A familiar face walked away with Tuesday's Metro Conference dual tournament. But it probably wasn't the one that most expected.
Class A No. 3 Millard South pulled a major surprise in the semifinals, toppling second-ranked Omaha Burke with four consecutive pins to cap a comeback, then finished off the job with a 46-17 win over No. 7 Bellevue West in the finals.
It snapped a string of three straight Metro dual titles for Burke and gave that crown back to Millard South, winners of the previous two before the Bulldogs' run.
“It's exciting,” Millard South coach Doug Denson said. “We tell our kids, you never give up. And we didn't there.”
The spot Denson refers to is where the Patriots, in their home gym, found themselves with just four matches remaining against Burke. Down 34-21, things looked bleak.
But pins by Anthony Cloyd, Terry Jeub, Mark Tompsett and Freeman Coleman gave the Patriots the win, setting off a huge celebration on the Millard South bench.
“That shows us that if we execute, anything can happen,” Coleman said.
Tompsett and Coleman, each ranked second at their respective weight classes, also had pins in the championship dual.
Teammate Alex Mendez pulled perhaps the biggest surprise of the day earlier in the dual, though, when he pinned Burke's Jake Wilcoxen early in the third period. Wilcoxen, ranked No. 1 at 126 and a defending state champion, was wrestling up a weight class against Mendez, the third-ranked 132-pounder.
Denson, who thoroughly enjoys the dual format, said he told his team before the semifinals that he saw it as a pretty even dual, one that would come down to bonus points.
When it was turned over to Coleman, his senior heavyweight, Denson said he had a good feeling.
“I knew if it was down to him,” Denson said, “that we were going to be in good shape.”
The Patriots closed strong again in the championship, finishing with the last 21 points after West had gotten a big win at 182 that got the Thunderbirds within eight points with four matches to go.
Burke, which won the individual tournament earlier this month, finished with a 61-18 win over 10th-ranked Bellevue East in the third-place dual.
Quarterfinals: Omaha Burke 51, Omaha Creighton Prep 18. Millard South 42, Papillion-La Vista 21. Bellevue West 43, Omaha Central 28. Bellevue East 66, Omaha North 13. Semifinals: Millard South 39, Omaha Burke 34. Bellevue West 40, Bellevue East 33. Consolation round: Omaha Central 59, Omaha North 21. Papillion-La Vista 41, Omaha Creighton Prep 30. Seventh-place dual: Omaha Creighton Prep 72, Omaha North 6. Fifth-place dual: Papillion-La Vista 56, Omaha Central 16. Third-place dual: Omaha Burke 61, Bellevue East 18. Championship dual: Millard South 46, Bellevue West 17.
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