WARDSVILLE, Mo. — There was plenty of wrestling action in Tuesday night's double-duals with the Blair Oaks Falcons, the Helias Crusaders and the Fatima Comets.
With only seven forfeits in the three duals combined, Helias came away with two big wins, routing Fatima 57-16 and Blair Oaks 49-15.
"We were able to push the pace and win some tough matches," Helias coach Weston Keleher said. "It was a good night for us."
The first dual of the night was much closer, coming down to the final match. Blair Oaks was able to rally and beat Fatima 36-33.
"Overall, it was a good night," Blair Oaks coach Mike DeMilia said. "We want to wrestle competition, we don't get any better by wrestling teams that don't fight back."
Helias had six wrestlers finish the night with 2-0 records: Jack Lage at 120 pounds, Evan Winder at 132, Nikolai Careaga at 145, Jackson Careaga at 152, Noah Wieberg at 220 and Tanner Nappier at 285.
Keleher was especially pleased with the performances by Locke and Nappier, who stepped up from the JV roster to wrestle varsity.
"They showed up and they worked hard and got some wins," Keleher said. "Tanner Nappier is 220 pounds on JV, and he gets two wins on the varsity level at heavyweight."
Lage and Winder each won both of their matches by fall. The Careagas both won by fall in their matches against Fatima.
"It's nice to come in and have these anchors throughout your lineup," Keleher said.
The Crusaders had a scare in their dual against Fatima. At 138, Blake Wiles of the Comets threw Helias' Randy Salaz down to the mat for a takedown.
Salaz didn't move shortly thereafter, and wrestling was stopped for 30 minutes as paramedics tended to Salaz, who left the gym on a stretcher. Keleher said there was concern about an injury to Salaz's lower back.
"We've heard from him, and they've got him moving into some positions where he's feeling better," Keleher said. "We're going to stay positive and pray that he has a good recovery and that he's healthy here soon."
The first dual of the night featured two of the top wrestlers in Class 1 going head-to-head. Fatima's Lucas Laux is ranked No. 2 at 120 by MissouriWrestling.com, while Blair Oaks' Dalton Bridges is No. 3 at 126.
They faced each other at 126, and Bridges was going for the early pin, taking a 5-0 lead with a takedown and a 3-point nearfall in the first 30 seconds.
"Dalton is as talented a kid as there is around," DeMilia said. " He wrestled well, and Laux is a good kid, he's tough."
Laux rallied to score the next eight points. He finished the match with a pin in 5:15 to beat Bridges.
"We bumped him up tonight because we wanted to see that matchup," Fatima coach Kurt Strope said of Laux, who was the state runner-up last season as a freshman at 113. "Those are the matchups we want to see during the regular season, leading into districts and leading into state."
Helias' Alexsey Salaz came away with a 2-0 win against Laux, while Bridges was able to win by major decision, 11-3, against Salaz, ensuring each wrestler a 1-1 finish Tuesday.
In the only other matchup that featured two ranked opponents, Fatima's Jason Strope (No. 4 at 106 in Class 1) won a 9-8 decision in the final seconds against Helias' Gavin Adams (No. 5 at 106 in Class 3).
Blair Oaks fell behind 18-3 after four matches against Fatima, but the two teams were tied at 30 with two matches to go.
Fatima's Caleb Reinkemeyer won a 4-3 decision against Blair Oaks' Connor Wilson at 220, making it all come down to 285.
Austin Lange of Blair Oaks sealed the dual win for his team, getting a win by fall in 2:44 against Fatima's Conner Temmen.
"Austin's a freshman, and anytime you wrestle a freshman at heavyweight, you're going to take some lumps once in a while," DeMilia said. " I'm not sure how much he understood the circumstances, if he knew the dual was riding on him, but the way he responded, that was good to see."
Finishing 2-0 for Blair Oaks were Ben Thomas at 160 and Kyler Griep at 182. Austin Baumhoer (132) and Levi Haney (152) each won by fall against Fatima.
Jason Strope (106), Alex Even (113), Wiles and Jason Woodruff (195) each went 2-0 for Fatima. The Comets entered Tuesday with a 9-1 record in duals.
"We had some good rivalries in here tonight," Kurt Strope said. "We came close (against Blair Oaks) and we had some close matches (against Helias). It was exciting and put us in the right position as we come into the end of the season."
Fatima wrestles Thursday at Versailles in a quad-dual against the Tigers, Tipton and Warsaw, while Blair Oaks competes Saturday in the Warsaw Tournament. Helias is off until next Tuesday, when it wrestles in a dual at Sedalia Smith-Cotton.