A Grand victory: No. 9 Mavs edge No. 11 Antelopes

Passehl pin paves way to victory for CMU

Colorado Mesa freshman Jonathon Stelling gestures to the crowd after beating defending national champion Kyle McCrite of Grand Canyon, 4-2.

Jordan Passehl was trying to complete a takedown and ended up with a pin that gave the Colorado Mesa University wrestling team possibly its biggest dual victory since the program was reinstated seven years ago.

The 197-pound sophomore was on top of Marcus Haughian of Grand Canyon (Ariz.) University when Haughian tried to grab Passehl’s ankle but rolled on his back. Passehl kept his foot over Haughian’s shoulder for the pin Thursday, securing the No. 9 Mavericks’ 21-18 victory over the No. 11 Antelopes for first place in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Passehl pinned Haughian in 6 minutes, 22 seconds for a 21-12 lead with one match left.

“That one I was high up on his hips,” Passehl said. “I squeezed, sat back, and I kind of felt it. I saw he was flat, and I was just hoping (the official) would see it.”

Passehl admitted he’s never pinned an opponent that way before, and he once pinned a wrestler in a tilt.

“I don’t know ... I’m glad it happened. I’m glad it was there,” he said.

“That was just a defensive pin,” CMU coach Chuck Pipher said. “The thing about that was he was flat before he was flat. He was flat for three seconds before he called it a pin. That kid pinned himself, no doubt.”

Colorado Mesa (18-1, 4-0 RMAC) opened the dual with an upset victory at 125 pounds.

“I didn’t want to start at 25s,” Pipher said. “We drew, and we pulled out 25s. He (Grand Canyon coach R.C. LaHaye) wanted to start there because he had bookends. He has a returning national champ at 25s and a kid ranked third at heavyweight, but it worked out in our favor, really.”

Freshman Jonathon Stelling won a 4-2 decision over Grand Canyon senior Kyle McCrite, who won the NCAA Division II 125-pound national title last season.

“I knew that he had to defend his title,” Stelling said. “I’ve never been in that position in my life, but I know it’s hard. When people know who you are, they go after you a little bit longer. I knew if I kept with it, he would wear out. I knew he was a big weight-cutter and would gas by the third period.”

Stelling scored first with a takedown, but McCrite escaped, then escaped again to tie the match 2-2 in the second period. Stelling won the match with a takedown in the final period.

“I wanted to keep a steady pace and work in my shots,” Stelling said. “Whenever he didn’t expect it, I had to go (for a takedown shot). I didn’t get my main shot in, unfortunately, but on a guy like him, it’s definitely a challenge. Once I got that first shot, I knew I could go for a second.”

Grand Canyon (12-5, 4-1 RMAC) won the next three matches, including two in overtime, for a 9-3 lead.

Mesa 149-pound sophomore James Martinez rallied from a 4-1 deficit to take a 5-4 lead over eighth-ranked Bobby Ward in the third period. Martinez was attempting a guillotine when he was whistled for an illegal hold, tying the score 5-5. Martinez allowed Ward to escape, hoping he could score a takedown before time expired, but he was unsuccessful.

“The thing about it is, it’s one thing if he just cranks back, but he was taking (his arm) back easy,” Pipher said of the illegal-hold call. “You don’t call an illegal hold when it’s going back easy. Call potentially dangerous before it gets to that.”

Mesa’s Jon Gappmaier came through with a 5-3 victory at 157 pounds, and Tyler Miles, wrestling in place of Chester Granard, pinned Juan Carlos Maynes in 2:37 to give the Mavs a 12-9 lead.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Miles said. “I’ve never seen him before. I wanted to wrestle solid. I ended up getting that takedown and cradled him up. I felt better about it.”

“Tyler is tough on top,” Pipher said. “He runs that cross-face cradle, which he did in high school.

“For him, it was huge to get that first takedown because he has a tough time getting takedowns.”

Zak Slotten had a successful return from a minor hip injury with a 7-6 victory at 174 pounds, but Grand Canyon kept in it with a 3-1 victory at 184 pounds.

Then it was up to Passehl, who made sure the dual didn’t come down to the heavyweights, where Grand Canyon’s Tyrell Fortune, ranked third in the nation, pinned Paco Retana in 2:58.


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