The Jefferson City Jays closed Wednesday night's double dual in style.
The first dual, on the other hand ...
"When we go to a tournament, we can't let the first round be like that," Jays coach Phil Cagle said after Jefferson City defeated the Eldon Mustangs (51-25) and Battle Spartans (66-15) at Fleming Fieldhouse. "If you start wrestling in the second round, it's too late.
"We have got to work hard in practice (today) to make sure that doesn't happen this weekend at the Capital City Invitational."
The Jays had a little different lineup than normal in the opener against the Mustangs.
"We had some kids that needed some weigh-ins and some matches," Cagle said. "And it was good they got some experience."
Jefferson City and Eldon split the eight matches on the mat in the dual.
The Jays won three times by fall — Clayton Hurley in 3:39 at 132 pounds, Sam Rackers in :25 at 152 and Brandon Backues in 1:18 at 220. Xavier Adams had Jefferson City's other win, a 7-3 decision at 126.
It was Adams' varsity debut this season.
"He's going to have to fight to keep his position," Cagle said. "We're going to put the best kid we can find in that spot."
Jefferson City's four other wins came by forfeit.
Eldon got wins by Aiden Gerber at 120 (5-0 decision), Hunter Wallace at 138 (WBF in 4:23) and Dawson Brandt at 182 (16-3 decision). The Mustangs won once by forfeit.
The Jays won four matches by fall in the victory against the Spartans — Anakin Gray at 106 (3:13), Gabe Zimmerman at 160 (5:18), Dawson Prenger at 170 (1:29) and Backues at 220 (:38).
Gray and Zimmerman were patient in working their opponents onto their backs to get the falls.
"That's starting to come around as they get more experience," Cagle said. "Early in the year, some of these guys were all over the place and now they're more confident in their moves and body position and strength.
"They know they don't have to try to work somebody on their back really quick, they can do it smartly and slowly."
The other seven victories by the Jays came by forfeit.
Eldon defeated Battle 36-30 in Wednesday night's middle dual.
Jefferson City celebrated Senior Night prior to the dual against Battle.
"This has been a good senior class, they are good kids who have stuck with it and worked so hard," Cagle said.
Jefferson City is scheduled to host the Capital City Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
"A lot of the best kids in the state are going to be here," Cagle said. "This is going to be good for our good kids and for our kids that are still learning, it could be an eye-opening experience."
The bracketed tournament, featuring both varsity and junior varsity wrestlers, will begin at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
"The kids are fighting for themselves," Cagle said. "Districts and state are bracketed tournaments and that's what you're wrestling for.
"Dual tournaments are fun, but it's not the reality of high school wrestling at the end of the year."
The Jays will be back at full strength for the tournament.
"We'll have our regular lineup ready to go," Cagle said.
Action will resume at 9 a.m. Saturday, with the finals scheduled to begin around 5 p.m.