A patchwork bunch of United Township High School wrestlers led Alleman by as many as 24 points in Thursday's Western Big 6 Conference dual but needed a late Alleman forfeit to secure a victory.|
The Panthers ended up sneaking out of the Don Morris Gym with a 33-30 victory.
Max Rocha's pin of UT's Alex Ross in the heavyweight class gave Alleman a brief, 30-27 lead. It was a Pioneer forfeit in the 106 class that ultimately did them in, as Marques Harrison took the victory, giving the Panthers the three-point win.
"For the most part, we wrestled as I expected," UT coach Lambros Fotos said. "We've had quite a few guys out suffering with injuries, but overall, we had a handful of guys who wrestled well."
UT won the first five bouts of the evening. First was a forfeit in the 113 weight class, followed by two pinfalls, capped off by two decisions.
The Panthers were rolling until they got to the Pioneers' upperclassmen.
Alleman's comeback was highlighted by Sean Wetherell's decision over Deryck Wessels. The match went into overtime where Wetherell's takedown gave him a 6-4 decision.
Ben West, who has been nursing a shoulder injury, returned to action for the first time in a week and a half with a 5-3 decision, and Connor Doak needed just 3:20 to log a pin.
"Like all dual meets, there's some things we could have done a little bit better," Alleman coach James Ealy said. "We have been talking the entire season about putting ourselves in a position to win. We've been close a few times, but need to start getting over that hump a little bit."
UT came into the meet with troubles of its own.
"Half of our lineup were JV guys stepping up," Fotos said. "That's what made it look like we were in a commanding lead and what made it disappear like it was nothing. All it takes is just a few matches."
Fotos isn't worried about getting his lineup to where it needs to be.
"We have some guys who need to fix some physical and mental issues," Fotos said. "Looking at our team right now, our focus is to get each individual prepared for the postseason. That's how we attack it in the practice room. If you get everybody on the team competing at their top level, the team is going to fill in itself."
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