By Maurice Patton
BRENTWOOD – For Independence and first-year coach Bryan Youngsma, it wasn’t quite as simple as ‘once is enough’.
But once was enough – for now.
After both the Eagles and Summit won their District 14-AAA/Region 7-AAA duals tournament semifinal matches Tuesday night, Independence opted not to wrestle the championship contest.
With the decision, the Spartans clinched the region title and home mats for the upcoming sectional against the Region 8-AAA runner-up. Independence will travel for sectionals.
“We didn’t feel like there was anything in it, for either team,” Youngsma said. “We’re already down (wrestlers). Maybe we beat them, but maybe we lose another starter in the process.
“With COVID, with injuries – for one extra match, it didn’t make sense.”
The decision allows Independence to maintain some momentum as it continues the postseason, while avoiding a rematch of a 65-7 loss to Summit on Jan. 14.
In a 41-32 win over host Brentwood, the Eagles looked nothing like that team from nearly two weeks ago.
“Our guys wrestled at a pretty high level the whole time,” Youngsma said. “When our 120 (-pounder, Philip Shand) got up 9-0 and got pinned, I thought it was going to turn the other way. They rose to the occasion.
“All the credit goes to the wrestlers. We’ve got a great group of seniors and we rallied around them. We got hit really hard the last few days (with injuries), lost some guys, and Brentwood has, too. The matchups just fell our way.”
Following Shand’s loss to Walker Childs, Independence won three of the next four weight classes before running off consecutive wins at 160, 170, 182 and 195 to put the contest out of reach.
The tournament was a classic war of attrition, as all four semifinalists were nursing injuries and at less than full strength.
“Our 120 has a concussion; our 126 has a foot injury; our 160 broke his hand; we have no 285,” Brentwood coach Damon Smith said. “We came in with a bunch of Band-Aids. We knew it’d be hard. It was a winnable dual, but the ones we need to go our way went their way.
“When that happens, there’s not much you can do about it.”
Centennial, meanwhile, was without three starters as Summit won 53-20.
“Not having Ethan (Duck, senior 170-pounder, concussion) really hurt us,” Cougars coach Philip Pelkey said.
Pins by Jackson Masters (120), Justin Noll (126) and Landon Desselle (132) got Summit off to a flying start, and Austin Noll’s reversal with six seconds remaining gave him a 6-5 decision over Nathan Alcoch for a 21-0 Spartan advantage before Ceron Campbell finally got Centennial on the scoreboard with a major decision.
That was the only victory on the mat for the Cougars, who picked up a pair of forfeits and got a victory by disqualification when 285-pounder Duncan Frye sustained an elbow injury in his match against previously undefeated Ryan Smith.
“We wrestle hard,” Summit coach Pete Miller said. “(Smith) had no ill intentions. Our guys step up to a different level.
“It’s great when two teams from south Williamson County go 1-2. It’s always a knock-down, drag-out fight in Region 7.”
As for the finals that weren’t, Miller was realistic.
“You always want to wrestle the finals,” he said. “But, during a pandemic, we’re just happy to be wrestling.
“You’ve got to do what’s best for your team.”
“With any luck, we’ll see them at state,” Youngsma said.
Independence 41, Brentwood 32: 120 – Walker Childs (B) p. Philip Shand, 5:27; 126 – Brandon Lee (I) p. Owen Graves, 0:55; 132 – Spencer Kon (I) md. Andrew Donelson 12-4; 138 – Clark Vaughn (B) d. Timothy Ford 12-5; 145 – Chris Witt (I) p. Xander Smartt, 2:24; 152 – Dean Klueppelberg (B) p. Maverick Marmol, 5:22; 160 – Grant Campanali (I) d. Aiden Thomason 10-4; 170 – Tanner Willett (I) md. Jake Beightol 19-10; 182 – Cannon Roberts (I) p. William Dobbs, 2:29; 195 – Gabriel Hall (I) p. Hunter Meade, 1:22; 220 – Noah Dixon (B) by forfeit; 285 – Dylan Rogers (B) by forfeit; 106 – Russell Ford (I) p. Zach Ordonez, 1:57; 113 – Aiden Scruggs (B) by forfeit
Summit 53, Centennial 20: 120 – Jackson Masters (S) p. Elijah Weston, 3:18; 126 – Justin Noll (S) p. Sean Skinner, 3:35; 132 – Landon Desselle (S) p. Lane Lewis, 1:59; 138 – Austin Noll (S) d. Nathan Alcoch 6-5; 145 – Ceron Campbell (C) md. Davie Hackert 13-5; 152 – Alex Ables (C) by forfeit; 160 – Finley Jameson (S) p. William Clingan, 3:18; 170 – Luke Justice (S) p. Craig Sanford, 2:47; 182 – Jensen Schreiber (S) d. Barrett Scott 9-3; 195 – Maddox Reed (S) by forfeit; 220 – Ty Garber (S) p. Cole Stiles, 0:40; 285 – Duncan Frye (C) by disq. over Ryan Smith; 106 – Elijah Benefield (C) by forfeit; 113 – Jarvis Little (S) p. Judah Lind, 0:35
Photos by Charles Pulliam / Williamson Herald