(Neb.)- Eagles Fall Despite Team Effort
CHADRON, Neb. -- Chadron State College wrestlers won five of nine matches Thursday evening, hosting Colorado School of Mines, yet they were unable to overcome a six-point deficit awaiting at 197 pounds, as the Orediggers picked up the winning points to take a 20-16 victory.
"Obviously, as a coach, you want to win every one," said coach Brett Hunter, "but the guys fought hard tonight, and gave great effort, and that's what you want to see. Giving up the six points was hard."
Starting at heavyweight, CSC began with a win, and also ended with one at 184 pounds, picking up four decisions and a major along the way. However the team was unable to put together enough bonus points to build a large enough margin before 197.
Heavyweight Rulon Taylor handed Mines' Weston Hunt his third loss of the season and the first to an NCAA Division II opponent, winning by a score of 8-3, but looking dominant from start to finish.
CSC's Marcus Hutcherson, getting his first start at 125 as a true freshman, then went toe-to-toe with senior Zachary Gracia, dropping an 8-6 decision only after a late takedown. The Orediggers tied the match at three points apiece.
The Eagles won three in a row from 141 to 157. First, Brock Thumm dispatched the winner of last weekend's Hastings Open, Taylor Gambill, with a 3-1 decision. Next, Chase Clasen dominated the first period and hit a reversal late in the third to preserve an 8-5 win at 149. Finally, Jacob Otuafi, piled up nearfall points and riding time against Mines' senior 157-pounder Ethan Ruby, to get the Eagles' only bonus point with a 13-3 major decision. CSC then had a 13-6 lead.
With a loss at 165, the window for team scoring was quickly closing for Chadron State. At 174, CSC's Heber Shepherd fought through one sudden victory period, nearly scoring a takedown in the final seconds, and two tiebreakers periods, before giving up a takedown in the second sudden victory. His opponent, TJ Shelton, had lost only once this season.
With a one-point deficit in team points, Devin Stork ended the match on a high note for the Eagles at 184. His opponent, Connor Ventura, had dealt him a 13-4 major decision in his first match of the season. The much-improved Stork fought back from a 7-6 third-period deficit to put the Eagles back on top one more time, before the open weight class decided the match.
Chadron State travels to Nebraska-Kearney on Friday, where they will have three duals on Saturday against Northern State, Newman, and Fort Hays State. The three consecutive duals begin at 8 a.m. MT, or 9 a.m. Kearney time.
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