Averill wins No. 200
Ron Averill knew it wasn't a matter of if he'd collect his 200th career victory this season. It was just a question of when.
Averill, Lansing High's 21st-year wrestling coach, knew he had a squad talented enough that the landmark victory would one day come. That day was Thursday night when the Lions drilled Hiawatha, 72-3, at home in the first half of their double-dual.
"I knew it was coming and I hadn't gone through my head and figured out where the breaking point was, but we were pretty confident coming in with Hiawatha that we were going to get the win, so there wasn't any big surprise there," Averill said. "I was real pleased with the guys and their performance. Although we were pretty confident of the win, we still had several matches that were good matches for the guys. We did well."
Lansing later wrestled Silver Lake and lost in a thriller, 36-30, in which Silver Lake coach Harry LaMar picked up his 200th win as well.
Hiawatha didn't have varsity wrestlers in the 103, 112, 119 or 140-pound weight classes, so the Lions won those by forfeit. In the classes where Hiawatha had competitors, however, LHS simply dominated.
Kyle Buehler won by pin at 125-pounds, Sean Flynn won a 15-0 major decision at 130, and Stewart Jones won a hard-fought battle, 8-4, at 135.
Jeff Terrill (145), and Dennis Kessler (152) bumped the LHS advantage to 50-0 with their pins, and Casey Caton manhandled a heavier, more experienced foe, 11-0, at 160.
Lance Fink, who usually wrestles at 152 pounds, jumped to the 171-pound weight class for the second straight meet. Despite giving up more than 20 pounds to his opponent, he hung close before falling, 7-4.
Ryan Civils (189), Logan Ryan (215) and Brett Wessel (275) closed the match with quick pins and sealed Averill's landmark victory.
Averill said he didn't think his wrestlers competed any harder simply to help him collect his milestone victory, rather he said that's just how they always compete.
"I would like to think they'll dig in every time," he said.
The clash with Silver Lake was much more challenging. The Eagles opened with a win at 103 pounds when Collin Hase pinned Chance Thackston. At 112, Lansing's Nick Flynn edged Jacob Deiter in a 4-2 decision. At 119, SLHS' Keaton Taylor pinned Bobby Hamilton. Then Lansing's Kyle Buehler pinned Cody Meier at 125 pounds in just 29 seconds.
Sean Flynn followed with a pin of Silver Lake's Spencer Hinson in just 1:29. LHS junior Stewart Jones followed with a 9-7 overtime victory over Jason Corwin at 135 pounds. At that point Lansing took a 18-12 lead in team points.
Silver Lake rallied, however. Brady LaMar beat Lansing's Kyle Grape, 8-5, at 140 pounds, and Drew Hawkins pinned Jeff Terrill at 145 pounds. Jeremy Mellies next pinned Lansing's Dennis Kessler at 152 pounds, giving SLHS a 27-18 lead.
Casey Caton earned a win for LHS at 160 pounds when he edged Justin Wall, 4-2. Lance Fink followed with a thrilling 10-5 victory over Silver Lake's Jason Mellies at 171pounds. Ryan Civils evened the team scores for Lansing when he pinned Jared Wall at 189 and put the Lions ahead, 30-27. The Eagles' Curtis Hamilton squeaked past Logan Ryan, 4-3, at 215 pounds, and then Dylan Bahm pinned Lansing's Brett Wessel at 275 to give Silver Lake the victory.
"We can be disappointed with the outcome," Averill said, "but we can't be disappointed with the way we competed."
Lansing travels to Holton on Saturday to participate in the Holton Invitational.