AURORA | Wyatt Eickbush had little left in his tank Tuesday night other than an intense desire to win for his Grandview wrestling team.
The Wolves’ senior 182-pounder trailed Cherokee Trail’s Chris Cain 2-0 inside of the final minute of the third period during the Centennial League rivals when he knew he had to just try something, anything.
Eickbush attempted to throw Cain and ended up on his back, but rolled over and finished off a pin with 37 seconds left to secure six huge points, a pivotal swing that helped Grandview edge Cherokee Trail 34-26.
In a match between teams featuring a combined nine wrestlers in On The Mat’s most recent rankings, only Eickbush, 138-pounder Armando Santillan and 113-pounder Kiley Smith recorded pins for the Wolves.
“I probably didn’t do all the things that I should have done to get ready for that match and I was gassed from beginning to end,” Eickbush admitted. “I just tried to throw him, go for the cheapest thing I knew how to get. I wound up on my back, but I thought ‘I’ve got something here, I’ve got his waist’ and I just kept going.
“They say the third period comes down to who has the most heart. Not saying that he didn’t have heart, but I wanted it so bad. I did not want to lose.”
Grandview coach Ryan Budd, who has guided the Wolves to a 3-0 start in Centennial League duals in his first season replacing iconic coach Greg Maestas, pointed to Eickbush’s improbable win as the key moment in a dual he knew would come down to the last match.
“I’ve told Wyatt in front of all his peers in the room how proud I am of him, this year more than any other year,” Budd said. “He’s been to every practice and fought through adversity. Like tonight, he literally had his back on the mat, but he rolls through and gets us the biggest win of the night.”
Also key for the Wolves were the contributions of Santillan — On The Mat’s No. 11-ranked 132 pounder — who bumped up a weight class and pinned Cherokee Trail’s Jamiah Rivers in the second period, as well as Ben Ehrhard moving up to 132 pounds with a 10-2 major decision win over the Cougars’ Colton Mollohan.
In the last match of the night, Smith fell behind Cherokee Trail’s Drake Davis 4-0 in the opening period as Grandview clung to a two-point lead, but Smith took the lead in the second period and pinned Davis 15 seconds in the final period to seal the victory.
Highly-ranked Xavier Cardenas (No. 6 at 126 pounds), Seth Brown (No. 3 at 145 pounds) and Josh Vigil-Harrison (No. 2 at 220 pounds) both won by decision for the Wolves.
Coach Jeff Buck’s Cougars had plenty of highlights themselves, as Danny Constant (ranked No. 9 at 113 pounds) earned a first-period pin at 120 pounds, while 152-pounder Michael Thelen looked every bit of his No. 8 ranking with a 42-second pin and budding sophomore Zeke Silva won a 7-5 overtime decision against Grandview’s Tyler Ross in the most competitive match of the night. Ross came in ranked No. 11 by On The Mat, while Silva is ranked No. 12.
With help from wins by 160-pounder Seth Bogulski and 195-pounder Jayden Jackson, Cherokee Trail led on several occasions and went ahead 26-25 when heavyweight Oreva Koka won a 16-4 major decision over Tino Baca. Grandview’s Gio Federico put the Wolves ahead with an 8-2 decision over Chad Powell in the 106-pound match before Smith’s victory in the finale.
“I’m very proud of our guys, they fought hard and Grandview is a heck of a team, so we knew it would be a tough dual,” said Buck, whose team dropped to 1-1 in league duals. “I’m proud of our young kids who went out and performed well. If one match goes a different way, it could have been a different story.”
Grandview heads to a dual tournament at Legend on Jan. 10, while Cherokee Trail is set for another out of state tournament, this one the Shane Shatto Memorial Tournament in Wyoming that runs Jan. 9-10. The Cougars had ventured to California prior to winter break.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
GRANDVIEW 34, CHEROKEE TRAIL 26
120 pounds: Danny Constant (Cherokee Trail) pinned Alan Abila (Grandview), 1:59; 126 pounds: Xavier Cardenas (Grandview) dec. Lizandro Hernandez (Cherokee Trail), 8-3; 132 pounds: Ben Ehrhard (Grandview) maj. dec. Colton Mollohan (Cherokee Trail), 10-2; 138 pounds: Armando Santillan (Grandview) pinned Jamiah Rivers (Cherokee Trail), 2:51; 145 pounds: Seth Brown (Grandview) dec. Fred Johnson (Cherokee Trail), 14-8; 152 pounds: Michael Thelen (Cherokee Trail) pinned Chad McVicker (Grandview), 0:42; 160 pounds: Seth Bogulski (Cherokee Trail) maj. dec Matthew Little (Grandview), 12-3; 170 pounds: Zeke Silva (Cherokee Trail) dec. Tyler Ross (Grandview), 7-5 (OT); 182 pounds: Wyatt Eickbush (Grandview) pinned Chris Cain (Cherokee Trail), 5:23; 195 pounds: Jayden Jackson (Cherokee Trail) dec. Joe Rutkowski (Grandview), 5-3; 220 pounds: Josh Vigil-Harrison (Grandview) dec. Sok Ku Mun-Willliams (Cherokee Trail), 6-4; 285 pounds: Oreva Koka (Cherokee Trail) maj. dec. Antonio Baca (Grandview), 16-4; 106 pounds: Gio Federico (Grandview) dec. Chad Powell (Cherokee Trail), 8-2; 113 pounds: Kiley Smith (Grandview) pinned Drake Davis (Cherokee Trail), 4:15;