With the stands filled with cheering fans, and a single light highlighting the action on the mat, the dual meet between Cedaredge and Paonia on Thursday, Jan. 12, was filled with anticipation and drama. And with two evenly matched teams, the competition certainly delivered. The dual was held in Cedaredge.
Paonia got off to a quick start, with Grey Neal winning the opening match, at 132-lb., by default. It was followed up with Sackett Chesnik winning an 8-2 decision over David Shipman in the 138-lb. division. Paonia junior Clay Campbell gave his team three more points with an 8-4 decision over Cedaredge junior Colton Hoerr.
Paonia looked to be running away with a win, holding a 12-0 team score.
Cedaredge's Jerod Hulteen, at 152-lb., gave the Bruins their first points of the night with a tough-fought 4-0 decision over Cyrus Baxter.
Senior Zach Anderson brought the home crowd to life when he pinned Paonia's Jessie Bruns in the closing moments of the second period of the 160-lb. match.
Brandon O'Hern propelled the Bruins ahead 15-12 with a dramatic pin in the first period of his 170-lb. match against Paonia's Anthony Felice.
In equally dramatic fashion, Paonia answered back when Jaden Miller pinned Toby Wadell in the first period. Miller's win pushed Paonia back in front 18-15.
Cedaredge regained the lead at 21-18 with a default win for Tre Labossiere in the 195-lb. division.
Paonia senior Trevor Smith won his 220-lb. match against sophomore Todd Vanderline with an impressive 9-2 decision. This knotted the team scores at 21-21 with five matches left.
In one of the more exciting matches of the night, heavyweights Cyrus Malik Madani of Paonia and Tory Wilson were evenly matched. Madani pulled out a 4-3 decision, giving the Eagles a 24-21 lead as the action shifted to the lighter weights.
At 106-lb., Paonia's Zeb Etter and Cedaredge's Ryan Imhoff were knotted at 4-4 in the third period when Imhoff went a little high and Etter gained the upper hand and a win by pin. Paonia was up 30-21.
Brian Hoerr gave the Bruins an important win in the 113-lb. division, pinning Paonia's Dillon Coe in the first period.
The win excited the crowd, filling the gym with cheers and shouts of encouragement as Paonia's Gabe Ferguson faced off against Cedaredge's Sean Dale at 120-lb. The two battled to a 2-2 tie after one and Dale moved out to an 8-4 lead after two periods. Ferguson surged back in the final period to win an exciting 13-11 decision. The win put the Eagles firmly in front at 33-27.
The final matchup of the night was Paonia's Eli Etter and Cedaredg'e Alex McCracken at 126-lb.
Etter clinched the win for the Eagles when he pinned McCracken in the third period.
The Eagles won the dual by the score of 39-27.