Bradley and Baylor are always at the top of their respective divisions in high school wrestling and these two teams without a doubt have won more state titles, both as a team and as individuals, than anyone, so it’s always fun to see these two teams square off in a dual meet.
They probably won’t see each other again this season, but it’s always a good measuring stick for both teams seeing just where they are early in the season. Both are always ranked in the state poll where Baylor is ranked first this week and Bradley fourth.
They met at Baylor’s Jimmy Duke Arena Tuesday evening where Baylor won 10 of the 14 individual matches and remained unbeaten with the 45-21 victory.
Baylor opened its season at Boyd Buchanan on Monday where they cruised by an outmanned group of Buccaneers, but Tuesday’s match was a bit different as the Bears have a full lineup and a nice group of really good wrestlers with lots of experience.
Baylor coach Rex Kendle was just interested to see how his team stacked up as the Red Raiders graduated eight young men from last year’s state championship team and only four of Tuesday’s starters were in the lineup a year ago.
And with at least three football players still not in the lineup, Kendle was mostly pleased with what he saw.
“That was a big win for us. Bradley will be in the hunt this year as they always are and I feel like this is one of their better teams, so I really just wanted to see where we stand so early in the season,” Kendle said after the three exhibition matches had ended.
“This really is a brand new team for us as only four were in the starting lineup last year, but I liked what I saw for the most part. There are several spots that need some attention, but overall I thought we did well,” the youthful coach added.
Perhaps the most impressive wrestler for Baylor on Tuesday was Logan Paradise, a sophomore transfer from Georgia who is at Baylor for the first time. He defeated Bradley’s Luke Belcher by a 6-0 decision by scoring all of his points in the final period.
“This is the first time in four years that we’ve beaten Luke Belcher. But when it’s a battle of wills, bet on him because he’s a pretty good kid,” Kendle nodded with a smile.
Bradley coach Ben Smith has lost more than his share of matches to Baylor, but he also knows that good competition will only help his team on down the road and that’s why this match remains on the Bears’ schedule.
They’ve had some real battles in years past and Tuesday’s match was close for a while, but Smith was quick to admit that his team can’t afford to give up five pins if they expect to win matches like this.
“We always wrestle Baylor for the experience as this helps prepare us for on down the road, but you’ve got to show up and fight. I’m not so sure we did that tonight,” the veteran coach expressed.
“We had a good weekend and I thought we were ready to wrestle when we got here, but we just got our tails whipped. We lacked a sense of fight and urgency and that’s not like us, but we can’t afford to get pinned five times and lose all the close ones if we expect to win matches like this.
“It should have been a closer match, but they stepped on the throttle and we backed down. You have to get bonus points and win some of the close ones and we did neither here tonight,” Smith said, his team now 4-2 on the season.
The match began at 170 pounds where Baylor’s Odin Phillips gave his team the early lead with a 3-1 decision. The team score was 2-0 after a team point was taken away when Phillips tossed his headgear when the match ended.
Omaury Alvarez made it 6-0 with a major decision at 182 before Lane Hicks knotted the score with Bradley’s only pin at 195.
Gilbert Stein put Baylor back on top with a 5-2 decision at 220 before back-to-back-to-back pins from Dylan Crawford, Oliver Phillips and Jacob Bond extended Baylor’s lead to 27-6.
Bryson Terrell claimed a forfeit at 120, Elijah McKenzie won by major decision at 126 and Ethan Lipsey won by technical fall at 132 to get Bradley within six at 27-21 before the Red Raiders won the last four matches to win going away.
Bradley returns to action on Saturday in the Al Miller Cleveland Duals. The Bears lost by a point to Cleveland two weekends ago at the Vandergriff Duals at Hixson, so Saturday’s gathering could be quite interesting. Baylor will split their team for the weekend with several going to a big tournament in Cleveland, Ohio while the others will take part in the McCallie Invitational.
BAYLOR 45, BRADLEY 21
(Match began at 170 pounds)
106 – Oliver Phillips (Bay) pinned Bryson Moats, 1:41;
113 – Jacob Bond (Bay) pinned Miguel Rincon, 1:16;
120 – Bryson Terrell (Brad) won by forfeit;
126 – Elijah McKenzie (Brad) major dec. N.Y. Cofer, 9-1;
132 – Ethan Lipsey (Brad) won by technical fall over Chase Hart, 5:14;
138 – Nate Askew (Bay) pinned Tyee Crisp, 4:27;
145 – Logan Paradise (Bay) dec. Luke Belcher, 6-0;
152 – Micah Tisdale (Bay) pinned Jake Fox, 4:49;
160 – Hunter Sturgill (Bay) dec. Gunner Taylor, 7-2;
170 – Odin Phillips (Bay) dec. Wade Brooks, 3-1;
182 – Omaury Alvarez (Bay) major dec. Knox Watson, 11-3;
195 – Lane Hicks (Brad) pinned William Latimer, 3:27;
220 – Gilbert Stein (Bay) dec. Tristen Robinson, 5-2;
285 – Dylan Crawford (Bay) pinned Aadyn Hubbard, :27.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)