RUSSELLVILLE -- A little adversity didn't faze Bentonville High on its way to claiming the Class 6A Dual State wrestling championship on Saturday evening at Cyclone Arena.
The Tigers were forced to forfeit the opening match of championship dual because of a clerical error but in the end that didn't matter much.
Dual State Tournament
At Cyclone Arena, Russellville
Championship Match Bentonville 55, Cabot 17
Third-Place Match Bentonville West 68, Springdale High 9
Championship Match Greenwood 42, Russellville 29
Third-Place Match Searcy 48, Lake Hamilton 30
Championship Match Pulaski Academy 53, Shiloh Chritian 27
Third-Place Match Berryville 48, Pulaski Robinson 20
Bentonville won the final eight matches of the dual -- seven by fall -- en route to a dominating 55-17 win over Cabot to claim the title.
Because a wrestler's weight was entered incorrectly with two numbers transposed on the weight sheet, he was not allowed to bump up a weight class, therefore the Tigers were forced to forfeit the 160-poumd match to start the dual.
But Tigers coach Jason Adams said his team turned it into a positive.
"It definitely got our kids motivated," Adams said. "You know their crowd was really into it. So once we got the momentum back we just kept feeding off of it."
Bentonville trailed 17-9 after six matches but the tide turned beginning with Tristan Stafford, the defending 6A state champion at 106. The junior pinned his opponent in 44 seconds and gestured for quiet toward the Cabot crowd. The Tigers took care of the rest.
The only match that didn't end in a Bentonville fall was at 120 and Quinn Graves broke open a close match, scoring the final nine points for a 15-5 major decision.
The Tigers, the No. 1 seed from the 6A West, cruised into the tournament finals blowing out Fort Smith Northside 70-9 in the first round and rolling over Springdale High 72-6 earlier in the day.
The Dual State tournament is not yet sanctioned by the Arkansas Activities Association, so this serves as more of a tune-up for the regular state tournament in two weeks.
Adams said his team performed as expected, but there's more left to do.
"We went out and we took care of business," Adams said. "We did what we felt like we were supposed to do. All we can ask is our kids go out and compete every weekend and we came out this weekend and definitely did that.
"This is just another step, get us some more matches and get us prepared for state."
Greenwood defeated host Russellville 42-29 to win its second consecutive 5A Dual State title, while Pulaski Academy knocked off Shiloh Christian 53-27 to take the 4A crown.
Greenwood coach John Kincade believes the Bulldogs are ready to contend for a state title in a couple of weeks.
"They went out and gave it their all," Kincade said. "We had a lot of victories just by not getting pinned. You know, that's what won the match today was guys just wrestling and not giving up those bonus points. I'm very happy with them. I just really love the fight.
"I think they're peaking at the right time. We've got conference and then state coming up. It's a big-time deal."
The Bulldogs drew a first-round bye, but took care of Lake Hamilton 54-24 in the semifinals.
The Bruins, the defending 4A state champions, earned the dual state title despite not being at full strength. They return 10 state medalists and one state champion, but were missing four from the starting lineup on Saturday.
Pulaski Academy coach Bruce Dickey said his team's success is built on depth and it shows in the dual format.
"The thing that's unique about us is we're all better than average," Dickey said. "But we have a few real good wrestlers. Dylan Allison is phenomenal at 170 and so's Matthew Hugg at 182. They can wrestle with the best in the state. But the rest are certainly better than average but maybe not elite wrestlers.
"But they're awful good and they're really dedicated."
Pulaski Academy had not trouble in the earlier rounds, taking out Berryville 57-18 in the semifinals and Bauxite 69-12 in the first round.
Preps Sports on 02/09/2020