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Wrestling: Dixon turns tide midway through dual, seizes momentum to top rival Sterling

DIXON – Trailing 4-2 in the final minute of his heavyweight bout Tuesday night, Dixon’s Shaun DeVries knew his back was against the wall.

Sterling’s Javier Luna led their match and was trying to ride out DeVries to increase the team lead for Sterling. But DeVries escaped to get within 4-3, then took down Luna with six seconds remaining for a 5-4 victory.

That gave Dixon the lead in the dual, and was the first of four straight bout wins as the Dukes won six of the final seven matches to top the rival Golden Warriors 50-22 at The Pit.

DeVries was the master of suspense, trailing 2-1 heading into the third period after he and Luna were scoreless in the first. DeVries then escaped in the first 30 seconds of the third period to tie the score.

Luna regained the lead with a takedown with 1:06 remaining, forcing DeVries to make something happen in a hurry. He escaped with 39 seconds left to set up a down-to-the-wire finish as the noise from fans and members of both teams reached a crescendo.

“I knew that he was up by one because he did a sweep and got behind me for two points, and then once I got out of there, I knew that all I had to do was keep shooting and just stay active the whole time,” DeVries said. “I haven’t been very good this season at just staying active during matches and being on top of people and then wearing them out. Javier has very good conditioning, so it was very hard to wear him out, and he also has very good positioning, so I couldn’t get the lift going.

“I just kept trying to jack him up, and it just wasn’t working. That was my game plan coming in, so I was thinking, ‘Oh crap, what do I do now?’”

The answer was to keep attacking, and when DeVries saw his opportunity late, he pounced on it.

“Knowing that I was down and knowing that what I wanted to do wasn’t working, and I probably wasn’t going to get a hip-toss or anything, I was just trying to shoot in,” DeVries said. “Then he came up and I grabbed his leg, and he lost his balance and that’s how I got the winning points.”

Dixon’s Steven Kitzman (left) and Sterling’s Gase Tate wrestle at 170 pounds Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. Kitzman won by pin.

Dixon’s Steven Kitzman (left) and Sterling’s Gage Tate wrestle at 170 pounds Tuesday night at The Pit. Kitzman won by pin. (Alex T. Paschal —

A few bouts later, it was Sterling coming out on the winning end of a nip-and-tuck finish.

Karson Strohmayer led James Simpson 4-2 after the first period of their 126-pound bout, but Simpson bounced back to take a 5-4 lead going into the final period.

Strohmayer got an escape and takedown for a 7-5 lead, then Simpson escaped to get within 7-6. Another Strohmayer takedown made it 9-6, and late Simpson reversal wasn’t enough as Strohmayer held on for a 9-8 win.

“I wasn’t going in there expecting him to do any rolls or anything, and it really caught me off-guard. But when we stood up to neutral I saw him just standing there, so I just took a shot on his legs and took him down,” Strohmayer said. “It felt awesome to win, especially in this arena that they have here; oh man, it’s so nice. It’s so loud, it’s a really good place to wrestle. I love it.”

But that was the Warriors’ lone bout win on the final seven matches, as Dixon seized the momentum after DeVries’ last-second comeback.

Jacob Renkes followed DeVries with another exciting win for Dixon, as he pinned Sterling’s Cael Lyons in 4:38 at 106 pounds. Renkes recorded two takedowns and Lyons had an escape and a reversal in an action-packed first period, then Lyons got a pair of escapes and a takedown at the second-period buzzer to take a 7-6 lead going into the third.

But Renkes took the down position and went to work, taking the lead with a reversal with 1:35 left, then finishing off the pin 13 seconds later.

“I just wanted to get six points, so I was looking for the pin. I didn’t really care how long it took; it would’ve been nice to get it in the first period, but I ended up getting it later on,” Renkes said. “I just wanted to get it done with, I wanted to get the points.”

Sterling’s Tatum Allen (right) works against Dixon’s Konnor Koehler at 152 poundsTuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. Allen won by major decision.

Sterling’s Tatum Allen (right) works against Dixon’s Konnor Koehler at 152 pounds Tuesday night in Dixon. Allen won by major decision. (Alex T. Paschal —

Ayden Rowley pinned Madison Wickham in 1:03 at 113 pounds, and Gavin Kramer won a 15-0 technical fall over Skyann Munz in 3:11 at 120 for a 38-19 Dixon lead.

After Strohmayer stopped the Dukes’ run, Jayden Weidman turned around his 132-pound match in the third period and pinned Landon Kenney in 4:42. Weidman led 6-2 after the first period and 8-5 after the second, but Kenney got Weidman on his back early in the third.

In danger of being pinned, Weidman scored a reversal and got Kenney on his back, and then finished off the pin.

“He kind of had me in a weird position to where his body weight was on the opposite side, so I put my arm underneath him and I lifted him over me to get him in that position for the pin,” Weidman said. “Basically, I was thinking I didn’t want to get pinned and give up points, and I wanted to help my record. When it gets to that point, I just don’t think, I just do. It’s all reaction, it’s all mental.”

Cade Hey closed the dual with a pin of Dylan Ottens in 3:12 at 138 pounds.

Dixon’s Austin Hey (left) and Sterling’s Austin Clemens go head to head at 145 pounds Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. Hey won by pin.

Dixon’s Austin Hey (left) and Sterling’s Austin Clemens go head-to-head at 145 pounds to open Tuesday night’s dual at The Pit. Hey won by pin. (Alex T. Paschal —

Dixon’s Austin Hey started things off at 145 pounds with a pin of Austin Clemens in 2:52, then Sterling’s Tatum Allen won a 9-0 major decision over Konnor Koehler at 152 before Tommy Tate pinned Jayce Kastner in 3:28 at 160 to give Sterling a 10-6 lead.

“Normally, I’m pretty fast-paced and I get sloppy sometimes, so I just kind of slowed things down, took my time so I didn’t make any mistakes, and make it a good match and help my team get a lead,” Tate said.

Steven Kitzman gave the Dukes the lead again with a pin of Gage Tate in 3:32 at 170 pounds, then Owen Brooks pinned Chase Ullrich in 4:36 at 182 pounds to stretch Dixon’s lead to 18-10.

Sterling’s Diego Leal scored four takedowns in an 8-2 win over Ethan Mick at 195 pounds, then Oswaldo Navarro pinned Alex Reubin in 1:42 to put Sterling on top 19-18, setting the scene for the DeVries-Luna showdown.

“My first thought was to get a win, get a pin, but I was going for points after I didn’t get him pinned right away,” Navarro said. “I wanted to be aggressive, to attack.”

Both the Dukes and the Warriors posted wins over Freeport before their dual. Sterling started the triangular with a 69-11 win, then Dixon notched a 72-6 victory over the Pretzels.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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