Big advantage: Western’s three upper weight wrestlers difference in Mesa loss
Western State’s three upper weights wrestlers were too much for the Mavericks.
The 13th-ranked Mountaineers halted a Mesa rally, led by former Hotchkiss wrestler Charlie Pipher, to defeat Mesa State 27-15 in front of 1,025 fans Thursday night at Brownson Arena.
“The last two times we wrestled (the Mountaineers), I felt we could battle with these guys,” Mesa State coach Chuck Pipher said. “We let too many little things happen in one match. There were too many shoulda, coulda, wouldas that hurt us. You can’t win three matches and win a dual.”
The Mountaineers (10-5, 6-1 RMAC) won six matches, including one forfeit, one pin and one technical fall.
Charlie Pipher, Chuck’s son, clinched the victory with an 11-1 victory over Mesa’s Kyle Brightman. It was Brightman’s first loss in his past 10 matches.
“My goal was to make a match out of it,” Brightman said. “If the win was there, I’d go for the win, but he’s not No. 2 in the nation for no reason. I think I can wrestle him better at regionals.”
Western State built an 18-0 lead with the aid of a forfeit at 141 pounds, but Mesa State (6-7, 3-4 RMAC) rallied.
Jon Gappmaier started the rally with a takedown in the final seconds to defeat Justin Morris 5-4 at 157 pounds.
“I just threw it and felt him go to his back, so I threw my legs over the top,” Gappmaier said. “It was a scramble for the takedown and it went in my favor.”
It was Gappmaier’s first win over the eighth-ranked Morris in three meetings this season.
“Gappmaier didn’t quit,” Chuck Pipher said. “He kept going. You can look at it as a questionable call and it could’ve gone either way, but I felt 125 had a questionable call as well. You win some and you lose some.”
Mesa’s Chester Granard kept the momentum on the Mavericks’ side with a 6-2 decision over University of Oregon transfer Zack Frazier.
“It was kind of like the last Western match-up in Gunnison,” Granard said. “We had an intermission and everyone was telling me I’ve got to get the momentum going and I did. He’s a tough kid. I knew he would be coming for me. I knew I had to wrestle smart.”
Zak Slotten followed with a 3-2 nail-biter over Jorge Benitez at 174 to cut Mesa’s gap to 18-9.
Mesa’s Rhett Breed was going to wrestle his first varsity match of the season, but didn’t make weight, forcing the Mavericks to forfeit at 141 pounds. Shane Miller sustained a concussion last week and wasn’t cleared to wrestle. Paonia’s Korey Kennedy wrestled his first varsity match in his four years at Mesa in Miller’s place and drew national champion Donovan McMahill. McMahill defeated Kennedy by technical fall in 6:26.
“He went out and battled,” Pipher said. “He didn’t bat an eye when I said it looks like you may be going. He did fine. Korey is a battler.”