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story.lead_photo.caption Helias' Curtis Rockers tries to twist out of the grasp of Jefferson City's Michael Friederich during a 170-pound match Wednesday at Rackers Fieldhouse. Friederich won with a first-period pin. Photo by Liv Paggiarino / News Tribune.

For years, wrestling duals started at the lowest weight and worked their way up.

A few years ago, the option of doing a blind draw of any of the 14 weights was made available.

Wednesday night, the Helias Crusaders were willing to start at 106 pounds. The Jefferson City Jays wanted a draw, so that's what happened and it decided the annual crosstown showdown would start at 182.

It may have played a big role in deciding the dual.

"It was big for us," Jays coach Phil Cagle said after Jefferson City topped Helias 54-21. "We got lucky with the draw coming out at 182, we know that.

"It was one of a lot of things that went our way tonight."

The Jays earned maximum team points in the first four matches to close out the upper weights to take an early 24-0 lead.

"The draw didn't allow us the opportunity get rolling where we're good," Helias coach Weston Keleher said. "They took the momentum and ran with it.

"It was a good decision on their part, it worked out well for them."

At 182, Jakiel Hayes of the Jays led 9-2 after one period before scoring a fall in 3:01. At 195, Dawson Prenger scored a quick takedown and converted that into a quick fall in just :39.

Helias was open at 220 and 285 and in less than two periods of mat time, Jefferson City grabbed the 24-point lead.

The Crusaders got on the board with a forfeit victory at 106 to start what they hoped would be a strong run through the lower weights.

Gavin Adams got Helias' first win on the mat in the dual, taking a 10-2 major decision at 113. Jack Lage of the Crusaders then picked up a set of back points at the third-period buzzer to close out a win by technical fall at 120 to cut the Jays lead to 24-15.

"Jack battled to the end and got us an extra point with the tech fall," Keleher said.

At 126, Hunter Walling of the Jays scored the final five points of the third period to take a 10-5 victory and snatch back the momentum from the Crusaders.

"Hunter did very good job, we've been on him a lot to get better and he's listening and allowing himself to be coached," Cagle said. "That's the key, if a kid is coachable, they can get better and wrestle like Hunter did tonight."

At 132, JoeJoe Kuster scored all of his points in the third period in a 4-3 victory that brought Cagle out of his chair in celebration.

"That was huge, it was huge," Cagle said.

That victory gave Jefferson City a 30-15 advantage.

"Our little kids just wrestled great," Cagle said. "Helias has great kids in the smaller weights, we figured we would do well in the upper weights, but if they got on a roll early in the lower weights, it would make it tough."

Keleher was looking for a few more points from the Crusaders at that point of the dual.

"We didn't wrestle well in the lower weights, that's where we get a lot of our wins," he said. "We needed to get some bonus points in those matches and we didn't get enough of them."

Aleksey Salaz of the Crusaders picked up Helias' final win in the dual at 138, winning by fall in :51.

"Aleksey was workman-like and got a fall," Keleher said.

Jefferson City won the final four matches by fall, only one getting out of the first period.

Sam Rackers won in :31 at 145, while Will Kuster scored a pin in 1:59 at 152. In one of the better matches of the night, Will Berendzen scored a win by fall in 5:53 against Nikolai Careaga.

"That was a very good match and win by Will, Careaga is a very good wrestler," Cagle said.

Mike Freidrich of the Jays closed out the dual with a win in 1:16 at 170.

"We wanted to just stay even tonight, not let things get to us," Cagle said. "And we did that. I am so proud of our kids, we did a good job."

And got bragging rights for the next 360-plus days.

"It's important for a year," Cagle said. "We've been fortunate to come out on top in the last few years, before that, Helias came out on top a lot.

"It's probably going to change, our numbers are down with the school split and Helias has a good, young team. They could be back on top here pretty quick."

But that didn't make the Crusaders feel any better Wednesday night.

"We didn't win a toss-up match," Keleher said. "It didn't work out, everything we tried didn't work out."

On Friday and Saturday, Jefferson City is scheduled to wrestle at the Hickman Tournament while Helias is slated to be at the Platte County Invitational.

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