FAYETTEVILLE -- Bentonville West claimed the Big West Conference wrestling team title, but coach Aaron Wise hopes his team learned some lessons on Saturday at Bulldog Arena.
The Wolverines rode individual titles by Charles and Daryl Easterling and Brady Stafford to edge Van Buren 158-143 in a tournament, which was missing a couple of the top teams and several of the top individual wrestlers from the large schools.
At A Glance
Big West Conference Tournament
At Bulldog Arena, Fayetteville
Team Scores: 1, Bentonville West 158, 2, Van Buren 143. 3, Fayetteville 132. 4, Rogers Heritage 112. 5, (tie) Bentonville High, Springdale High 106.
106: Ian Branch, Fay., def. Jamon Ireland, West, 5-3.
113: Charles Easterling, West, def. Trevor Edelen, Van, by fall, 3:50.
120: J.C. White, Hert., def. Tyler Holmes, West, by fall, 1:27.
126: Mason Hayes, Van, def. Peter Henry, Spring., 8-2.
132: Daryl Easterling, West, def. Walker Fox, Bentonville, 3-2.
138: Camaron Hicks, Van, def. Jaxon Davis, Hert., by major decision, 10-1.
145: Brady Stafford, West, def. Noah Fuhrman, Fay., by fall, 1:21.
152: Christian Wise, Spring., def. James Crow, Bentonville, by fall, 1:32.
160: Christian Carney, Van, def. Leslie Covington, Fay., by major decision, 9-1.
170: Robbie Woody, Fay., def. Seth Villanueva, Van, by fall, 3:40.
182: Matthew Muller, Fay., def. Connor Klein, Bentonville, 6-1.
195: Ricktak Iban, Springdale, def. Nicolas Torrible, Bentonville, by fall, 5:34.
220: Chris Pointer, Hert., def. Caleb McSpadden, West, by fall, 2:46.
285: Randall Riley, Van. def. Edwin Sandoval, Hert., by fall, 4:55.
"Overall, I thought we wrestled well," Wise said. "I thought we could have had a couple more guys in the finals. We lost some matches that we had the potential to win. But for the most part, they came back and wrestled well on the back side.
"We've got to learn from our mistakes. That's the biggest thing moving forward. At state, everybody's gonna bring their 'A' game and you don't want to give up those that you can win. That's oftentimes what makes the difference."
Area coaches decided last spring to forego a conference tournament but reconsidered in the fall when they found out the state tournament would be pushed back an extra week. But some schools had already set their schedule, which led to only six teams competing on Saturday.
In addition, some schools which sent teams opted to have some top wrestlers sit out to remain healthy in preparation for the state tournament to be held Feb. 22-23 in Little Rock.
"I think some of us coaches thought that was a little too much time off,"Wise said. "We just wanted our kids to compete. My opinion, that's one way to get better. That's why we're here is to learn and see what we need to work on and keep working to get better."
Bentonville High, which won the Class 6A dual state title a week ago and will look to defend its state title in two weeks in Little Rock, sent only six of its varsity wrestlers to compete on Saturday.
"We knew a couple of teams weren't attending, so we just decided to wrestle the guys who needed some mat time for different reasons," Bentonville coach Jason Adams said.
Daryl Easterling, the defending 6A-7A state champion at 126, scored late to earn a tough 3-2 win over former West teammate Walker Fox of Bentonville High in the 132-pound finals in possibly the best match of the day. The sophomore improved to 51-6 on the season.
Wise was not surprised at all.
"It was a great match," Wise said. "That match has gotten closer every time and I knew it was gonna be close. I expect it will be close again at state if we see each other. We've just gotta keep working and we've got to improve."
Fayetteville's Matthew Muller, the defending 6A-7A state champion at 182, never trailed in the finals and defeated Bentonville's Connor Klein 6-1 on Saturday and earned Outstanding Wrestling honors for the tournament.
The senior improved to 54-8 and said he's looking forward to the state tournament in two weeks.
"I feel like I wrestled well," Muller said. "Connor's style is not really what I'm used to, so I had to adapt to that. I feel like I wrestled him well, stayed in good position and that's what I'm all about.
Sports on 02/10/2019
Print Headline: PREP WRESTLING Bentonville West claims Big West title