Returning a favor from last year, the Union wrestling Wildcats opened the season at a Rolla High School assembly Tuesday afternoon.
Rolla, which had wrestled in the early-afternoon event at Union last year, won the varsity meet, 54-21.
Union Head Coach Justin Cranmer said it was a good experience for the Wildcats.
“We have a young team this year with no seniors and a large sophomore and junior class,” Cranmer said. “This is a great event for them because it really simulates the intensity and competitiveness of a district or state match. Having close to a thousand students packed in the gym really makes for an exciting dual. We had fun with it and really did well. The score in the dual was not where we want it to be, but our wrestlers really gave good effort and had a great attitude when wrestling. We were aggressive and attempted to score from every position.”
The meet started at the 126-pound weight class.
Union had four winners in the meet:
• James D’Onofrio (152) pinned Rolla’s David Redding in 1:20.
“James D’Onofrio did great at 152 for us,” Cranmer said. “He got a first-period pin after securing the takedown and a few sets of nearfall. Most of our lineup was wrestling up a weight class and will be down next Wednesday when we wrestle at home against Ladue and Parkway West. James is no exception to this and will be even better suited to wrestle when he is down at 145 next week.”
• Ryder Kuenzel (182) pinned Rolla’s Jacob Phillips in 1:03.
“Ryder Kuenzel made his varsity debut for us and did great,” Cranmer said. “He shook off some first match nerves in our red-black scrimmage last week and really wrestled well in the minute and three seconds it took him to get the pin. He is the first wrestler to earn our pin award this year for the most pins in the least amount of time for a varsity event.”
• David Clark (195) earned a 3-1 decision over Rolla’s Colton Franks.
“David Clark wrestled a close match and got a takedown with less than 20 seconds to go to win 3-1,” Cranmer said. “He did enough to win, but we are really working on him to open up and build some confidence so he will win a match like that by a major decision and not let his opponent keep it close.”
• Haiden Meyer (220) pinned Rolla’s Jacob Dobkins in 3:15.
“Haiden Meyer got right back to where he left off last year by earning the pin in the second period,” said Cranmer. “He was wrestling 220 so he had to make some adjustments because his opponent was considerably taller and heavier than him but he was able to control him and eventually run his trademark armbar to get the pin. Kuenzel, Clark and Meyer will all be moving down a weight class next week.”
Rolla’s winners were:
• Justin McEnany (132) earned a 10-1 major decision over Union’s Joshua Wegescheide;
• Coleman Brainard (138) pinned Union’s Jordan Waldman in 36 seconds;
• Bryce O’Connor (160) pinned Union’s Christophe Poinsett in 56 seconds;
• Justin Briggs (285) earned a 16-3 major decision over Union’s Connor Ward;
• Anthony Sederburg (106) pinned Union’s Dominick Beine in 1:56; and
• Nick Pulliam won a 16-1 technical fall over Union’s Carter Sickmeier, 16-1, in 4:30.
Union was open at 126, 170 and 113, giving up 18 points in those weights.
In the JV/exhibitions meet, Union’s winners were Luke Siddens (182), Blaine Apperson (182), Kyler Martin (182) and Jim Talley (195). Each team won four bouts in that match and all were by pins.