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Sean Sarkauskas inspired his team. Jake Laws seized the moment. Mitch Kroenig added the exclamation point.
The three wrestlers finished Friday’s Upstate Eight Valley Conference meet with back-to-back-to-back pins and Waubonsie Valley made history, beating Neuqua Valley for the first time in school history with a 45-24 decision.
The Warriors also claimed a conference title.
“I thought we were in pretty decent shape going into the last four matches,” Neuqua Valley coach Mick Ruettiger said. “I figured it was anybody’s match especially in the last three (bouts). They made it happen for themselves. We just didn’t get the job done tonight.”
Waubonsie Valley trailed 24-22 but took the lead for good when Howard Beatty registered a victory by technical fall at 145 pounds.
“For us to win at all, I had to pin him or tech him and do something real big,” Beatty said. “I knew he was kind of like a backup so I knew I had to go for the pin right away.”
Beatty’s victory set the stage for an incredible finish by the Warriors, which began with Sarkauskas’ second period pin of Alex Skarr at 152 pounds. The two went back-and-forth until Sarkauskas secured the pin at 3:49.
“I was wrestling too quick at the start and was a bit nervous about it,” Sarkauskas said. “I slowed it down and used it to my advantage.”
The moment left Sarkauskas glowing.
“There’s no better feeling in the world when you’re out there and the entire bench is standing up and shouting for you,” he said. “And to think we weren’t even at our own school. It just adds so much energy to the match that it’s really hard not to win when you have all that going.”
Jake Laws followed at 160 pounds and recorded a pin at 1:34 increase the Warriors lead to 39-24 as well as seal the victory.
“Having all that adrenalin going and my team behind me really helped a lot,” Laws said. “I just went out there and wrestled my best and did it all for the team.”
Mitch Kroenig put the finishing touches on a great evening for the Warriors by pinning Neuqua Valley’s Brett Lindeman, who had beaten Kroenig last Saturday.
“Beginning at 138 that’s definitely the big powerhouse for us,” Warriors coach Brad Caldwell said. “It’s Jimmy Davis and Mike Grosch came through for us with a big win. Howard has been wrestling just outstanding and then Sean Sarkauskas, a senior, came through with a big pin for us, and Jake Laws came through with a real nice win for us to put us at ease and take the pressure off.”
Davis had a pin at 132 pounds for the Warriors while Anthony Napolitano, Jake Timberlake and Anthony Touchstone (forfeit) also were victorious.
Neuqua Valley standout Andrew Geers continued his brilliant season with a pin at 285 pounds. Also starring for the Wildcats were Justin Killacky, who pinned Matt Pugliese at 120 pounds, and Andy Sykes, who prevailed by technical fall at 126 pounds.