A wrestling match between University and Central Valley for a piece, at least, of the Greater Spokane League championship could not be settled on the mat. So a winner was determined by the rule book.
The Titans and Bears were knotted 28-28 after 14 grueling contests Wednesday, played out before a deafening capacity crowd on “Battle of the Bone” night at CV.
U-Hi (9-0 entering tonight’s season finale against East Valley) was determined the victor by criteria by virtue of its eight victories to CV’s six.
“We were checking the rule book with four matches left,” said Titans assistant coach Dave Orndorff amid the bedlam of the outcome. “We knew then it was coming to this.”
Victory came in no small part to the match at 171 pounds and Dustin Johnson’s improbable 4-3 triple-overtime win. His opponent, Cody Stratton had carried a 3-1 lead into the final period, but would be haunted by a first-period stall warning and match-tying penalty point with 2 seconds remaining in the contest.
“It’s too bad it came down to that,” said Bears coach Rick Giampietri. “I felt Cody outwrestled him at 171. Every kid wrestled hard and we had three pins to their one. I felt it was going to be the difference.”
It appeared that it might be anyway after Central Valley (8-2) won the opening test, at 112 pounds, between two of the league’s best. In a rematch of their third- and fourth-place state contest a year ago, Jarod Maynes took advantage of a mistake by Tyler Clark for a takedown with 38 seconds remaining and 3-1 victory.
Then CV got the better of things in the coaching chess match between 130 and 145 pounds – sweetened by a couple of pins from Trevor Delmedico and Tyler Simmet, and a major decision – to stake the Bears to a 19-9 lead.
But then the came into U-Hi’s strongest weights and the visitors caught up in three matches, then took the lead when Johnson escaped with 30 seconds left in regulation and was awarded the penalty point. He earned an escape in the second overtime and held on in the third.
“When I looked up at the score and saw I was down two points, I knew I had to get it done,” the sophomore said. “I could lose and we lose the GSL or win and we win it.”
But CV was not done. Andy Wickstrom, normally a 160-pounder, was bumped up to 189 where he took on league unbeaten 171-pound sophomore Jacob Fry. Wickstrom’s takedown with 13 seconds left for a 4-1 decision tied things again at 22-22.
Titans sophomore Brandon Matlock defeated freshman GSL unbeaten Logan Ames, by a 6-0 score, to knot things at 103, the night’s final match.
U-Hi coach Don Owen said he’d never been in a match like this, although Giampietri recalled there were three years when he first arrived at CV in 1980s that each school won by a point and they tied.
Owen said he felt coming in that it would take eight match victories to prevail. He turned out he was right, although seldom does wrestling come down to a tiebreaker.
“We’ve got to celebrate tonight,” he said. That’s because the Knights (7-2) come to their place today.
In other GSL matches: EV won the final three matches at home to pull away from North Central (3-6) 49-27, Adam Szemer, Sean Biltoft and Aaron Brown the victors. In a match between state placers, NC’s Nathan Brown pinned Keith Babington with 30 seconds remaining at 119. … Host Lewis and Clark (2-6) won the final four matches, scoring 23 points for a 51-27 win over Gonzaga Prep. Jesse Halley, Curtis Veium and Joey Via won by pin, Peter Van Voorhis by technical fall. … Mead (7-1) remained in the hunt for a share of the GSL title by winning 13 of 14 matches for a 62-6 victory at home over Rogers (0-9). … Mt. Spokane (5-4) beat visiting Shadle Park (3-6) 38-26 winning six straight, four by seniors, from 152 through 285 pounds. In the night’s second contest, Wyatt Maguire’s overtime takedown prevailed at 119.
Great Northern League: Cheney (3-3) won all but three matches during a 60-15 win at West Valley (1-6). Brandon Mosely and Hovick Melkonyan were tied 1-1 at 285 pounds when Cheney’s Mosely pinned midway through the final period.
Inland Empire League: Coeur d’Alene won the final eight matches for a 43-18 win at Post Falls. State champion Braden Mowry won a major decision at 125 and Chad Booth and Kyle Siegworth took turns scoring, the Trojans’ Booth breaking a 4-4 tie to win 6-4 at 112.