Nevada Daily Mail
"I was really worried coming into this dual, I really was. You know, Adrian is a tough team." As it turns out, Nevada Tigers head wrestling coach Devin White had nothing to worry about after all, as his squad brought home its first dual win of the season against the Blackhawks of Adrian High School Tuesday night.
"It feels great. You know, it's a great feeling to get a big win out of the way," White said. "Now, we can sit back, relax a little bit, focus on what we need to and take care of business."
Taking care of business is exactly what the Tigers did Tuesday night as they won eight of the 10 bouts that were contested on the night. Despite spotting the Blackhawks 18 points, that resulted in the Tigers taking a 50-34 victory.
"Anytime you can put 50 on somebody, it's a pretty good feeling," White said.
Not only did the Tigers come out ready to perform and win nearly every bout that was contested, they won nearly all of them in dominant fashion. With six pins and a technical fall, the Tigers made the night look easy.
Dayton Miller entered his bout at 113 pounds at what appeared on paper to be a significant disadvantage since he moved up from his regular weight of 106 to take on Adrian's Jeremy Dryden. The difference in size between the two competitors didn't seem to matter much, however, as Miller secured the victory by pin in 1 minute, 54 seconds.
"Big pin for him," White said of the freshman's performance. "We bumped him up to get a match and he came out big for us."
Normally, Miller wouldn't have even faced Dryden at all, but White made the call to bump him up one weight class since Nevada was open at 113 and Adrian was open at 106.
At 120 pounds, Slade Stiles did what he has been doing all season and made his victory look easy. Stiles dragged and tossed Adrian's Dakota Jones around the mat nearly at will, ultimately beating him by a 16-0 technical fall.
"Slade Stiles impressed me, as always, controlling the match, dictating what's going on," White said.
Daxtyn Osburn kept the momentum going for the Tigers in his 138-pound bout against Ryan Baker. With another almost effortless-looking performance, Osburn earned the victory in that match by pin in just 53 seconds.
At 145, Dalton Shunkwiler needed a little bit more time to do it, but ultimately had the same results against Adrian's Jean Morales. Shunkwiler ultimately secured the Tigers' third pin of the night in 1:03.
Connor West was severely outclassed at 160 in a 13-2 major decision loss, but he was able to fight off nearly all of Austin Williams' attempts to turn him over and secure a pin. "Connor West impressed me big time tonight," White said of the freshman. "You know, he had a tough match with that Williams kid from Adrian. He's a legit kid. He's strong technically sound, a very good kid."
Josh McDowell got the Tigers back on track in the very next bout at 170, pinning Joe Day 1:42 into the second period, while Scott Swink earned his pin over Frank Furgette at the 48-second mark of the third period.
Colby Smith rounded out the pins for the Tigers as he took the mat at 220 against Bryce McMillan and earned the victory by pin 29 seconds into the second period.
"Several of these kids are in tight matches and to see them finish the way they did, that's what's impressive to me," White said, noting that the Tigers came into the night knowing they needed as many pins as they could get to overcome open weight classes. "They didn't quit, they fought through with intensity and they were determined to get the pin."
At heavyweight, the Tigers got a welcome boost with the return of Sam Ellifrits. Until Saturday, when he returned to action for the Carl Junction tournament, Ellifrits had been off the mats since his trip to the state tournament after his sophomore season and he made good on his return, taking third place.
The rust that Ellifrits was expected to have didn't seem to be much of a factor as he openly admitted to being out of shape, but still stayed even with Adrian's Christian Graham through all three periods of their bout. Ellifrits ultimately used his superior technique to hold Graham at bay and took the victory by a final score of 2-1.
"He did the right thing," White said of the senior. "He wrestled smart."
With their victory, the Tigers improved to 1-2 in dual competition on the season. Next on the schedule for White's squad is what he called the toughest tournament the Tigers will participate in all season, the Harrisonville Holiday Invitational.
As of Tuesday, the tournament was scheduled to feature 25 teams from Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. This year's tournament is scheduled for Dec. 14 and 15.