Owls stage rally to win mat debut
SEDALIA -- The long season will determine whether the young Marshall wrestling team has the talent and expertise to succeed, but Tuesday's opener suggested it certainly has enough fight.
The Owls came back from a 22-0 deficit to take a 35-34 non-conference win at Smith-Cotton. Marshall trailed 34-12 with three matches and a default win left -- and swept them for the victory.
The Tigers reeled off four straight matches when the match started at the 145-pound class -- getting pins from senior Josh Nelson, junior Darren Heaton (152 pounds) and freshman Sam Woolery (171) and a 14-5 major decision by senior Corey Witt (160). That Witt was unable to end the match early against senior Andy Reiff would prove decisive in the end.
The Owls picked up their first win at 189, in the debut of freshman Brian Bergstrom -- an accomplished junior wrestler. He notched a second-round pin of junior Ben Frederickson, a 2005 Class 3 state qualifier.
Smith-Cotton was able to maintain the 22-point margin as junior David Neher (215) won by fall and the Birds defaulted at 112 pounds -- with senior Eric Glenski getting six points for Marshall within that stretch with a 45-second pin.
The Tigers (1-1) were open at 119, but still appeared comfortably ahead. That's when junior Corey Smith (125), who has made two appearances at the MSHSAA Class 2 Championships, got it rolling for the Owls -- his 17-1 technical fall victory accounting for the one-point difference from the Witt major against Reiff which were the exceptions to the otherwise fall-filled contest.
Junior Bryan Beck tightened the match further by stopping his 130-pound foe with 30 seconds remaining in the third period and junior Drew Hoffman (140) completed the comeback with a pin at the end of the second set -- Marshall having closed with a 23-0 run.
There were only three junior varsity bouts, with the Owls' lone win being a pin by sophomore Jason Browning at 160.
Today's scheduled home opener for Marshall (1-0) against Chillicothe has been postponed until next Thursday. The Owls are due to take part in the Park Hill Tournament, a series of dual matches, Saturday in Kansas City.