Pins in the Final Two Matches Give Argos 25-16 Victory
GREAT FALLS, Mont. – Argo wrestling and Eastern Oregon University each won 5 matches in team's dual inside The McLaughlin Center, but UGF earned bonus points in each of its 5 win, including pins in the final two weight classes, to take a 25-16 victory.
The win came just 24 hours after the Argos upset (4) MSU-Northern in Havre, Mont., and also came against Ty Vinson, an assistant coach for UGF in 2015-16 who is now an assistant at EOU.
“I was a little worried about this dual. I thought it was kind of like a trap game coming off of that emotional win at Northern,” UGF Head Coach Caleb Schaeffer said. “I knew those guys were going to have their guys ready, and that if our wrestlers weren’t ready they were gonna take it to us. They did it. They took the fight to us, but we responded in the upper weights.”
The match didn't start well for UGF, losing each of the first three matches by decision. While the result was a loss, Jarren Komac’s performance at 133 was impressive, forcing an overtime round against (14) Matthew Nguyen before losing a 19-13 decision.
Down 9-0, UGF needed someone to turn the momentum and redshirt-freshman Casey Dobson did just that at 149. Dobson started his match off with two takedowns in the first round and would add four more on his way to a 14-4 major decision that put the Argos right back in the match.
Even after a major decision loss at 157, UGF still had hope, something it may not have had this far into the match last year. The Argos were stronger in the lighter weights last season, but now boast a talented group in the middle and upper weights that can lead late comeback charges.
“I don’t feel as nervous over here anymore when we lose those first matches, because I know we have some horses in the back end,” Schaeffer said.
Those “horses” started to kick in the final five matches, starting with redshirt-junior Khaldoon Rashid. One of the few veterans in the UGF lineup, Rashid a leader’s work, building on a 2-0 lead after the first round, and slowly learning his opponent’s weaknesses. His patient approach early paid off with an 11-1 major decision win.
With the score at 13-8, redshirt-freshman Randy Keesler used brute strength to singlehandedly close the gap. The 174 grappler had 10 takedowns and one 2-point near fall, consistently overpowering his opponent in a 27-11 technical fall (6:48) victory.
A stunning take down for EOU in the final seconds of the 184 match between UGF senior Sam Voigtlaender and Clark Woodward meant a 12-10 decision win for the Mountaineers. That reclaimed the lead for the EOU, with the score at 16-13 heading into the final two matches of night.
Redshirt-freshman John Hensley soon overcame the three point deficit and then some. After taking a 13-1 lead on his opponent, including two 4-point near falls, Hensley finally finished the deal, winning by Fall (2:12) at 197.
Not to be outdone, sophomore, Matthew Hopkins did the same. After giving up a takedown right away, Hopkins recovered with two near falls before finishing the pin at the 2:31 mark. His win by Fall (2:31) sealed what ended up being a confident win on the scoreboard for the Argos.
The win is UGF's second in as many days and not only keeps the team undefeated in duals at 2-0 on the year, but puts the squad one win away from last year's season total (3-7). After entering the season outside of the Top-20, the early wins builds confidence for an unusually young Great Falls team.
“I’ll tell you what. There’s no way from last year that I would’ve thought we’d have won our first two dual with this team,” Schaeffer said. “They are doing everything right.”
There will be very little rest for the Argos, with the team traveling to North Idaho College for a dual on Saturday, November 12 8 p.m. MT.
Courtesy: UGF Sports Information