It wasn’t the result the Festus Tigers Boys Varsity Wrestlers were hoping for when they competed against Washington High School in a match on Thursday, January 28. Festus had been on quite a roll heading into the district tournament, but had a gut check against Washington. The Varsity squad faced stiff competition, and this time, did not get the job done, falling 42-34.
Wrestling at the 106 lb. weight class, Austin Neff started the night with a pin in 1:20 to get the Tigers out to an early 6-0 lead. The double forfeit at 113 kept the score the same. At 120, Washington picked up six forfeit points to tie the score. At 126, Carter Wallace got those free points back and made the score 12-6 for Festus.
At 132, up from his usual weight class, Andrew Nahlik took to the mat and earned a pin in 1:46 giving his team the lead 18-6. However, Washington would win the next three matches by pin to take the lead 24-18. Nahlik said he was bumped up strategically. “We figured if we bumped Carter up to get six points and me up because we figured I could pin that guy it would put us in a better spot to win as a team. I got the pin but it still wasn’t quite enough,” said Nahlik.
Robert Buehre, wrestling up a class at 160, earned four team points by winning a major decision victory 11-0, moving the score to 24-22. Washington then won by pin at 170 making it a 30-22 deficit for the Tigers.
Up next at 182 was team standout Luke Shaver ,who got it done with a pin in 1:08, cutting the lead down to two points, 30-28. Shaver has been excellent this season, and he stays ready all the time. Shaver said, “Wrestling with people that can push me, and weightlifting, is how I’m keeping my confidence and mental game sharp.”
However, Washington won the next match at 195 by pin making the score 36-28.
At 220, Chris Bentrup earned a forfeit for Festus making the score 36-34, putting it all on their heavyweight to get it done. Unfortunately, Washington won the final match by pin ending the dual with a final score of 42-34. Bentrup said, “We just have to clean up some moves and go harder!”
The Tigers will look to get back on the winning path this weekend as the Boys team will be competing in the Bob Georger tournament, while the Girls will be in the Seckman tournament. Nahlik said, “This weekend is a good warmup before sectionals and districts as it even includes some district and sectional opponents.”
Let’s hope the Tigers can find that fighting spirit that has been with them throughout the season.