Photo courtesy of Tim Tushla (www.maxpixpro.com)
Briar Cliff ended the dual season with a 24-17 win against Morningside in GPAC wrestling action Friday night at The Arena in Sioux City.
The crosstown rivals each came into the matchup with one loss and the No. 2 spot in the GPAC standings up for grabs. The Chargers jumped out to a big lead early with success at the lower weights and held on to lock up a runner up finish in the league.
"I thought the guys put on an inspiring performance tonight," said BC head coach Joe Privitere. "They wrestled hard and won the lion's share of 50/50 positions. The ones you win with grit and tenacity."
The night started at 125 lbs. where the Mustangs forfeited to Marcelo Perez to put the Blue and Gold up 6-0.
With no match to be had at 125, Privitere decided to bump CaRon Watson up to 133 lbs. and the decision paid off with a bonus point victory. Watson picked up a 10-2 major decision against Joseph Waters.
The decision to move up weight classes pushed Isiah Lysius to 141 lbs., but the senior was unable to secure a win against a heavier opponent. Lysius battled tough only to drop a 5-2 match to Morningside's Dusten Reed.
With the match score at 10-3, Briar Cliff was in need of a cushion as Luke Hardy was due to face off against Noah Styskal at 149 lbs. The two had met earlier this season at the Central Under Armour Invite, with Styskal coming away with a 7-5 decision.
This time, however, Hardy was able to earn the victory in a tightly contested bout. The two grapplers were deadlocked with no scoring in the first period and Hardy struggled to escape in the second period after starting on bottom. Eventually, Hardy got away but not before Styskal had picked up more than a minute of riding time as the two went to the third period with Hardy leading 1-0.
Styskal escaped quickly in the third period, but not soon enough to lock up the riding time point as it looked like a takedown would be needed to determine a winner. With a deep shot by Styskal putting Hardy on defense, the official stopped the match as a penalty point was awarded to Hardy that proved to be the difference in a 2-1 final.
The Chargers used the momentum from Hardy's victory and picked up two more as Ben Peters (157 lbs.) won by technical fall 17-1 over Timothy Sibbel and Chris Paulsen added to his program-best pin total with a fall in 2:15 against Alexander Thompson at 165 lbs.
With wins in five of the first six matches, Briar Cliff just needed to avoid disaster to claim the dual victory as the Chargers did just that. Morningside won all of the final four bouts, but picked up just two bonus points with a pair of major decisions to end the night with BC ahead 24-17.
The win improved Briar Cliff to 7-1 in dual action this season as the Chargers finished second to Concordia in the regular season standings. Morningside moved to 5-2. The Blue and Gold won't compete again until the postseason at the GPAC Tournament on Saturday, February 22 in Sioux City.
"7-1 isn't the dual record we were shooting for, but it's where we are at," Privitere noted. "I like our chances at the conference tournament in a couple weeks."