Experience collided with youthful energy Thursday night at Skyview High School. Experience won.
The Skyview wrestling team, with five seniors in its lineup, used superior technique to defeat a better-conditioned but sophomore-stacked Soldotna team 54-18.
"Their kids out-conditioned my kids," Skyview coach Neldon Gardner said. "That's something we can work towards.
"Our kids are able to do the moves without having to think about it as much as their kids. The older you get, you learn to react quicker. You know what he's going to do next."
The Panthers picked up the big points in the meet by getting forfeit wins from Cody Phipps (103) and Melina Hutchison (119), and pins from Neil Strausbaugh (130), Nate Morse (145), Ron Plate (160) and Vance Gaddis (189).
But Skyview earned the rest of its points in hard-fought matches where its technique was just enough to hold off Soldotna's relentless effort.
"This group of kids I have this year ... I can't say enough about how hard they work," Soldotna coach Sarge Truesdell said. "I've been in college rooms, and they work just like that.
"Skyview got us pretty good tonight. Normally, after something like that happens you have to line the kids up against the wall and tell them, 'It's going to get better.' I didn't have to do that. These kids know it's going to get better."
There were several matches that illustrate the experience vs. conditioning theme.
At 140, Skyview senior James Sadler, in his first match of the year, took an 11-4 lead over sophomore Colten Goracke after two periods.
Goracke, going at a clearly fatigued Sadler, came back to tie the match at 12-12 in the third. However, Sadler scored a reverse with 25 seconds left and was able to hang on for the 14-12 victory.
"I just gassed in that third period," Sadler said. "I had to run a lot today to make weight and that took a lot out of me."
Truesdell said Goracke commonly makes up a lot of ground in the third period. He said he needs to learn not to fall so far behind, something that will come with experience.
Another close match that went to Skyview's technique came at 152, where Skyview sophomore Justin Rainwater pulled out a late victory over senior Jared Carlson.
The match was tied at 5-5 when Carlson allowed Rainwater to escape without 20 seconds left. He wanted to get a takedown to get a 7-6 victory, but Rainwater played solid defense to preserve the win.
"I think I just out-techniqued him," said the quickly growing Rainwater, who last year wrestled at 119. "He was a lot stronger than me and he was in better shape."
Other Skyview wrestlers picking up victories on decisions were Jonathon Pharris (112), Brandon Cleveland (125) and Ben Nabinger (135). Nabinger, a state placer last year, defeated Soldotna freshman Norman Orr 16-6.
"I thought it was great he was able to stay in there with Nabinger," Truesdell said. "He didn't quit. He's only a freshman, so that shows he's picking that attitude up from the rest of the kids in the room."
Soldotna got its points from pins by Justin Whitmore (171) and Shawn Weigle (215) and a forfeit from heavyweight Josh Brantley.
Both teams will compete this weekend at a tournament at Grace Christian School in Anchorage.
SKYVIEW 54, SOLDOTNA 18
103 -- Cody Phipps, Sky, won by forfeit
112 -- Jonathon Pharris, Sky, maj. dec. Luke Cuifo, 11-2
119 -- Melina Hutchison, Sky, won by forfeit
125 -- Brandon Cleveland, Sky, maj. dec. Shane Tachick, 25-13
130 -- Neil Strausbaugh, Sky, p. Jeremy Chezik, 2:41
135 -- Ben Nabinger, Sky, maj. dec. Norman Orr, 16-6
140 -- James Sadler, Sky, dec. Colten Goracke, 14-12
145 -- Nate Morse, Sky, p. Johnny Howarth, 1:42
152 -- Justin Rainwater, Sky, dec. Jared Carlson, 6-5
160 -- Ron Plate, Sky, p. T.J. Stone, 3:42
171 -- Justin Whitmore, Sol, p. Mark Rozak, 3:13
189 -- Vance Gaddis, Sky, p. Nick Evans, 1:25
215 -- Shawn Weigle, Sol, p. Mike Misner, 0:42
HWT -- Josh Brantley, Sol, won by forfeit
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