CLEVELAND – Cleveland and Bradley have had some classic wrestling battles in the past, but Thursday night’s match at the Jones Wrestling Center wasn’t one of them.
Improving to 7-0 in dual meets, the Blue Raiders overcame an early 9-6 deficit to win the final nine matches for an impressive 52-9 win over the Bears.
The match began at 285 pounds and that may have been a turning point as Cleveland’s Nick Nicodemus recorded a 4-2 overtime decision over Austin McClure for an early 3-0 Cleveland lead. McClure had won by pin the last time these two met.
The Bears then won three of the next four matches, including an exciting 3-2 decision by Ethan Lipsey over defending state champ Bentley Ellison at 113 pounds.
The match was scoreless for the first two periods before Ellison got a reversal at the 1:37 mark of the third period. Lipsey then cut that lead in half with an escape with 22 seconds left and then scored the match-winning takedown at the buzzer.
Daniel James posted a 5-2 decision at 126 for a 9-6 Bradley lead, but Jackson Bradford and Trae McDaniel won the next two matches with pins and the Blue Raiders were on their way.
“That win at 285 by Nick was a big surprise and a huge improvement after he had gotten pinned by that guy last year,” said winning coach Joey Knox after a brief chat with his team.
“That first win really got us rolling. I was a little bit worried when Bradley won three of the next four, but our kids did a nice job of coming back.
“We have worked really hard to get to this point and we have to stay focused on the job at hand, but I was looking for some fight and we were able to get some later,” Knox added with a smile.
Bradley coach Ben Smith didn’t make any excuses.
“We just got whipped,” he blurted shortly after the final match ended.
“I thought we could win or at least be in six or seven matches, but Cleveland has a solid team and they’re very well coached. I was proud of our three who won and the first half of the match was fun, but there were some spots where we just didn’t have answers for them.
“Cleveland wrestled with a lot of confidence and did a great job overall, but we just got exposed. If we’re planning to meet them again in the region duals or the state duals, we have a lot of work to do. Right now, Cleveland has the better team, but I’m confident that we can perform better,” Smith concluded.
While the first five matches were decided by regular decisions, the Blue Raiders got maximum team points with six pins.
Bradford and McDaniel had the first two while Cael Laxton, Cody Chittum, Ben Grey and Ashton Davis also got pins, with Grey and Davis both prevailing in the first period.
Chittum had a pin in 3:15 at 160 pounds after building a 17-5 lead. The Blue Raider sophomore is now ranked number one nationally after beating the top-rated kid at 138 pounds at a national tournament in Lincoln, Nebraska where Chittum prevailed by a technical fall in only 55 seconds.
“That kid is tough. He’s been in our Kid’s Club and he went to school at Cleveland Middle. I thought he was impressive tonight,” praised Knox.
While Lipsey had the most significant win for Bradley, Bryson Terrell and Daniel James had the other two decisions.
Cleveland’s other winners included Tetoe Boyd with a major decision at 182. Arlo Laxton, Hagen Cooper and Desmond Prigmore had the other decisions for the Blue Raiders.
Cleveland will host the Region Duals on Saturday, Jan. 23 with plans to shoot for their fourth straight State Duals title on Feb. 6.
CLEVELAND 52, BRADLEY 9
(Match Began At 285 Pounds)
106 – Bryson Terrell (Brad) dec. Logan Fowler, 8-5;
113 – Ethan Lipsey (Brad) dec. Bentley Ellison, 3-2;
120 – Arlo Laxton (Clev) dec. Easton Lipsey, 10-6;
126 – Daniel James (Brad) dec. Blake Randall, 5-2;
132 – Jackson Bradford (Clev) pinned Taron Patterson, 3:23;
138 – Trae McDaniel (Clev) pinned Luke Belcher, 5:07;
145 – Hagen Cooper (Clev) dec. Anthony Lynn, 7-2;
152 – Cael Laxton (Clev) pinned Brayden Swallows, 2:39;
160 – Cody Chittum (Clev) pinned Benjamin Stanbeery, 3:15;
170 – Desmond Prigmore (Clev) dec. Knox Watson, 7-3;
182 – Tetoe Boyd (Clev) major dec. Wade Brooks, 10-2;
195 – Ben Grey (Clev) pinned Cody McDaniel, 1:35;
220 – Ashton Davis (Clev) pinned Brett Waters, 1:25;
285 – Nick Nicodemus (Clev) dec. Austin McClure, 4-2 in overtime.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)