Claude Mraz enjoys the pressure.
In fact, he revels in it.
On Tuesday, the Skyview senior showed he knows how to handle it, too.
Knowing full well he needed more than three points for the Panthers to beat visiting Homer at Skyview High School, Mraz wasted no time at all, pinning Ben Harville in a mere 17 seconds to propel Skyview to an exciting 39-36 dual-meet victory.
"I love it," he said. "That's why I wrestle heavyweight. I would like to do 215, but really when it comes down to the team, I like having it heavy."
With the Panthers trailing by 18, Mraz studied the lineup card, calculating what needed to happen for his team to pull out the win.
After Patrick Sheridan (171 pounds) earned a hard-fought 7-3 decision over Homer's Zach Hinsberger and Skyview subsequently won two forfeits, the Mariners owned a slim three-point lead entering the final match.
Mraz then knew what had to be done.
"I knew what the objective was and I took it," he said. "Pin the kid."
Skyview coach Neldon Gardner, who also knew a few matches in advance that it was going to come down to his heavyweight, told Mraz, "You win. We win."
And that's exactly what happened.
Although even Gardner was a little shocked with Mraz's deft performance.
"I didn't think it was going to be that fast," he said. "But I told him, 'Go out hard and fast.' So, he listened well."
In just his first season with the Panthers after only practicing with the team last year, Mraz is a pleasant surprise on a squad full of them.
"He's doing real well," Gardner said. "I'm real impressed with him."
But he didn't stop there.
"I'm just impressed with all the kids. They fought hard," he added. "Homer's got some tough, tough competitors. They always have half-a-dozen really good kids. They battled us."
Skyview's Bryce Wilson (103) started things out with a bang by pinning Eli Gravey in 1:05.
"Bryce is looking real tough," Gardner said. "He's working exceptionally hard."
Then, in her first match of the season due to conflicts with volleyball, Monica Hutchison (112) showed no signs of rust in pinning Dimond Edge in 1:25.
Following Brittany Wyatt's pin (3:10) of Skyview's Megan Janorschke (119), former state champion Michaela Hutchison (125) worked Brandon Smith to the tune of a 26-second pin as the Panthers jumped in front, 18-6.
But Homer proceeded to go on a roll. Ben Daigle (130) earned a 6-2 decision over Alex Janorschke, Tom Applehanz (135) pinned Rhett Jackson in 1:35 and Robby Brymer (140) pinned Jared Thomas in 3:38.
Another two forfeits by Skyview left the Mariners in front, 34-18.
That's when Mraz put his math skills to the test.
"I already had it worked out before I went on the mat," he explained. "We had two forfeits and then if (Sheridan) won by a tech and then I needed to win that."
Needing a decision to tie, or a major decision, technical fall or a pin to win, Mraz decided to shoot for the latter.
"You've got to go for it," he said.
Immediately diving at Harville's legs, Mraz turned him onto his back and quickly finished him off.
"Claude is working exceptionally hard this year," Gardner said. "The whole team has just stepped it up this year. They really are working hard.
"It was a battle with Homer. We were bouncing back-and-forth." he added. "They forfeited two. We forfeited two. It was pretty even."
Skyview also dominated most of the exhibition matches with Cody Stephenson (pin, 2:30), Nathan Orloff (pin, 1:19), Thomas (decision, 3-2), Fred Pollard (pin, 17 seconds), Michael Eyre (pin, 3:29) and Nick Van Bruggen (pin, 33 seconds) all winning. Homer's Tris Brymer (pin, 38 seconds) also won while Daigle edged Hutchison, 3-0.
At Skyview High School
Skyview 39, Homer 36
103 Wilson, Sky, p. Gravey, Hom, 1:05
112 Mon. Hutchison, Sky, p. Edge, Hom, 1:25
119 B. Wyatt, Hom, p. M. Janorschke, Sky, 3:10
125 Mich. Hutchison, Sky, p. Smith, Hom, :26
130 Daigle, Hom, dec. A. Janorschke, Sky, 6-2
135 Applehanz, Hom, p. Jackson, Sky, 1:35
140 R. Brymer, Hom, p. Thomas, Sky, 3:38
145 M. Wyatt, Hom, won by forfeit
152 Mayes, Hom, won by forfeit
160 Weinfurter, Hom, dec. Job, Sky, 5-0
171 Sheridan, Sky, dec. Hinsberger, Hom, 7-3
189 Buffington, Sky, won by forfeit
215 Byrne, Sky, won by forfeit
HWT Mraz, Sky, p. Harville, Hom, :17
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