Rittinghouse avoids pin at Metro Classic
Bonner Springs senior Brad Rittinghouse figured he would have his work cut out for him on Tuesday night.
But being pinned? Come on. This is a guy who recently pinned 30 of his opponents on his way to a 33-9 season. He was not familiar with his own shoulders touching the mat.
But sure enough, on the Web sites that prematurely predicted the results of Tuesday's Metro Classic Wrestling Dual at Kansas City Kansas Community College, most prognosticators had Rittinghouse falling by way of a pin.
Sure, his opponent, Jaron Baston of Blue Springs, was a 49-0 state champion from Missouri. And, sure, winning his bout at the prestigious dual would likely be a difficult chore. But until he saw him, Rittinghouse had no idea just how daunting his task would be.
As the two watched other wrestlers from each side of the Kansas-Missouri line wage war in the lower weight classes, Rittinghouse said he began to feel the buzz that usually came before each of his matches during his senior season.
"Once it got closer to my match, I wanted to wrestle," the Bonner Springs heavyweight said. "I was pumped. But then I saw him out of his sweats and stuff. He was huge. One of his legs was as big as two of mine."
Nonetheless, Rittinghouse hit the mat for the final match of the night, as well as his high school career.
By that point, Missouri had already wrapped up its third straight victory at the dual. The final score came in at 35-16. But Rittinghouse pushed on for pride.
Once the two met on the mat, Rittinghouse quickly realized that he was in for a dog fight.
"I tried to work moves on him, but they didn't work," he said. "I got his leg once and he just ripped it away. He was extremely powerful."
But Rittinghouse had enough strength of his own to avoid the dreaded fate. The final tally saw Rittinghouse lose, 19-8, a victory of sorts, seeing how he didn't get pinned.
Most, if not all, of his points came from escapes.
"He couldn't hold you down, but he could take you down," Rittinghouse said. "I was just happy I didn't get pinned."
Despite losing to Baston, Rittinghouse said he enjoyed competing at the dual more than he anticipated. He cited the camaraderie, the high-energy atmosphere and the thrill of being included with a group of all stars as reasons for his joy.
"It's cool because people were clapping for me," Rittinghouse said. "Last year, I went and rooted for Kansas, but this year I was the one people were rooting for. It was awesome."