Helias wrestling falls to Rock Bridge

It may not have shown up in the final score, but Helias wrestling coach Jacob Wadley saw the progress the Crusaders made in the practice room in the nearly one month since their last dual.

“There were a lot of small things that we were making mistakes on, things we’re struggling with and now a lot of those things are gone,” Wadley said after the Crusaders dropped a 57-18 decision Thursday night to the Rock Bridge Bruins at Rackers Fieldhouse. “When you get past those small things, you’re going to stay in a lot more matches.

“You’re going to be fighting a lot longer and give yourself a fighting chance.”

And with the Crusaders getting the opportunities, Wadley is using their matches to help his team take the next step.

“It helps me see what I need to do to help them, to see what I need to focus on to help them,” he said. “I’m learning right along with them and it’s a joy to learn and grow with them.”

Helias won just one of the 10 contested matches in the dual.

At 126 pounds, Ty Luebbering of the Crusaders scored a win by fall in :48 against David Fang of the Bruins.

“During the break, Ty made some steps to become a better wrestler,” Wadley said.

Helias’ other victories came by forfeits — Logan Distler at 170 and Alex Schwinke at 195.

One of the more entertaining matches of the dual came at 106 pounds where Nick Gaines of Helias squared off against Brock Davis of Rock Bridge.

Gaines led 4-0 after one period and 6-3 heading into the final two minutes. And if the third period had been two minutes and three seconds, Gaines might have gotten the victory.

Davis used a pair of near-falls to take a 10-7 lead with :50 remaining. The two swapped points from there, with Gaines scoring a reversal with :01 left and had Davis on his back as time expired in a 13-11 decision.

“Nick beat that kid on heart, that kid beat Nick on funk,” Wadley said. “(Davis) has a couple of slick moves, but Nick kept fighting and getting back in the match. We just didn’t have enough time.”

One of the highlight matches came at 145, where state medal contenders Jacob Schulte of Helias and Samuel Crane of Rock Bridge met. Crane used a first-period takedown to take a 2-0 lead into the final period before scoring a win by fall in 4:55.

“Jacob did a good job of keeping his position and fighting,” Wadley said. “He was doing the right things, but credit Crane for recognizing something and in a split second, making the right decision to win the match.”

Rock Bridge is ranked No. 5 in Class 4 by MissouriWrestling.com.

“They are a solid team up and down the lineup,” Wadley said.

Helias was without senior Slater Schrimpf. He has an injured thumb and is being held out as a precaution.

“As long as he is comfortable with his conditioning, he can go out there whenever he wants,” Wadley said.

The Crusaders are back in action Saturday in the Gateway to the Best Duals in St. Charles. Helias is in a pool along with Granite City (Ill.), Mater Dei of Evansville (Ind.), Farmington, Merriville (Ind.) and Union County (Ky.).

“We’re going to get a lot of good matches, we will be tested,” Wadley said. “It’s going to be a lot of high-level competition.”

The event, hosted by C.B.C., will be held at Lindenwood University.

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