Learning experience

Rock Bridge coach John Kopnisky tests Bruins against his father’s team.
Sunday, December 21, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:22 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Competition crossed generations at the Rock Bridge Tournament of Champions on Saturday.

Rock Bridge coach John Kopnisky faced his father when the Bruins wrestled against Carmel (Ind.) and its coach, Bob Kopnisky, in the fourth round.

Carmel defeated the Bruins 53-9 and won the team title with 217 points. Hannibal was second with 172 and the Bruins third with 100 points. Marshall and Boonville also competed.

John Kopnisky said that he felt different before the dual, but once it started it was all business.

“He knows that I’m not going to give him anything, and he’s not going to give me anything, “ John Kopnisky said.

Bob Kopnisky said he brought his team to Rock Bridge to promote dual tournaments.

“These tournaments keeps kids involved,” Bob Kopnisky said. “Otherwise they’re sitting around if they’re two and out.”

In dual tournaments, teams compete throughout the event, regardless of outcomes in past rounds. Team points, pins, technical falls, major decisions and first points scored determined the tournament’s individual winners.

John Kopnisky said that dual-style tournaments build team unity. Bruins 171-pounder Erin Slate agreed and said he is more motivated when wrestling for his team than at an individual tournament.

“It’s also better because I know when I’m wrestling and I can prepare,” Slate said.

The Bruins (4-2-1) did not win a weight division. Carmel (15-0) won seven. Slate was 3-1, including a Marshall forfeit.

Slate lost 9-8 to Carmel’s Brendan Davitt, who won the division. Davitt pulled ahead in the second period with a reversal and three-point near fall. Slate came back with a reversal and two-point near fall, but Davitt escaped for a point. Slate’s reversal was the only scoring in the third period.

Slate defeated Boonville’s Aaron Rapp 4-3 in the first dual. He started strong with a takedown and two-point near fall in the first, but didn’t score again. Rapp had an escape and a takedown.

Hannibal (11-1) defeated the Bruins 51-10, with Slate and Chris Hardesty (135 pounds) gaining the Bruins’ only wins. Slate pinned Jim Howe in 1:29, and Hardesty won a 13-0 major decision against Ben Snerman.

Hardesty was 3-1 at the tournament, losing to eventual champion, Bryan Gaskill of Carmel, 8-0. Hannibal (11-1) entered the tournament undefeated, but Carmel beat it 38-16 in the third round.

Bob Kopnisky said his son is not one to call and ask for advice on coaching.

“He’s been doing this for a while,” Bob Kopnisky said. “He was a fine technician even in high school.”

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