STATE CENTER - West Marshall wrestling coach Lonnie Ferguson acknowledged that he has a strong team this season. He just doesn't want anyone else to figure that out.
Ferguson would like to remain under the radar a little while longer but knocking off state-ranked foes will make that tough.
The Trojans did just that Thursday night as they knocked off No. 8 Denver-Tripoli, 36-33, during a quadrangular on Senior Night. West Marshall also recorded wins over Hudson and South Hardin-BCLUW to improve to 7-1 in NICL action.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
West Marshall senior Kyle Blocker, right, won all three of his matches on Thursday during a quadrangular at State Center, including a win by fall against South Hardin-BCLUW’s Luke Asche in the final dual of the night. Blocker is ranked No. 2 in Class 1A at 138 pounds.
"We know we can compete with some of the best teams, but we like to keep that to ourselves," Ferguson said. "We just need to keep focusing on what we are doing and keep our heads down."
The Trojans recorded five pins in the win over the Titans, but it was a match that did not result in bonus points that most impressed Ferguson.
"To me, the biggest match of that dual was at 132 pounds where C.J. Berrey kept Tad Chapin from getting bonus points," he said. "I think they expected that kid to score more than a decision and by not allowing that happen was big in the final outcome."
Chapin is ranked No. 8 at 132 in Class 2A.
The match was back and forth throughout. West Marshall got two straight pins from state-ranked Dale Hilleman and Devin Chesler to build a 12-0 lead, but the Titans came back to take a 24-12 lead with three pins and two decisions in the next five matches.
West Marshall then bounced back by winning five of the next six matches to regain the lead. The Trojans got a pin from Cole Needham and then state-ranked Kyle Blocker and Jared Johnson recorded back-to-back pins to seal the victory. Berrey's loss by decision was the only defeat during that six match stretch.
"We have to get bonus points if we want to win duals," Ferguson said. "Winning duals is all about getting bonus points and not allowing bonus points."
Brandon Sorenson, who is seeking his fourth straight state title this season, ended the dual with a win by fall but the damage had been done for the Trojans, who are 9-4 on the year.
"It was a tough match, and we were definitely worried about Denver-Tripoli," Ferguson said. "But we showed a lot of fight and came out wrestling hard tonight."
West Marshall also took care of South Hardin-BCLUW 49-27 and dominated Hudson 55-18 in the opener.
Denver-Tripoli went 2-1 on the night with wins over the Storm and the Pirates, while SH-BCLUW was 1-2 and Hudson finished 0-3. The Storm's only win was a 41-31 victory over Hudson.
"I think we were lacking and we got off to a slow start tonight," South Hardin-BCLUW co-coach Stacy Simpson said. "We didn't get our hands in good position, but the competition was great tonight. We can take back with us some ideas for the wrestling room."
West Marshall's dual against the Storm started out competitive and was back-and-forth through eight matches. It was tied at 4-4 through eight and the Storm even led 18-15 until the Trojans took advantage of back-to-back forfeits and then back-to-back pins by Blocker and Johnson. Hilleman then finished off the night with a win by major decision over Tyler Lutes at 160.
"We need to be in better condition and we need to work on our hand control," Simpson said. "We were getting owned on the bottom tonight."
Backed by four wins by forfeit and four pins, the Trojans easily dispatched of Hudson. Brandon Overman, James Long, Needham and Blocker all scored pins, while Tanner Arnold grabbed a win by major decision at 152.
Deonce Cushinberry had a big night for the Storm even though his team lost twice on the night. Cushinberry scored two pins and won his third match by forfeit. Simpson also thought Luke Asche wrestled really well.
"Deonce came out aggressive and really wrestled well," Simpson said. "When he did make a mistake he was able to muscle his way through the mistakes."
The Storm, now 2-3 in conference action, jumped out to a 12-0 lead over Hudson following back-to-back pins by Lutes and Ben Kuhl. The lead grew to 24-6 after two Pirate forfeits. Austin Willett also received a forfeit at 120, while Asche won his match by technical fall as time expired.
Jake Goecke went 3-0 in his first-ever varsity matches for West Marshall. He earned two wins by decision and another by forfeit. ... Blocker is ranked No. 2 in Class 1A at 138 pounds, while Hillman is No. 9 at 160 and Arnold is No. 9 at 152. ... Hudson's Luke Huber is ranked No. 4 in Class 2A. ... Aside from Sorenson and Chapin, Denver-Tripoli also features Class 2A No. 3 Chase Shedenhelm at 170. ... West Marshall honored five senior wrestlers before the dual. Blocker, Arnold, Overman, Long and Kolby Steiert were all wrestling in their final home duals of the season. ... Denver-Tripoli beat South Hardin-BCLUW 51-27 and defeated Hudson 51-24.