“Coming out and wrestling Labette after the break is tough,” said Trapper head coach Jim Zeigler. “They're one of the best teams in the country and they made some adjustments to their lineup over the holiday that made them even …
Team falls in showdown with No. 4 LabetteThe fifth-ranked Northwest College Trapper wrestling team captured two out of three duals last weekend during a Kansas road trip. The Trappers scored wins of 29-18 over Neosho County and 24-21 over No. 15 Pratt, but came out on the short side of a 28-15 dual at No. 4 Labette to begin the week. A planned meeting with No. 2 St. Louis-Meramec failed to materialize after a winter blizzard shut down roads across Missouri, preventing the school from participating in the duals.
“Coming out and wrestling Labette after the break is tough,” said Trapper head coach Jim Zeigler. “They're one of the best teams in the country and they made some adjustments to their lineup over the holiday that made them even tougher.”
To make matters worse, the Trappers found themselves off to a disastrous start in the competition as Labette captured the first match with a 14-second pin.
“We drew for which weight would start the dual, and out of the 10 weights in the bag, they drew the one that I'm sure they wanted,” Zeigler said. “Their kid at 157 is ranked second in the country. He comes out against Briston (Brenton). They tie up and he puts a headlock on Briston and he's out before they hit the mat. He literally passed out.”
Zach Oppenheimer, on the mend from a fall semester surgery, was also a victim by fall in the Trappers' next match. Northwest also dropped the next two matches by decision.
“Wrestling duals are all about momentum,” said Zeigler. “Just like volleyball or basketball runs, the kids feed on each other in wrestling. You want to get something positive going for the next guy to build on and to give your team momentum.”
Instead, the Trappers found themselves down 18-0 on the scoreboard before Mak Jones cracked the scoreboard for NWC with a 3-2 victory. Landon Harris followed with a win by fall at heavyweight before the dual cycled down to finish at the lower weights.
Jesse Hillhouse and McCade Ford were each decision winners for the Trappers. Jake Budd lost by fall at 133 while Bobby Robins found himself on the short side of a major decision.
"We won four of the 10 matches, so it really isn't something that I was upset about,” Zeigler said of the loss. “The problem was the margin of their victories. They were getting pins when they won. I feel like when we get our lineup right, we can compete with them.”
The Trappers will face Labette again next month at the regional tournament, although that event won't feature a dual format.
“We're a better tournament team than we are a dual team,” said Zeigler. “The matches we won, those are guys that probably will be No. 1 seeds on the regional bracket.”
After an off day, the Trappers quickly made amends for the loss to Labette. The team overpowered Neosho in a dual where the Trappers even surrendered a win by forfeit at 184 pounds.
“Mak Jones' shoulder was a little sore, so we held him out and wrestled Jarrett Baker up at 197,” said Zeigler. “We were sneaky about it and waited until their guy was on the mat at 184 to announce we were taking a forfeit and then Jarrett went out and pinned their guy at 197 who thought he didn't have a match. It worked out great because it compensated for the forfeit, and we were able to win the dual on the other eight weights.”
Budd and Saul Guerrero each won by fall for the Trappers. Petersen and Harris added major-decision victories while Robins was a 10-8 decision winner.
Against Pratt, Hillhouse and Harris each won by fall. Brenton and Petersen were both winners by decision while Budd took a win by forfeit at 133 pounds.
“We came out a little flat against Pratt and I'm not sure why,” said Zeigler. “I don't know if maybe it was fatigue from a long weekend or what, but we were able to pull out the win despite wrestling a bit sluggish.”
The Trappers resume action tonight (Thursday) at Western Wyoming. The team scored a 31-12 victory when the two schools met in Powell on Dec. 2.