The HRV wrestling team may have finished behind rival Pendleton at the Best in the West tournament two weeks ago, but that didn’t mean they weren’t the better team.
And they knew it.
The Eagles proved their superiority beyond a shadow of a doubt last Friday when the Buckaroos came to town for an Intermountain Conference dual meet.
HRV won eight of the 14 weight classes and lost two by the narrowest of margins to win the much-anticipated rematch by a score of 36-27.
“We felt like crap after we lost to them at Best in the West,” junior 140-pounder Rocky Level said. “We knew we were the better team, and it feels good to get a little revenge on our home mat.”
Level, who has lost just one match all season, took a 7-0 lead into the third round before pinning Tim Zimmerman with 30 seconds remaining.
Those six points ended up being crucial in the final tally, as the Eagles lost two of the final three matches by scores of 2-1 at 189 pounds, and 3-2 at 275 pounds.
Jason DeHart (160) and
Jacobe Krizman (171) also earned late-round pins to help the Eagles offset a forfeit at 135 pounds, and two falls at 125 and 130 pounds.
Two of the biggest surprises on the day were in the lower weight classes. Sophomore Jayde Cannon stepped in for Zach Bohince at 103 pounds and won a decision over Nick Brizzendric, while sophomore Efrain Garcia earned a fall over Tyler Kilkenny at 112 pounds.
“Efrain’s pin gave us a nine-point swing from Best in the West,” senior 119-pounder Josh Van Ek said.
“We won the same amount of matches at the tournament, but gave up some points we shouldn’t have. It’s good to have a guy with experience who can step in and provide more strength for the team.”
HRV had lost the 112 and 103-pound classes during the third-place match at Best in the West, and by picking up two wins to start the day on Friday, they never looked back.
“We knew we could do it,” Van Ek said. “We just needed to maintain our focus throughout.”