INDEPENDENCE — You might want to ask West Delaware assistant wrestling coach Kris Lenz his selections for the next Powerball. He seems to have a good vision of what’s to come.
Lenz, in his 25th year coaching at West Delaware, stated the higher ranked team doesn’t always win before the latest dual between rivals Independence and West Delaware. Lenz was right on.
The 12th-ranked Hawks scored three falls, propelling them to a 35-31 upset of No. 4 Independence last night in front of a packed gymnasium at Independence High School.
“That was fun,” West Delaware head coach Jeff Voss said. “It was just a great wrestling atmosphere.”
The two Wamac conference powers split seven matches in front of a charged atmosphere. The Hawks tallied bonus points in all but one of its wins, including two technical falls and a major decision.
The Hawks’ fans celebrated one final time when Sam Lahrlocked up the dual victory with a 4-0 win at 171 over Mike Reiff at 171. Lahr used a pair of penalty points and a second-period reversal to seal it for West Delaware (7-2, 2-0).
Lahr’s adrenaline was pumping before he took the mat. He said getting a lead early was key.
“I had to make sure I kept myself calm and ready for my match,” Lahr said. “Knowing I had to get one win to get win for the team just fired me up that much more.”
Lahr was in that position thanks to important wins from his teammates. Heavyweight Chet Winch, P.C. McEnany (125) and 152-pounder Chris Ketchum all won by fall. Pins were a point of emphasis.
“I went out there with the right mindset and got it done,” said Ketchum, adding, “(Voss) said it about 10 times we need bonus points that’s probably going to be the main factor in winning the dual this year.”
Voss called Winch’s pin “big” in a swing match. Jerad Hoefer (119) and Zach Muller (130) added a technical falls and Brett Yonkovic, ranked seventh, scored a major decision at 145 in a dual where each ranked wrestler won.
“Our kids took advantage of the opportunity they had tonight,” Voss said. “It’s a great steppingstone for our kids. As young as we are, to experience a night like this, it’s going to take them a long ways this year and in the future.”
Independence (6-1, 2-1) led once, 7-6, after Caleb Studebaker’s decision at 112. Daniel Ryan’s fall pulled the Mustangs withing four at 22-18, but that was the closest they’d come until the end.
The Mustangs, who were missing two starters, received a technical fall from fourth-ranked 189-pounder and major decisions from Austin Evens and Cam Savage, both ranked third, at 103 and 160, respectively, and No. 2 Ryan Fank at 215.
“They did a good job from keeping us from getting bonus points,” Independence Coach Michael Doyle said, “but we need to find more ways to be more aggressive and attack.
“I hope my guys learn from this situation and try to improve,” Doyle said. “That’s the main thing.”