Narrow sweep for Hays High wrestling
By KLINT SPILLER
Small wrestling schools can pack large punches.
Hays High School found that out Thursday in its double dual at the HHS gym.
The Indians won both duals, but Hays High had to pull off an epic comeback in order to win via tiebreaker against Plainville.
Hays High (10-5) defeated Pratt 51-22 and Plainville 40-39.
"A lot of the small schools out here in western Kansas can put a hurt on some of these bigger schools," said Hays High head coach John Hafliger.
Hays High trailed the Cardinals 39-15 with four matches to go and needed to pin the rest of its opponents just to tie.
"I'm looking at the score and thinking we are going to have to pin out just to tie," Hafliger said. "I'm calculating in my head, and that's tough to do, especially against a good team."
With some of their best weight classes to go, the Indians did just that, getting 24 points from their next four matches.
Hays High got a forfeit at 195 pounds and 170-pound senior Kyler Meyers, ranked No. 4 in Class 5A; 182-pound sophomore Ethan Deterding, ranked No. 6; and 220-pound junior Preston Weigel, ranked No. 1; pinned their opponents.
"We have been in that position before," Meyers said. "We were pretty confident. We have young guys at the bottom, so our seniors and leaders at the top have to take over when we are down."
Then the match was decided via tiebreaker, and it took the eighth tiebreaker to do it, which went to the team with the most first points scored.
"I knew coming in they had a good team," Hafliger said. "Basically, if we had one slip up, it could very well end up in us losing it. We had that slip up, and flat out, we got lucky on the criteria."
Plainville dropped to 1-3 in duals this season, but head coach Corey Dobson said he's confident in his squad.
"It is (an achievement tying Hays)," Dobson said. "Coach Hafliger has done a nice job with his program and really turned it around. You know, back in the day, it seems like we handled them easier, but now for us to hang with a big 5A school and the power of Hays, it means a lot to me. The boys should be happy. They should be proud."
The dual was swung twice in each team's favor at the 138- and 285-pound weight classes.
Hays High junior Vincent Scott upset senior Bradey Chard (4-1), who was ranked No. 2 at 285 pounds in Class 3-2-1A, with a 13-9 decision.
"Vincent is just getting better and better and better," Hafliger said. "I kind of call him my quiet assassin. He's not real flashy and kind of quiet, but he goes out and takes care of business."
Then at 138 pounds, Hays High senior Cade Albert got caught in a headlock against senior Tristan Houser (4-7) and was pinned, despite leading the match 7-0 in the third period.
"We have to know where we are in the match," Hafliger said. "... I don't want us to wrestle differently when we are ahead versus behind, but we have to be smart all the time. We can't put ourselves in bad position. It takes two seconds to win. It takes two seconds to lose."
The match was the closest of the double dual, as Pratt also fell to Plainville, 40-27.
Five Hays High wrestlers produced victories in both duals. Freshman Ross Hatton won two matches via forfeit at 113 pounds. Meyers and Deterding pinned both of their opponents, and Weigel won with a pin and technical fall. Scott won with a forfeit and decision against Chard.
Plainville also had five wrestlers pick up wins.
Sophomore Trevor Houser (8-2), 120 pounds, won with a pin and a forfeit, 126-pound senior Trevor Axelson (10-1) got a major decision and a pin, 132-pound junior Adam Gehring (8-6) earned a decision and pin, 145-pound junior Trevor Desaire (8-3) won via forfeit and decision and 160-pound junior Dylan Wiesner (9-2) won with a pair of pins.
"These kids have been battling every day," Dobson said. "Hopefully, good things are yet to come."