Monarchs solve Scout puzzle
(KEARNEY) - Nobody was quite sure just how long it had been. What was certain, was that it had been a while.
For just about a decade, David City has had the run of wrestling success over crosstown rival Aquinas Catholic.
The Scouts defeated the Monarchs in the first-ever state duals match for both schools in 2013. Earlier this season, DC took down Aquinas 33-31 to continue bragging rights.
In between, and for several years before, all the results went the way of the Scouts, until Saturday.
Aquinas and David City again met in the first round of state duals. This time, it was the Monarchs, finally, on the winning end 36-32.
The victory kick-started a run to the championship round where Aquinas came up short of defending champion Broken Bow.
Regardless, though the runner-up trophy at the end was certainly a prize worth working for, it may have been the win over David City hours earlier that gave Monarch coaches, wrestlers and fans the greatest sense of satisfaction.
“It’s been a long time, at least since I was an assistant. Now that I’m a head, I still haven’t beaten them yet,” co-head coach Eric Pflum said with a big grin across his face moments after walking off the mat with the monkey off his back.
“I can’t even remember, it was 2008, 2009, something like that. It’s pretty exciting for the kids. We’ve been trying to beat these guys for a long time. We just kept telling them, ‘You’ve got to believe. You’ve got to believe.’ We changed a few things, had the belief we were going to beat them, and that’s what we did.”
Perhaps the deciding match the first time around weeks earlier was an upset at heavyweight.
With only two matches remaining following the heavyweight battle, David City led 27-22. It was a precarious lead though with Aquinas’ Owen Schramm, ranked No. 5 at the time by NEwrestle.com, coming up at 285 followed by Ethan Schmid and Hunter Vandenberg, two Monarchs favored to win as well.
But then Jake Ingwersen surprised Schramm and pinned him midway through the third period. Up by 12 at that point, David City needed to avoid a pin in one of the final two matches.
Zach Bongers lost 2-0 at 106 pounds but clinched the team win.
It was as close as the Monarchs had come for some time. That was little solace, especially to Schramm who spent the next three-plus weeks stewing on his loss, wondering if he or his teammates would get a second chance.
Aquinas was situated fourth in the final Wildcard Points Standings of the season, the metric used to determine the eight teams invited to state duals, while David City was seventh.
But because Perkins County in third had not competed in the minimum number of duals to qualify, every team moved up a spot locking the No. 3 Monarchs into a rematch with the No. 6 Scouts.
“There was, seriously, celebration in the room. We were like, ‘We get another shot at them,’” senior Joseph Reimers said about learning who the first-round opponent was at practice five days earlier.
But Schramm might have been most excited of all.
“It’s been hanging over me. All week I knew I was going to have to wrestle him in the first round. Coach told me the gameplan. I was going to not let him get anything on my feet and get an escape in overtime,” Schramm said. “That’s exactly what happened.”
Schramm and Ingwersen weren’t set to meet again until the near halfway point of the dual, six matches in.
It started with 160 pounds and David City’s No. 3-ranked Dylan Vodicka. He led throughout and finally turned his opponent with 28 seconds remaining in the second period for a pin and a 6-0 Scout lead.
Aquinas, though, answered with a technical fall by Ben Kment, pin by Reimers and 13-3 major decision from Nolan Schultz.
After David City’s Wayne Moore picked up a 5-2 win, the Monarchs led 15-9 when Schramm and Ingwersen stepped onto the mat.
Neither scored anything more than an escape, but because Schramm scored first thanks to winning the toss and choosing down to start the second period, he had the choice of position in the ultimate tiebreaker.
He again chose down, drove Ingwersen to the edge of the mat out of bounds, reset and eventually broke away.
Now leading 18-9, Schramm’s win started a run of four Aquinas wins in a row including Hunter Vandenberg with a late third-period pin, Zach Zitek with another halfway through the first, Noah Scott picking up a 10-3 victory and Cameron Schrad scoring a 4-2 sudden victory after seeing his 4-0 lead slip away late.
Up 36-9 with only four matches left, Aquinas had finally done it. The max points David City could score was 24, not enough to make up the 27-point separation.
“The last time, I thought about it way too much and put way too much pressure on myself,” Schramm said. “This time, I went in as calm as possible, thought about the gameplan and got the win.”
Aquinas flipped two results from the earlier dual with Schramm’s win and Schrad’s sudden victory.
Those two matches alone accounted for a 15-point swing. Kment winning by technical fall compared to a 12-7 win on Jan. 10 made up two more points while Vandenberg turning a 2-0 win at 106 three weeks ago into a pin on Saturday was a three-point swing.
David City gained ground in four matches turning a pinfall loss at 120 to a 10-3 loss, going from a 12-7 win at 132 to a 15-0 tech fall, winning 8-6 at 138 then by pin at state duals and turning a 9-1 loss at 220 into a 5-2 win in the rematch.
Seven weights had rematches from earlier in the year. Only 220 and 285 had a different winner.
“I think (my win) definitely had a snowball effect for our team, but I’m not taking any credit. This whole team deserved credit,” Schramm said. “The whole team contributed for sure.
“I think it’s been eight or nine years since we’ve beat them. It’s been a long time. That win felt better than qualifying for state last year.”
Nathan Tenopir is the sports editor for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net