Bears outduel the Wildcats

Millard West and Blair battle on Senior Night

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Photo by Tenley Wright

Senior Aiden Schollmeyer sizing up senior Shay Bailey from Blair. Schollmeyer won the match with a quick pin in the first period. “I think we’ve had a good season but we could have worked harder and pushed each other more in order to secure our spots at state,” Schollmeyer said. “I’ve just been practicing harder and teaching the younger guys new moves and pushing them as much as I can so my legacy at west will be with the next generation.”

Jonathan Willis, Striv Executive Producer

The varsity wrestling team had a dual against the Blair Bears on February 28 in a back and forth match. This was the Wildcats’ sixth dual of the year, and as the regular season is nearing a close, they were looking to get a big win against a solid Blair team. 

The Wildcats were 4-1 in individual duals headed into this matchup, while Blair came into the dual 3-1. The most anticipated matchup of the day was in the 195-pound weight class matchup between junior Charlie Nosal for Millard West and senior Dexter Larsen for Blair. Both wrestlers are in the top of the 195-pound weight class in Class A. 

“This is always a close dual because they are a blue collar team that is made up of tough kids,” head coach Scott Townsley said. “We are a little inexperienced at some of the weight classes and in duals it shows.”

Thursday was also senior night, where the Wildcat wrestling team celebrated seniors Aiden Schollmeyer, Kaden Williams, Brecken Wallce, James Vawter and Ryan Kocovsky. 

“Senior night was great, I have been looking forward to it since I came to West,” Schollmeyer said. “The wrestling program has always meant a lot to me since it’s always pushed me to be better and work harder.”

The first matchup of the day was between sophomore Jayden Bladt and senior Gabe Gaskill in the 220-pound weight class. Gaskill got off to a good start early in the match with two points for a takedown. Bladt was able to fight back, though, in the first period. He flipped Gaskill on his back, and got the pin right as time expired. Blair was able to fight right back and get a pin of their own as senior Lance Hume pinned freshman Wyatt Goodlett only thirty seconds into the first period. Millard West and Blair were tied 6-6 after the first two matches. 

The dual then circled back to the 106-pound weight class. Millard West got three straight match wins with freshman Enrique Haynes getting a 8-3 decision win over sophomore Jesse Loges. Sophomore Avery Russell then got a 7-3 decision win over sophomore Luke Frost in the 113-pound weight class, and freshman Levi Buelt pinning freshman Karter Scott in the 120-pound weight class. Scott had a 7-0 lead early in the second period, but Buelt was able to fight back and get the pin late in the second period, giving Millard West a total 18-6 lead over the Bears. 

Freshman Atticus Dick was able to bring the Bears back in striking distance, getting a pin against freshman Harrell Jackson one minute into the first period of the 126-pound weight class. Schollmeyer got the points right back for the Wildcats in a quick pin over senior Shay Bailey in the 132-pound matchup. 

In my match with Shae, I just knew that I had to get off my feet to pin him,” Schollmeyer said. “He was just faster in neutral.”

In the next four matches, Blair was able to really pull away and take advantage of the Wildcats. In the 138-pound matchup, sophomore Thomas Bacon pinned freshman Isaac Mcillhon. Thomas was able to control the pace the entire match and ended up getting the pin for Blair early in the third period. Junior Charlie Powers was able to get great position on sophomore Jackson Jeanette in the 145-pound matchup, and got a second straight pin for Blair early in the first period. Sophomore Yoan Camejo pinned Williams in a very aggressive back and forth match in the 152-pound weight class, and senior Dylan Berg acquired the final pin of the day over Wallace in the 160 pound matchup. The four straight pins gave the Bears a 36-24 lead over the Wildcats. 

The last three matches were extremely competitive as each of them lasted the whole three periods. In the 170-pound weight class, Vawter got a 14-7 decision win over sophomore Dane Larsen. Freshman phenom Noah Blair earned a close 7-4 decision win over senior Braden Hanson which cut the Blair lead to six, which means it would all come down to the final match of the day between Nosal and Dexter Larsen. Nosal would need a pin to get the six points needed to tie the dual. It was a very back and forth match in the first two periods, but Larsen was able to pull away with some big takedown points and ended up getting the 9-4 decision win. Blair won the dual with a total score of 39-30. 

“Our inexperienced kids need to get better and our older kids need to be better leaders to show them how to improve,” Townsley said. “Every competition, there are takeaways on things we need to do better on. We have to put the last competition behind us and move on because my message is always the same: we are building for February.” 

Millard West has two more home duals, against Lincoln Southeast on February 4, and Fremont on February 5th. Both duals will be available to watch on Striv TV.