No one was surprised when the SPVA Dual Tournament came down to Maxwell against St. Pat’s.
The two teams have been the top two teams in the conference for several seasons and on Wednesday at McGahan Activities Center at St. Pat’s, the two rolled to 4-0 records heading into the fifth and final session.
The Irish rallied from an early deficit to defeat Maxwell 39-30 in the final dual of the event, securing the championship with the win.
Maxwell finished second, with Hershey third, Sutherland fourth, Chase County fifth and Perkins County sixth.
“It was a good win for us,” St. Pat’s head coach Kevin Wood said. “There are a lot of good wrestlers in the conference and we knew it would be a fun day.
“It’s always more fun when you win.”
The final dual started with two of the area’s best 132-pound wrestlers squaring off as Maxwell’s Ethan Lunkwitz battled Adam Pasquinelly of the Irish.
Lunkwitz got a pair of takedowns in the first period to build a 4-2 lead. He started the second period down and got an escape, takedown and three back points to build a 10-3 lead into the third period.
Despite getting hit with stalling twice in the third period, Lunkwitz held on to win 14-7 and give Maxwell a 3-0 lead. A pair of forfeits gave Maxwell a 15-0 lead before Jaylon Sturdivant of Maxwell pinned Matthew Ferguson at 152 pounds, giving the Wildcats a 21-0 edge.
St. Pat’s 160-pounder Joel Melton got the Irish on the board with a pin over Jacob Whisenhunt, cutting the Wildcats lead to 21-6.
Wins by Taylor McKeeman and Dylan Gage at 170 and 182 pounds built Maxwell’s edge to 30-6 before the Irish began their rally.
Henry Aufdenkamp defeated Maxwell’s Kameron Purdy 8-1 at 195 pounds to cut the lead to 30-9. At 220 pounds, Miguel Martinez of St. Pat’s was taken to his back by Maxwell’s Houston Crane, but was able to avoid the pin, reverse the position and pin Crane, cutting the lead to 30-15.
Bryan Shurigar of St. Pat’s continued the run with a pin over Charley Kesterson to make it 30-21. Maxwell forfeited at 106 pounds, shrinking the lead to 30-27.
At 113 pounds, Trey Dodson earned an 8-6 decision over Ryan McKeeman to tie the score at 30-30 with two matches left.
Nathan Chrisman of St. Pat’s gave the Irish their first lead of the dual with a 6-5 decision over Josh Meyers at 120 pounds. At 126 pounds, Kam Jordan of the Irish pinned Keenon Kincheloe to seal the 39-30 victory.
“I knew we were beat when we lost the coin flip to start the match,” said Maxwell coach Ryan Jones. “I knew he would get the matchups he wanted at 120, so we couldn’t juggle our lineup to get the matchups we wanted.”
Aufdenkamp, Melton and Miguel Martinez were all 5-0 on the day for St. Pat’s, who also got a win for departing senior Jacob Parker.
“Jacob’s a senior junior varsity wrestler who stayed with us all the way,” Wood said. “He went 1-0 on varsity.”
Maxwell’s Drew Riggs, Lunkwitz, Sturdivant and Gage all went unbeaten on the day.
Hershey finished third on the day, despite not wrestling as well as head coach Erik Sokol wanted.
“We’ve wrestled well all year,” the coach said. “Today, we just aren’t having a good day.
“I mean, we will get third, but I thought we’d give Maxwell and St. Pat’s a run at least. Maxwell’s got such a good program, that’s where we want to be.”
Sutherland’s big two of Chandler Tyan and Collin Fleecs at 120 and 126 pounds, each went unbeaten on the day for the Sailors, who finished 2-3 on the day.
Perkins County entered the tournament with just five wrestlers, but had two of the better wrestlers at 106 in Austin Thelander and 285 in Vinny Ross.
“We thought we’d have about a dozen guys out for wrestling,” said Perkins County coach Dean Friedel. “But we’ve had injuries and one guy moved away and now we have five.
“Vinny and Austin are having great seasons. Austin wrestles against our 120, 126 and 138 guys in practice and Vinny, well, I end up wrestling with a lot to get him practice work.”
Ross also collected the 100th win of his career at the event.
For most of the teams the SPVA was the final event prior to district tournaments a week from Saturday. Hershey will participate in the Southwest Invite on Saturday.