The Rogers High School senior wrestlers couldn’t have asked for a better performance in their final home match of their careers Wednesday night.
The Rams (6-0 SPSL South), who won 12 of 14 matches, cruised to a 59-9 win against the Emerald Ridge Jaguars at Rogers High School.
“What I really liked about our wins tonight was that they came where we had to come from behind and won by decision in the last round,” Rogers head coach David Johnston said. “We won in overtime. It was really nice to win all those close matches.
“We’ve been trying to work on that all season,” he said. “Finally, toward the end of the season, we are getting there. It is pretty neat.”
Rogers senior Tevita Feiloakitau had the most dramatic victory in his 182-pound matchup against Emerald Ridge’s Mike McGinty.
McGinty led 15-12 as third and final round ticked down to six seconds. Feiloakitau got a reversal and registered the two critical near-fall points to win the match, 16-15.
“It came down to the end,” Johnston said. “There were four or five seconds left, and he needed to get the four points. We teach our kids to wrestle to the end. He got him (McGinty) in a Pederson (move), and then got him onto to his back to win by one point. That was definitely an example of us winning the close matches.”
Feiloakitau said it was special to win in front his hometown fans.
“Everyone is here,” he said. “It’s senior night, and it was exhilarating. Winning the match was a big relief.”
Jovanis Rodriguez ground out a 10-8 overtime win against Emerald Ridge’s Josiah Arnold at 170 pounds.
“It feels good. I’m happy about it,” Rodriguez said. “A lot of our guys did super good. Some guys surprised me. It was just awesome.”
Rogers wrestlers who won by pin included Noah Howell (285), Elijah Albro (220) and Arjay Dimailiq-Akana (195). The Rams’ Brandon Brenenstahl (160), Ty Wilson (152), Beau Shatto (120), Rodriguez (170) and Feiloakitau (182) won by decision. Kyle Kroneman (106), Jorell Leonen (138), Troy Wilson (145) and Yuseef Deen-Conteh (113) won by forfeit.
Emerald Ridge wrestlers Talon Lepley (126) won by pin and Nolan McBride (132) won by decision.