Lansing ends 2-year drought, beat Pioneers
That sound had so many layers Thursday night on the gym floor at Leavenworth High School as the host Pioneers played host to rivals Lansing on the wrestling mat seeking redemption for two years of losses to their hosts.
Boom went the Lions that broke out to a 30-6 lead, boom went the Lansing freshmen - six all told out of a lineup of 14 - who either won, battled well in defeat and either way, left a mark.
Boom went the Leavenworth late rally that was squashed by Lansing junior Braiden McKee who registered an emphatic first-round pin to clinch a 42-33 Lions' win and bring the The Battle of Eisenhower Trophy back to the south side of that well-known thoroughfare.
The teams split two forfeits and six matches were won apiece from the battles on the mat.
"It's awesome and a lot of people talk about rivalries and say you shouldn't make a big deal out of these things, but it is a big deal and it's a big deal for the kids, our parents and school spirit," Lansing head coach Nick Flynn said. "We didn't get overworked or anything and we prepared the same way, but it definitely feels good to be bringing home that trophy, especially after losing it the last two years.
"It was truly a team win at its finest. Where we won, we won big, and three matches that was lost, we kept close."
Lansing earned six points via forfeit at 106 pounds and Tucker Bieber earned a pin at 2:50, and LVHS scored six points on a forfeit win itself and the Lions led 12-6.
Freshmen Lane Gates (39 seconds) and Jack Knutson (4:09) scored back-to-back wins for Lansing and sage veteran, junior, Joseph Irwin earned six more Lion points at 1:54 via fall and his squad led 30-6.
Then the LVHS rally began.
Dylan McClain won the first of two slobberknickers on the evening, rallying late for an exhilarating 6-3 win over Claye Howard at 145 pounds, Joey Hancock rolled to a pin at :49 of 152 pounds and fellow Pioneer Kodi Garrison (160 pounds) held off Lansing freshman Dylan Ward, 9-8 with a late escape in the final ten seconds of combat.
"Last time Claye wrestled (McLain) he beat him 9-4, but maybe caught him off guard, so we knew he'd be preparing for us," Flynn said. "Dylan Ward, a freshman stepping up and wrestling a senior and you have to get excited about that. It was a 1-point match and he had him on the ropes, the whole match. Big props to Lane and Jack, two freshmen coming out and getting falls for us. Great for them. I am excited about it."
Lansing saw its lead shrink to 30-21 on a 10-3 win by Pioneer Julien Bell at 170 pounds.
"They came in and punched us in the face right off the bat," LVHS head coach Jacob Beck said. "They wrestled tough and we have four weeks to get better. They came in and were a little bit better prepared to wrestle better and that's my fault. When we were attacking we were successful and when we weren't we were backing up and got wrapped up. They are very well coached, it's a rivalry match and these things happen. This isn't the state tournament so we have time to get better.
"Dylan and Kodi gutted matches out. It was 145 before we started being competitive and that's way too late to start being competitive. We looked at a lot of these matches being swing matches, but the problem was they all swung, for the most part, the other way. They are young, they are going to be good."
Lion sophomore Tyler Green stemmed the tide with a pin at 3:55 at 182 pounds, but Pioneer Tyler Robinson responded with a pin of his own in the 195-pound match at 1:34.
Then LVHS senior Etena Tuivaiti recorded another pin at 4:50 and the 220-pound grappler set the stage for the finale with Lansing clinging to a 36-33 lead.
That's where the powerhouse McKee wrapped the prized trophy up for a trip back to Lansing with a thunderous, heavyweight pin at :52.
"It's amazing and it was a team effort, we all wrestled hard," McKee said. "It's amazing watching (the freshmen) grow. It's their will to win and they go out there trying to do their best every, single, time. They are very humble and let us teach them.
"We have been doing a lot of the right things."