Mitchell overcomes 24-point
deficit with late pin victories
to post 36-33 win over BNL
By Justin Sokeland
Growing up, everyone has been involved in a race where the stronger, faster athlete granted a head start to the disadvantaged. That’s especially true in the big brother-little brother dynamic. Give him a lead and beat him anyway.
That is exactly what happened on the wrestling mat on Thursday night – except Mitchell, the smaller school in the uneasy county rivalry with Bedford North Lawrence, played the role of big brother and still beat the Stars to the finish line.
Mitchell granted BNL a 24-0 lead because of forfeits, then dominated all but two contested matches to overtake the Stars 36-33. The Bluejackets posted five pins, including the final two matches, to power their way to their second straight win in the series. So who is big brother now?
The Bluejackets actually failed to fill five of the 14 weight classes, although one was cancelled because BNL doesn’t have anyone at 126 pounds either. Some nights, Mitchell surrenders even more points than the 24 it gave to BNL without a fight. However, the Stars didn’t put up much of a fight with the lead.
“That’s a lot to overcome in wrestling,” Mitchell coach Steve Grissom said. “Coming out of here with a win is impressive for us.
“When these kids show up, they can wrestle. They showed up tonight. County rivalries are always fun. It doesn’t matter how good the teams are, the best of both kids come out because they want to win. We just wanted to be here.”
BNL’s two wins were recorded by seniors. Caleb Higgins held on by his fingernails in the final period to edge Tyler Kirk 10-9 at 160 pounds. Higgins had a 10-5 lead going into the last two minutes but got flipped twice as Kirk charged back.
Dakota Hutchens didn’t create such drama at 182. He pinned Ethan Humphrey at the first-period buzzer. His victory gave the Stars a 33-21 lead with three matches remaining, and Grissom was busy doing the match math in his head.
The Jackets flexed some muscle in the heavier divisions. Greg Brown, undefeated at 195, took down Neil Amstutz 7-2 and gave Amstutz quite a nasty bump under his right eye during the battle. The momentum swung on the next match when Mitchell’s Delaney Wade erased Jon Godsey’s 4-2 lead with a pin at the 5:00 mark.
That meant the outcome came down to the 285-pound finale. And with Mitchell’s Caelan England, a semistate qualifier last year and unbeaten this season, in the anchor spot, the Jackets were in good hands. England trapped BNL’s Gage Crane in 50 seconds.
“You hate to see it come down to that last match,” Grissom said. “But if I had to put my faith in somebody, it would be on my heavyweight.”
“At last one team showed up to wrestle,” BNL coach Roy Bruce said. “We were out there wrestling scared and were afraid to lose.”
BNL will return to action on Saturday at Providence.
MITCHELL 36, BNL 33
106 – Braden Yarberry, BNL win by forfeit
113 – Jacob Ray, BNL win by forfeit
126 – Jaren Abel, BNL win by forfeit
126 – Double forfeit
132 – Joey Taflinger, M p. Jackson Ikerd 2:34
138 – Koby Werner, BNL win by forfeit
145 – Ethan Bohnenkamp, M d. Marty Denesha 9-5
152 – Austin Kirk, M p. Isaac Johnson 0:09
160 – Caleb Higgins, BNL d. Tyler Kirk 10-9
170 – Trey Slone, M p. Cooper Smith 0:47
182 – Dakota Hutchens, BNL p. Ethan Humphrey 2:00
195 – Greg Brown, M d. Neil Amstutz 7-2
220 – Delaney Wade, M p. Jon Godsey 5:00
285 – Caelan England, M p. Gage Crane 0:50