to try a different move out this time. I’ve been working on it for the past week … and I’m kind of proud of my results,” McInerney said. “I should’ve been able to pin him with that, but I wasn’t able to get my arm through.”
The three pins in a row were enough to close the gap to six, but not enough for the win. The Bolts will finish out the week at a tournament at the Dylan Humes Memorial in Moorcroft this weekend.
Sturgis Brown 74, Campbell County 6
Sturgis was one win away from completing a shutout Thursday night, but that was thwarted by Colter Rankin, who scored a 41-second pin for the Camels.
Campbell County had lost 13 matches in a row to start the dual — nine pins, two forfeits and a technical fall. The only Camel up to that point to last the full 6 minutes was Colt Welsh, who battled but lost a 6-1 decision at 120 pounds.
“Sturgis is always tough. They were tougher than hell on top with their aggressiveness,” CCHS coach Clay Rodgers said. “We took a good old-fashioned licking, so hopefully we can learn from it and take some things from it and keep building.”
When the 285-pound match arrived with the Camels trailing 74-0, Rankin still walked onto the match with confidence. Rodgers said that’s been an area of growth for Rankin this season.
The heavyweight match was over quickly, but it was an action-packed 41 seconds. Rankin made a takedown 10 seconds in before Sturgis’ Cody Nelson quickly made a reversal. Rankin never stopped moving, though. In a flash, he was back on top and had Nelson pinned to end the dual.
“It was big just to hustle through those scramble positions. Earlier in the year when his confidence wasn’t as good, he might’ve got scored on in some of those,” Rodgers said. “Technique-wise he’s improving, but just mentally he’s so much better. He’s so much more positive.”
The Camels will compete alongside the Bolts in Moorcroft on Friday and Saturday.