With the score knotted at 24-24, Spanish Springs seized the first sign of momentum in the dual, winning the final six matches of night, five coming by fall, in order to run away with the victory.
At the 145s, Blake Nauman scored a second-round pin, followed by 152-pounder Zach Perez who notched a first-round pin to hand the Purple and Silver a 36-24 advantage. Next, 160-pounder Justin Shaffer came away with a 12-6 decision to extend the Cougars' lead to 39-24. Jake Drescher (170), Tyler Beaulac (182) and Brik Chesley (195) then sealed the victory for Spanish Springs with each recording a pin — Drescher’s coming in the first and both Beaulac and Chesley’s coming in the second round.
“Where we started, I knew that it was going to be a position for them to stay with us in the dual,” Spanish Springs coach Joe Imelli said. “I think really the only surprise of the night came at 126 (pounds) with Mason Cunningham. He just died and he said it. He had no energy. He was up 8-2 and then he just looked like everything just left him. Other than that though, everything else went how I looked at it.
“The kids know when we wrestle at home, we wrestle tough. We have done that for a while and they absolutely love being here. As long as they know we have a chance to win, they battle. I never saw a kid drop his head tonight. They knew we had work to do and they took care of business.”
While the Raiders came away from the dual with a loss, Reed coach Dan Barraza said he was pleased with the effort of his team.
“Spanish Springs is a tough squad up and down, but I was really proud of the way our guys wrestled,” he said. “We had a lot of heart tonight and I’ll take this effort over the effort we gave against North Valleys all day long. For our guys that got wins tonight, they stepped up huge. It was a lot better dual to watch.”
The parade of pins started with the night's first match. Reed 220-pounder Spencer Empey caught Spanish Springs' Anthony Walsh in a hold by the arm and leg in the second round, before flipping him from his stomach to his back for a pin.
Next, the Cougars got on the scoreboard with six points of their own in the heavyweight match. Spanish Springs' Chase Hauder caught Reed's Damon Gebhardt in an awkward hold, forcing the Raider to roll right into a first-round pin to bring the dual to 6-6.
In the 106-pound match, Raider Chase Heit earned a pin-fall 17 seconds before the bout ended to give RHS a 12-6 advantage.
A forfeit to Cougar 113-pounder Ryan Long evened the dual at 12-12. Tyler Poalillo (120) then handed SSHS its first lead of the contest as he grabbed a second-round pin for an 18-12 edge.
Reed’s Cameron Jones eked out a win in the 126-pound match, earning a third-round pin with 0:22 remaining on the clock. That brought the score to 18-18 before Spanish Springs’ Rito Hernandez (132) and Reed’s Jake Otuafi (138) earned pins in the third and first round of their respective matches to leave the score at 24-24.
Both teams will now prepare for the Division I Northern Region Championships which begin Friday, February 1 at Reno High School.
“We’re a week and a half away from it mattering,” Imelli said of preparing for regionals. “If they’re not wrestling well now, it’s probably not going to change in that short time. We’re doing some good things on the mat though.”