For all but a few minutes Tuesday night, the coach’s chair on Hickman’s side of the wrestling mat was vacant.
Coach J.D. Coffman stood for the duration of the dual meet and bark-ed orders and words of encouragement to his wrestlers.
He was hoping to push them to victory against the rival Rock Bridge Bruins. The only time he sat down was to take notes. The Bruins cruised to a 50-25 victory, leaving the Kewpies with nothing but a missed opportunity at bragging rights.
“Whether it’s a dual or a tournament, I’m usually a little hoarse the next day; a little raspy,” Coffman said. “Anytime you’re in a bragging rights type of match, you like to win. I’m trying to be as emotional as I can to get the kids fired up.”
Coffman’s efforts worked early in the dual. Hickman took a 13-6 lead after winning three of the first four matches.
K.C. Pescaglia (125 pounds) and Korey Skala (135) each won by decision for the Kewpies.
Aaron Brady (140) won by pin in a match that lasted 1 minute, 45 seconds.
But Rock Bridge took control with four consecutive wins, all in dominating fashion. Brady Wilson (145) and Jake Hardesty (152) each won by decision, and Matt McDonald (160) and Cam Purcell (171) won by pin.
“It was one after the other,” said Rock Bridge coach John Kopnisky. “It just kept going.”
Zach Arnold, an 189-pound senior recently elected captain by his teammates, ended the Bruins’ streak with a one-sided match of his own. He pinned Jake Konrardy in 42 seconds.
But Jason Richards snatched the momentum right back for the Bruins with a quick pin of Tim Temple in the 215-pound match.
“Jason’s match was huge. It was critical. It was one of those things where anything could have happened at that point,” Kopnisky said. “It could have gone either way with both teams. Not only did it help us point wise, but it started that momentum with everyone else.”
Kopnisky said that getting a win in Tuesday’s dual was important for his wrestlers.
“To the kids, this is a big deal. Yesterday, they were really intense when working out,” he said. “The seniors made sure that these young guys understood how much this means to Rock Bridge. Getting a victory like this, you know, it’s just fantastic.”