FRONTENAC — Frontenac kicked off the 2016-17 wrestling season by hosting a dual with Cherryvale Thursday night, and the visiting Chargers came away with the 48-27 team victory.
The Raiders had to forfeit six matches to begin the evening, giving Cherryvale an insurmountable cushion. Four of those forfeits were due to four Frontenac wrestlers being suspended for a violation of team rules. In the eight matches the Raiders did wrestle, they won five, with four by pin.
“I look at this dual as a learning experience in a bunch of different ways,” Frontenac coach Keith Aikin said after the matches. “It was a learning experience about taking care of business on and off the mat so that it does not hurt the team, and it was a learning experience for some of these young kids to come out here and compete in their first big dual, and it was a learning experience for some moving up from jv to varsity. Tonight was about learning experiences.”
Sophomore Mason Jameson got Frontenac’s first points of the night with a pin of his opponent with 25 seconds to go in the first period at 132 pounds.
Wrestling at 138, sophomore Brendan Ishimura pinned his opponent with 15 seconds to go in the first period.
In a tight back-and-forth match which was tied deep into the third period, Frontenac’s Kooper Loy got pinned with just 31 seconds to go in the match, putting Cherryvale ahead in the dual 24-12.
Jordan Ishimura needed just 25 seconds to pin his opponent, doing so with an impressive rollover move from a front head lock.
In the marquee matchup of the evening at 170, Brandon Mlekus squared off with 3A state-ranked Colben Dodson.
Mlekus was up 4-1 after the first period and 6-3 after the second, but the action was frenetic in the closing period of the match.
Dodson came back to tie the match at 7-all with under 5 seconds to go, but just before the buzzer sounded, Mlekus managed to escape, earning the point and the 8-7 victory.
“That’s a tough match the very first match of the season,” Coach Aikin said. “Brandon did a good job, and he got real aggressive at the end to get that final point to keep it from going to overtime. Yet, Brandon won by wrestling that guy’s style, not his own style. That kid is tough, and Brandon wrestled him tough.”
At 220, Nathan Kaufman pinned his opponent with 20 seconds to go in the first period, ending the night for the Raiders.
“There are some things that we are going to have to change as far as forcing our style and make the other guy wrestle our style and submit to our will,” Aikin said.
In other wrestling news for Frontenac, the Raiders found out earlier in the afternoon that they had been picked to host a 4A Regional Championship Feb. 17-18.
The Raiders take part in a dual match at Labette County at 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday in Altamont.