The Rolla wrestling team hosted Hillcrest and Sullivan for Senior Night on Tuesday, Jan. 22. The Bulldogs started the night with a blow out 66-18 win over Hillcrest, before winning a nail-biter over Sullivan 39-36.
The Bulldogs steam-rolled their way past Hillcrest to start the night. The match started with Hillcrest being open at 132, before Dathan Mickem pinned Lucas Nave in the first period at 138. After another Hillcrest open at 145, Daytona Berg beat Rolla's Johnnie Swizdor with an pin at the end of the first period at 152. Hayden Fane then got a pin for Rolla at 160, before another Hillcrest open. Colton Franks followed that with a pin of Anthony Taylor at 182. Hillcrest won the next two matches on pins, before Chris Bench pinned Daniel Duffy at heavyweight. Hillcrest was open at both 106 and 113, before Rolla finished the night with a pair of pins. First Xander Sederburg got a quick pin at 120, before Orion Parker pinned Cyrus Marducci to finish the dual. Rolla won the match 66-18.
Rolla then got off to a rough start to their dual with Sullivan. The match started with Sullivan's Kobie Blankenship pinning Justin McEnaney, before Sullivan was open at 152. Isaac Peregoy then pinned Andre Ridenhour at 160. Rolla bounced back when Fane pinned Trey Eplin at 170. Franks then had a tough match at 182, facing off against Evan Shetley, who's ranked second in Class 2 in that weight class. Franks couldn't get on the board in a 5-0 loss. David Rodgers came back with a pin at 195, before Three straight Sullivan wins. Wyatt Medlock pinned Luke Beaugard at 220, before Tristan Brown pinned Terrance Horton at heavyweight. Dillon Witt then outlasted Hunter Hoffman 6-0.
Rolla got six important points on a Sullivan open at 113. The Bulldogs were without their regular 113, but Brooke Dillon slipped in for six free points. Sederburg then got a quick pin of Joseph Lewis, before Parker was pinned by Ty Shetley. Sullivan was open at 132, setting up a final match with the dual tied at 36. Mickem wrestled a great match, beating Jonathan Krygiel 7-0 to win the dual 39-36.
While getting two dual wins was excellent, one of the biggest highlights of the night was the chance to celebrate the eight wrestling seniors. Head coach Marty Hauck was glad he got a chance to highlight those seniors.
"Tonight is about them and it's about the team," said coach Hauck. "The team comes out with two wins and the last dual was a tight dual and that was fun."
The dual with Sullivan came to a thrilling conclusion and coach Hauck knew that Mickem would step up and give Rolla the win.
"I told him before he even went out there that tonight was his night to be the hero. He smiled, went out and took care of business," said the Rolla head coach on Mickem's match. "Hats off to him on his part. He did exactly what I knew he would do, which is go out and wrestle is match."
The Bulldogs are building up momentum as they finish off their regular season. After a tri with Camdenton and Sedalia on Monday, Jan. 28, Rolla is on the home stretch. The Bulldogs will open February with the Ozark Conference Tournament, before Districts the following weekend, followed by State Valentine's Day weekend. Coach Hauck thinks his team is trending in the right direction as they head down this final month of the season.
"It's good and it's important. At the end of the year, you gotta peak and right now we're starting to peak," said Hauck. "We've got a slow climb that we're doing right now and our goal is Valentine's Day, that weekend is where we're peaking the best. We're slowly starting to see that mountain climb. Hopefully we're at the top of it in the middle of February.