A massive middle to Tuesday’s marque match-up gave Millard South another feather in an ever-expanding cap.
The Class A No. 1 Patriots used a huge run midway through a 38-23 win over Liberty, the top-ranked team in Missouri’s largest class, giving Nebraska’s best the rubber match and current bragging rights in a budding rivalry between nationally-prominent programs.
“I did not think nine wins were going to happen,” Millard South coach Nate Olson said of his team’s 9-5 advantage in victories. “But we came out and wrestled well.”
It was the third straight season his team, winners of the last four state team titles, squared off fellow powerhouse Liberty, owners of the last three Class 4 championships in Missouri.
Both were ranked inside the country’s Top 50 entering each of the showdowns – MatScouts currently has Millard South ranked No. 34, ten spots ahead of Liberty.
And much like the previous two meetings, it was a push midway through that swung things the way of the home side.
The latest installment began with the teams swapping decisions, with top-ranked Kiernan Meink giving Millard South a 4-0 win over Cade Dunn, ranked No. 3 in Missouri, at 106 pounds. Nationally-ranked Devon Harrison returned the favor one match later, beating Isaac Ekdahl 8-2 in a meeting of No. 1’s.
They’d split the next four – each coming with bonus points.
Liberty sandwiched a Hunter Taylor major decision at 120 and top-ranked Christopher Coates’ first-period pin at 138 around a pair of Millard South victories.
Sophomore Miles Anderson, a returning state champion ranked No. 1 in Nebraska, was thorough in a 25-10 technical fall at 126. Gino Rettele followed with the first Patriots pin of the night in the 132-pound match.
The second slap of the mat for Millard South was a backbreaker for Liberty.
Trailing 3-0 entering the third period, junior Josiah Aburumuh evened things before a pin in front of the Liberty bench just past the midway point of the final frame. It was a swing in both momentum and points, and set off a raucous celebration on the Millard South bench.
“He is a straight up gamer,” Olson said of Aburumuh. “He’s able to catch guys in some throws and he’s able to turn guys out of nowhere. He’s got ice in his veins, and he just goes out there and puts on a show.”
Olson said the message before the third was to get an early takedown and try to get back in the match. Aburumuh did that, plus some.
“He has no fear,” Olson said.
It was part of a surge that saw his bunch win six straight matches and score 24 consecutive points.
Joel Adams started the spurt with a 9-3 decision over Gavin Linsman in a meeting of two-time state champions at 145.
Aburumuh’s fall was followed by major decisions from Henry Reilly (160 pounds), Aiden Robertson (170) and Tanner Fuller (182), the last of which clinched the dual for the Patriots.
Caeden Olin put the cherry on top, using an escape for a 2-1 in the third overtime period over Peyton Westpfahl. Both wrestlers are ranked No. 1 in their respective states, albeit at different weights (Olin at 195, Wetpfahl at 175).
Millard South moved to 11-0 on the year, with duals coming Thursday against Columbus and Omaha Creighton Prep to wrap up the regular season.
106: Kiernan Meink, Millard South, dec Cade Dunn, Liberty, 4-0 (MS leads 3-0). 113: Devon Harrison, Liberty, dec Isaac Ekdahl, Millard South, 8-2 (dual tied 3-3). 120: Hunter Taylor, Liberty, maj dec Brady Danze, Millard South (L leads 7-3). 126: Miles Anderson, Millard South, tech fall Cooper Rider, Liberty, 25-10 (MS leads 8-7). 132: Gino Rettele, Millard South, pin Jacob Axsom, Liberty, 2:40 (MS leads 14-7). 138: Christopher Coates, Liberty, pin Logan Glynn, Millard South, 1:08 (MS leads 14-13). 145: Joel Adams, Millard South, dec Gavin Linsman, Liberty, 9-3 (MS leads 17-13). 152: Josiah Aburumuh, Millard South, pin Kolby McClain, Liberty, 5:05 (MS leads 23-13). 160: Henry Reilly, Millard South, maj dec Trey Craig, Liberty, 13-5 (MS leads 27-13). 170: Aiden Robertson, Millard South, maj dec Isaiah Hung, Liberty, 15-5 (MS leads 31-13). 182: Tanner Fuller, Millard South, maj dec Griffin Tempest, Liberty, 11-1 (MS leads 35-13). 195: Caeden Olin, Millard South, dec Peyton Westpfahl, Liberty, 2-1 SV (MS leads 38-13). 220: Donovan Hodges, Liberty, maj dec Tristen Williams, Millard South, 9-1 (MS leads 38-17). 285: Trenton Bindel, Liberty, pin Brock Dyer, Millard South, 4:00 (MS wins 38-23).
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