Edgren, Kinnick capture dual-meet titles
No doubt, he said, he was happy to do his part to help Robert D. Edgren wrestling capture its fourth straight Far East Division II Tournament banner and Pacific-best eighth overall.
But the senior 148-pounder said that it came against his old school, Osan, was bittersweet.
“Mixed emotions,” said Lovett, who scored a pin over ex-teammate Brenden Becker in 1 minute, 55 seconds to help the Eagles pull away from the Cougars for a 46-16 triumph in Saturday’s D-II dual final.
Five years ago, Lovett began to learn the craft under Eagles coach Justin Edmonds as a seventh-grader, then transferred to Osan and began wrestling for Cougars coach Duke Allen in the ninth grade.
Lovett says he and Allen have remained friends all this time and talk to each other on Facebook. But then last March came a move back to Misawa Air Base and to Eagles green and gold.
“I got to start under Coach Edmonds and I got to finish under him and it just so happens I go up against Coach Allen in the final,” Lovett said. “I had mixed emotions about the match, but in the end, it was all about the win.”
Repeat championships weren’t confined to just the D-II.
For the second straight year, Nile C. Kinnick captured the Division I dual final, rallying from a 19-7 deficit to beat St. Mary’s 29-26. It was the ninth Far East banner in the program’s history.
Liam Knowles (101) and Gabrielle Gomez (108) put Edgren up early 9-0 with a pin and a technical fall, but Osan answered with Cory Harding’s pin at 115.
The tide turned for good, Lovett said, during the 122-pound bout, when Edgren’s Kade Sundvall outlasted Osan’s Sam Kim 15-12, a back-and-forth battle that Sundvall won with a late one-point pushout and a takedown.
“That was our tone-setter,” said Lovett, whose teammates followed with five straight pins, then a tech fall by 180-pounder Patrick Sledge to close it. The teams traded walkover victories after that.
“We knew Cade was going to have a tough match with Sam Kim; he’s a heck of a wrestler,” Lovett said of another ex-teammate. “When he (Sundvall) got the W, it was like the momentum just went on.”
While Edgren was busy racking up pins, Kinnick’s wrestlers were busy staying off their backs, something that Red Devils coach Gary Wilson said was instrumental in staying close enough to the Titans that Kinnick was able to finish with a rush at the upper weights.
Not one Kinnick wrestler lost by pin.
Instead of surrendering five points per pin loss, the Red Devils only allowed three for a basic decision and four for a tech, and even scored a classification point in three of their losses, by Matt Abrenilla (108), Vincent Soiles (122) and Brady Yoder (148).
“That was huge, picking up those one points,” Wilson said, adding that “we came in with a plan,” and had assistant coach Dustin Haney sit with each of the wrestlers individually to outline the expectation. “I feel like we were never really forced. We were able to go through according to plan.”
Tech-fall victories by Dre Paylor (168) and Dwayne Lyon (180) followed along with a pin by Nicolas Alvarez at 215 that sealed it, since Kinnick’s Chris Deibel didn’t have a heavyweight opponent and won by walkover.
“Ecstatic,” Wilson said, adding that it was nice for the Kanto Plain to split the banners two straight years; St. Mary’s won the individual freestyle tournament banner on Friday. “Just awesome.”