Dane Edwards, Santiago Garcia and Connor Kinkelaar all closed out their home careers with the Dodge City High Schoool wrestling team with victories to lead the Red Demons Thursday night to a 47-28 dual win over defending state champion Scott City.
Each of the three seniors who won used different ways to create their magic moment at the DCHS Fieldhouse.
Edwards, who is the top-ranked Class 6A wrestler at 138 pounds, made short work of his opponent with a win by pin at 1:22. The senior captain is now 27-2 on the season and set the tone before the match by encouraging his teammates to do their best in their final home action of the season.
"I was very excited about tonight," Edwards said. "It was my last home dual and I wanted to go out with a bang. Definitely, losing is something I didn't want to do. Before the dual even started, I was with the wrestling team and I told them for us to go out with a bang and win our home dual big. Scott City is returning state champions as a team and we wanted to beat them."
Garcia took a little longer in dominating his opponent in the 152-pound match, winning by a 17-2 technical fall. Garcia (13-16) hasn't had the season he would have liked, but he feels Thursday night's victory will help give him confidence for the later matches.
"I plan on finishing this season with a good note," Garcia said. "I feel great and I'm glad I won. I wanted to remember that I won my last match at home. This is going to get me pumped up for regionals and I'm excited for it. I feel I'm ready for it this time around and I'm ready to go to state."
Kinkelaar (9-18) was kind of the surprise victor at 195 by recording a reversal and a near fall in the last 10 seconds to win his match 8-4 when it looked like that battle would go into overtime.
"I just had seen that he was up high and he was tired, so I got him to flop on his back and just held him there. I didn't know how much time was left," Kinkelaar said. "I just knew I had to do something. I'm just glad I won my last home match in my high school career. It was unique because there were opens at 220 and 285, so I was the last person to wrestle at home this year. All the team was counting on me to win and I'm glad I didn't let anybody down."
The Red Demons (9-3 in duals) started strong by winning the first four matches with Clay Weil's 9-1 major decision victory over the Beavers' James Jurgens setting the tone. Weil (32-7), ranked third in Class 6A, never let up against Jurgens (ranked fifth in Class 3-2-1A). Jaden McRoberts (31-10) pinned his opponent in 48 seconds at 113; Howard Johnson (16-11) won by a 17-2 technical fall at 106; and Jaquan Graves (15-12) won by forfeit at 120.
Page 2 of 2 - Wyatt Knopp scored the first team points for the Beavers (8-6) with a pin in the 132-pound match before Edwards and Jhett Ostrom (16-16) recorded first round pins and Garcia scored his technical fall victory.
The final points for the Red Demons came from Cristian Torres' forfeit victory at 220 pounds.
Scott City also got wins from Warren Kropp at 160 (17-1 technical fall), Raleigh Wishon at 171 (pin at 3:06) and Cooper Griffin at 182 (19-3 technical fall). Michael McEarchen won by forfeit for the Beavers at 285 pounds.
The Demons have one more dual before the Class 6A regionals at Hutchinson with a Western Athletic Conference dual next Thursday at Liberal. DCHS head coach Lars Lueders said the team is already working on getting ready for the regionals despite the lay-off.
"To come out and handle and win decisively over (Scott City) was big for us," Lueders said. "I feel a lot of our guys have improved on their technique that we have worked on throughout the week. What we have been doing is that we started our championship schedule on Monday. We have our varsity guys in there for the majority of practice and our non-varsity guys going in there and rotate on them.
"We're basically putting them in the grind and making them mentally tougher and shape up a little bit. We back off just before regionals and that seems to peak our kids as they are ready for the postseason competition."