Welcome to high school wrestling, Jeremiah Berzanske.
With Skyview and Soldotna knotted at 30 and two matches remaining, the Panthers’ freshman entered his first ever varsity match with the meet on the line.
When it was over, the rookie looked more like a veteran.
Trailing by as many as four in the opening period, Berzanske (160 pounds) fell behind SoHi freshman Jeremy Dooley, 8-5, midway through the second before turning a reversal into a pin with 14.9 seconds left in the frame, propelling Skyview to a thrilling 36-33 dual meet victory.
“I was on base, which is hands and knees ... so his leg was right there,” he explained. “I could hear (coach Neldon) Gardner yelling, ‘Grab his leg.’ So I grabbed his leg and kind of pushed up and that’s what kind of got him on his back.
“This was my first match and I really wanted to win,” Berzanske added.
Oh, how it showed.
Behind by three, he tossed Dooley to the ground, sending the Panthers’ bench into a frenzy. However, Dooley fought it off and earned two points on a reversal.
Seconds later, though, Berzanske gave them reason to cheer again.
He also pulled off a reversal before flipping Dooley on his back and controlling him there for nearly 30 seconds before the referee signaled for the pin.
“Jeremiah, first weekend out, showed what a true wrestler is with heart and soul. He put all of it out on the mat,” Gardner said. “When I looked out there, he was just flat, dog-dead tired. We’re yelling and he just reached a little deeper and pulled it out. I’m very happy for him.”
The victory gave the Panthers a 36-30 advantage, forcing the Stars’ Erick Morris (171) to pin Patrick Sheridan to salvage a tie.
And he nearly did, turning Sheridan onto his back with 25 seconds left. Kicking, squirming and fighting as hard as he could, Sheridan staved off the pin as time expired in the first period.
Unable to get the pin, Morris would go on to a 9-6 decision, finishing off a strong meet for both teams. Trailing by 15 after six matches including three forfeits by SoHi and one by Skyview Stars’ sophomore Jesse Carlson’s third-period rally sparked a comeback.
Being ridden most of the match by Alex Janorske, Carlson (130) entered the final period trailing 3-0.
He escaped to trim the deficit to two with 1:05 left and following a restart where both wrestlers began on their feet, Carlson quickly shot at Janorske’s legs, forcefully took him down and earned two back points for a 5-3 decision.
“I knew that he shouldn’t be riding me and that I needed to turn it up. So in the last 30 seconds, I turned it on and flipped him over, which was what I needed,” Carlson said. “I think it inspired a lot of the teammates and they knew that they could do it.”
After Skyview’s Jared Thomas (135) decisioned Delbert Leavitt, 7-4, SoHi’s Ryan Hanley (140) pinned Luke Morse in 2:38 and Kraig Morris (145) pinned Skyview’s Freddie Pollard in 3:14.
SoHi’s Jared Oleson (152) capped the streak and tied the meet at 30-30 after earning a 10-3 decision over Alex Rodgers.
“A lot of momentum. Both of the these teams are really young. Skyview’s group is really young, our group is really young. So, it’s fun,” said Stars coach Sarge Truesdell. “Coach Gardner and I got together and we basically paired the matchups to where they would be good. It worked out great.
“For me, it comes down to a couple matches where we’re in a tight match and we pin them. And in 160 they’re in a tight match and they pin us,” he added. “It comes down to a match with two studs at 171 and if we pin them we tie. If we don’t, we don’t. I thought it was a really good match.” Skyview’s Monica Hutchison (103) pinned Meg Pruitt in 1:05 and Eddie Buffington (189) earned a hard-fought 3-2 decision over Soldotna’s Ethan Waters. Matthew Streiby (215) earned SoHi’s first victory of the evening by pinning Russ Bacon in 1:06.
Skyview at Soldotna
TEAM SCORES 1. Skyview, 36; 2. Soldotna, 33.
103 Monica Hutchison, Sky, p. Meg Pruitt, Sol, 1:05.
112 Bryce Wilson, Sky, won by forfeit.
119 Michaela Hutchison, Sky, won by forfeit.
125 Danny Macarello, Sky, won by forfeit.
130 Jesse Carlson, Sol, dec. Alex Janorske, Sky, 5-3.
135 Jared Thomas, Sky, dec. Delbert Leavitt, Sol, 7-4.
140 Ryan Hanley, Sol, p. Luke Morse, Sky, 2:38.
145 Kraig Morris, Sol, p. Freddie Pollard, Sky, 3:14.
152 Jared Oleson, Sol, dec. Alex Rodgers, Sky, 10-3.
160 Jeremiah Berzanske, Sky, p. Jeremy Dooley, 3:45.
171 Erick Morris, Sol, dec. Patrick Sheridan, Sky, 9-6.
189 Eddie Buffington, Sky, dec. Ethan Waters, Sol, 3-2.
215 Mathew Streiby, Sol, p. Russ Bacon, Sky, 1:06.
275 Les Baker, Sol, won by forfeit.
103 Wilson, Sky, p. Pruitt, Sol, 1:08; 130 Link, Sol, p. Jackson, Sky, 1:40; 140 Thomas, Sky, dec. Foust, Sol, 6-3; 152 Faulkner, Sol, p. Berzanske, Sky, 4:50; 160 Rodgers, Sky, p. Dooley, Sol, 5:59; 189 Byrne, Sky, p. Chumley, Sol, 4:36; 189 Van Bruggen, Sky, Kristich, Sol, 1:48; 215 Gomez, Sol, t.f. Mahan, Sky, 19-2.
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