Unfortunately for the Barton Community College Wrestling team the nationally ranked Golden Norsemen of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College were party spoilers in handing the Cougars a resounding 45-3 defeat in the inaugural home wrestling meet Friday evening at the Barton Gym. Cougar freshman Zach Vesta made Barton history capturing the first individual home match as NEO captured nine of the ten matches including five falls as the currently No. 14 ranked Norsemen put on a clinic from its high caliber athletes within a program that finished fifth nationally last season after having won the national title two years ago. Barton will have short rest as the Cougars head to Hays, Kansas, on Sunday for the highly competitive Bob Smith Open hosted by Fort Hays State University beginning at 9:00 a.m. at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
NEO began the match with three of its five falls on the night, the first two coming in the waning seconds of the match. Sophomore transfer Will Bardezbain led off for the Cougars in 125 weight class taking on NEO's Logan Terrill being outscored 11-3 before succumbing to fall in the final eleven seconds of the match.
Freshman Caysen Smith began his 133 pound dual with the Norsemen's Curtis Burnett with a takedown seconds before the first period buzzer sounded. In a defensive second period, Burnett got an early escape cutting the deficit in half while accumulating nearly two minutes of riding time. Getting another escape twenty seconds into the third, Burnett took a 4-2 lead with a takedown forty seconds later then ended the match with thirty-four seconds remaining picking up another six points for the visitors.
Dodge City freshman Jaden McRoberts found himself quickly down in the 141 match as NEO's Mitchell Sellers scored a quick takedown seizing control before pinning McRoberts a little over two minutes into the match.
Vesta gave the home fans a historic bright spot of the night in the fourth match as the Manhattan freshman grabbed a 7-2 victory over Dustin Hayden in the 149 weight. After a tight first period with neither wrestler gaining advantage, Vesta struck first in the second escaping from the bottom position to begin the period then tacked on two more points with a late takedown. Vesta built the lead out to five before a Hayden escape was countered with a Vesta takedown growing the lead out to six. A late Hayden escape would score the final point as Vesta improved his dual record to 4-1 picking up the lone Cougar win of the night.
Hometown product Kade Sander was up next in the 157 class looking to keep his dual unbeaten streak alive taking on NEO's Kristian Holguin-Mendez. Finishing third in last year's national championship, Holguin-Mendez struck first with a takedown but Sander was able to cut the deficit in half with an escape to end the first period. The deficit for Sander grew by two as Holguin-Mendez scored a reversal from the bottom position to begin the period but Sander countered with an escape to again cut the deficit in half to end the period. Beginning the third in bottom position, Sander was able to get an escape fifty seconds in but Holguin-Mendez scored a takedown with twelve seconds remaining then added another point of riding time for the final 7-3 victory.
In the 165 class, freshman Sean Taborsky ran into a buzzsaw from NEO's Dawaylon Barnes dropping a 20-4 tech fall. Barnes built an early 6-0 lead in the first with an early takedown then a scored a near fall with a minute remaining. Taborsky had multiple attempts for a takedown in the second but sound defense by Barnes led to a couple of Taborsky stalling penalties and an eventual reversal to extend the lead out to ten heading to the third. Beginning the period on bottom, Taborsky was able to quickly score a reversal but a Barnes escape and takedown pushed the lead out to eleven. The duo exchanged multiple points in the final minute concluding with the sixteen point Barnes victory.
Freshman Devon Baker was immediately on the defensive in the 174 weight as NEO's Saul Ortiz scored an early takedown in compiling over two minutes of riding time in the opening period. Beginning the second in bottom position, Ortiz got an early escape then tacked on a late takedown taking a five point lead to the third. Baker got on the board with an early final period escape but was countered with an immediate Ortiz takedown. Baker was able to escape the Ortiz hold but another takedown with the riding time scored a final Ortiz 10-2 major decision.
In a slow starting 184 class, NEO's Jacob Hill picked up a late first period two point edge taking down North Carolina freshman Tim Johnson seconds before the buzzer. Riding the bottom through most of the second, Johnson was able to get a reversal to tie it up with thirty seconds remaining before a late standup point in the second gave Hill a 3-2 edge to the third. Johnson was clearly the aggressor in the third but Hill proved defensively too tough countering multiple Johnson takedowns scoring a late reversal and earning the riding time bonus point for a 7-2 win.
Short work came in the final two matches of the night as NEO flexed its dominance. Taking just fifty-eight seconds into the 197 match, Josh Latham took down Barton freshman Zac Strother before fellow sophomore Blake Andrews took down the Cougar freshman Justin Scarbro with 1:31 left in the match.