By KEVIN THOMPSON
Wrestling is alive and well in western Kansas.
If the early season dual between 3A Scott City and 6A Garden City on Tuesday night at The Garden is any indication, it should be a fun season to follow.
Garden City won seven of 12 matches (including four pins) to defeat the Beavers 44-21.
But ask both coaches, and they'll say the score wasn't indicative of the how competitive the matches were.
Take away the points Garden City picked up on open weight classes, and the score was closer to what both teams expected.
Buffaloes' coach Monte Moser liked what he saw, especially after a weekend full of duals on Saturday at Arkansas City where the team finished second.
"They battled. They cleaned up some stuff from last Saturday," Moser said of his team. "Scott City's tough. They gave us all we wanted."
For Scott City, this was their season opener after a weekend tournament in Hoxie was cancelled due to inclement weather. It was a good starting point for coach John Lippelmann's team.
"I always consider if you're not wrestling, you're not getting better, and if you're not getting better, you're hurting," he said.
Bryce Fairleigh, at 113 pounds, got the match scoring quickly for Scott City with a fall over Efrain Sanchez just 1:19 into the match.
Then GCHS freshman Tevin Briscoe got back those points at 120 pounds in dominating fashion as he earned a 19-2 technical fall over James Jurgens.
At 126, junior Alex Kough broke open an 0-0 match in the third period with an escape and a takedown, riding out a 3-0 win for Scott City over Matt Urrutia to close the gap to 11-9.
Scott City regained the lead at 132 when defending Class 3-2-1A state champion Clay Mulligan overcame an early takedown to defeat AJ Hurtado, 8-3.
Mulligan rolled out of a potential takedown late in the first period to gain a 4-2 lead. The senior maintained his dominance from there, withstanding a late comeback attempt from Hurtado.
Tyson Phillis turned things around for Garden City at 138 pounds with a fall over Marshal Hutchins just 62 seconds into the match.
Chris Adler continued the pin trend with a first-period fall over Devyn Eggelston.
Joey Arrellano made it a trifecta with a fall in just 46 seconds over Thomas Chambliss, and the Buffaloes were up 29-12.
Warren Kropp got Scott City back on track at 160. He overcame a fast start by Garden City's Anthony Gardner to take control of the next two periods and a late charge for an 8-3 decision.
At 170 pounds, Manny Turner picked up three more points for the Beavers with a 7-1 decision over Garden City's Randal Long.
Garden City's 182-pounder, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, reversed what had been a close match with a second-period fall over Zach Lightner.
At 220 pounds, Angel Gonzales spaced out his few points over three periods to defeat Lane Hayes, 5-0.
In the final match of the dual, Scott City's Michael McEachern slipped past Jason Carreon, in double overtime.
McEachern earned an escape point just seconds into the second period and Carreon got his to start the third. Neither scored in the first overtime. McEachern started down in the second overtime and scored an escape point with just 10 seconds remaining.
In the final overtime, McEachern prevented a Carreon escape to hold on for the 2-1 win.
Moser was pleased after his team wrestled five duals just four days earlier. He said his wrestlers are resilient and it's still early in the season.
"Individually, we saw a progression and saw them get better from last weekend," he said. "It takes a team like Scott City to make that come out. If we had wrestled anyone else, we would have just walked through things."
Lippelmann said he got to see where his team is at, especially against a quality opponent like Garden City.
"We were aggressive on our feet. We got a good attack," Lippelmann said. "If you can attack on your feet, I've got to give our kids a good nod for that."
Lippelmann said he would also like his younger wrestlers to develop more of a game plan rather than wait for the opponent to dictate the action. But with four freshmen, that's bound to happen.
The Buffaloes have the week off before traveling to the Kansas City Midwest Classic on Dec. 16 and 17, an event with 35 teams.
Garden City 44, Scott City 21
106--Chris Vivido, GC, open. 6-0
113--Bryce Fairleigh, SC, fall, Efrain Sanchez, GC, :41.
120--Tevin Briscoe, GC, tech. fall, James Jurgens, SC, 19-2.
126--Alex Kough, SC, dec. Matt Urrutia, GC, 3-0.
132--Clay Mulligan, SC, dec. AJ Hurtado, GC, 8-3.
138--Tyson Phillis, GC, fall, Marshal Hutchins, SC, 1:02.
145--Chris Adler, GC, fall, Devyn Eggelston, SC, 1:44.
152--Joey Arrellano, GC, fall, Thomas Chambliss, :46.
160--Warren Kropp, SC, dec. Anthony Gardner, GC, 8-2.
170--Manuel Turner, SC, dec. Randal Long, GC, 7-1.
182--Juan Carlos Rodriguez, GC, fall, Zach Lightner, SC, 3:54.
195--Sam Reyes, GC, forfeit.
220--Angel Gonzales, GC, dec. Lane Hayes, SC, 5-0.
285--Michael McEachern, SC, dec. Jason Carreon, GC, OT, 2-1.