The tension had been building all night.
Leavenworth wrestling was putting the final touches on a 51-22 dual win over Topeka, but what everyone was eagerly waiting for the final match of the evening.
The last bout of the night pitted undefeated Pioneer star Nathan Butler versus undefeated Trojan star Will Geary, who hadn’t loss since his sophomore year.
“It was the most exciting match I might have ever seen,” Pioneers coach Jay Johnston said. “Two state champs, two nationally ranked wrestlers, two big-time college bound wrestlers going head-to-head was one of the coolest things I’ve ever watched.”
The 295-pound heavyweights saved the best for last and didn’t disappoint. In front of a roaring crowd, Butler trailed Geary 3-2 with just 30 seconds left in the third period.
With his undefeated season on the line, the Pioneer attacked his opponent with such savagery that it planted Geary on his back. From there, Butler rode out the final seconds to secure a 6-3 win.
“To witness something like that was truly special and I told our entire team that,” Johnston said. “Those were two of the best wrestlers to ever represent their high schools and it was a treat to watch.”
The win was the cherry on top of a decisive Leavenworth victory that saw several underclassmen step up. The Pioneer coach highlighted Nick Brown (106), Bennett Weyhrauch (120) and Jake Harrington (138) for their pin wins, as well as Isaiah Myers, who lost a close match at 126.
Kenneth Sculley at 195 won by pin also, as did Josh Ammel, who’s victory brought a smile to his coach’s face.
“Josh Ammel has been hurt since last year and this was his first match back,” Johnston said. “For the amount of hard work he put in, I’m so proud of his perseverance.”
Leavenworth will compete in the Newton Tournament beginning at 3 p.m. Friday.