Mesa State loses final home dual
Brightman gets squad off to hot start, but Mavs fall short
They were oh so close, but yet so far.
Several Mesa State College wrestlers came within a couple of points of victories, but ran out of time.
San Francisco State withstood a flurry of Mesa State rallies to defeat the Mavericks 27-9 in an RMAC dual in front of 274 on Sunday afternoon at Brownson Arena. It was Mesa’s last home dual of the season. The Mavericks (4-7-1, 3-5-1 RMAC) wrestle Thursday at No. 14 Chadron State (6-4-1, 3-1-1 RMAC) then have a week off before the NCAA Division II West Regional.
“We pushed clear to the end,” Mesa State coach Chuck Pipher said. “With that said, you can’t give up that many points early and that’s what got us today.
“The guys wrestled a lot better. We have nothing to be ashamed of. It’s all practice until regionals.”
The Gators (8-5, 3-1 RMAC), who dropped out of the National Wrestling Coaches Association Top 20 rankings last week, held on to win five matches that came down to the final seconds to secure the victory over the young and banged up Mavericks.
“There are a lot of variable that play into it,” Pipher said. “If you look at it, today should’ve been the day we don’t wrestle well. Three days later, it was all reversed.
“We got behind early and battled back. We’ve got to score the first points. That changes the whole dynamics of a match. Not only did they score first, but they were scoring back points.”
Mesa freshman Luke Laurita (3-6), wrestling up a weight class, was on his back and on the verge of being pinned in the third period of the 197-pound match when all of a sudden he slipped out of Vincent Bordi’s grasp, then took Bordi down before he knew it for a five-point move. Time ran out before Laurita could get a pin, allowing Bordi to hold on for a 16-12 win.
Another freshman, Miguel Baltazar (7-16), rallied from a 7-0 deficit to tie the 125-pound match 10-10 with a flurry of takedowns. Pierre Bondoc escaped for a point and received a point for more than a minute of riding time for a 12-10 win. Bondoc wrestled in place of No. 1-ranked and All-American Curtis Schurkamp.
Rhett Breed (12-8), another Mesa freshman, fell behind 4-0, but came back to tie the 133-pound match 10-10. Naveed Bagheri escaped for an 11-10 victory.
Junior Jason Wenger (6-14) mounted a third-period rally similar to Laurita, Baltazar and Breed, but ran out of time in a 12-11 loss to Ben Lockett at 141.
Chris Holzworth found himself trailing 8-2 going into the third period. The 149-pound redshirt freshman (7-9) rallied with the help of a couple penalty points only to lose 12-9.
Mesa State’s Chase Walker (23-4), ranked third in the nation at 157, ended the six-match losing streak with an 8-1 domination of Markham Bertron.
Redshirt freshman Kyle Brightman got the Mavericks off to a good start in the first match of the dual with a 9-5 win at 174 pounds.
“Before the dual, I was telling Andy (Laiminger) I want to go first,” Brightman said. “I wanted to set the tempo. Plus, I like getting it done. I was warm and ready to go.”
Brightman (8-15) scored three takedowns in the first period and another early in the second period to lead 8-2. Duckwall scored a takedown in the third period, but Brightman held on.
Laiminger (8-16) pushed the Mavericks lead to 6-0 with a 9-3 decision over Marques Gales.
“It felt good,” Laiminger said. “I’ve been wrestling well, but I’ve struggled to win lately.
“I wrestled with nothing to lose. I need to pick it up. I wasn’t having fun before.”
The Gators won by forfeit at 165 pounds with Cole Johnson resting a pulled hamstring.
“If we would’ve had Cole (Johnson), that would’ve helped,” Pipher said. “Hopefully, we’ll get him back in a week or two.”
Pipher could’ve pulled a redshirt wrestler to wrestle in Johnson’s place, but didn’t want to waste the redshirt for two or three matches.
Pipher hopes to have Cole Johnson, Keith Johnson, James Breidel and Trevor Stapp back in time for regionals if not Thursday’s dual at Chadron. All four are out with injuries.