PORT BYRON -- After competing in wrestling during his junior-high days, Orion's Logan Lee took a hiatus from the sport to play basketball during his freshman year.
Returning to the mat for the first time as a high schooler on Tuesday evening, the Chargers' sophomore 220-pounder quickly made his presence known. He gave his team an early spark, igniting a 48-27 Orion win over Three Rivers Conference rival Riverdale.
Pinning the Rams' Kyle Todd in 3:08 to open his prep wrestling career, Lee's victory was a key part in a key run in which the Chargers won five of six bouts after Riverdale's Elliot Angel opened at 170 pounds with a 7-3 decision over Ray Herd.
``I wasn't looking for a pin; I was looking to have a good match and to do my best,'' said Lee. ``I was very pleased with being able to get a pin. I was absolutely nervous; I'm always nervous, no matter who it is. We knew Riverdale would be tough, and they proved it.''
According to Orion coach Dan Diamond, Lee returned to his middle-school winter activity in large part to help him stay in top shape for football. Regardless, Diamond see the sophomore as a key asset in the lineup.
``Logan's a smart kid, and he's strong as a horse," Diamond said. "It was big, having him come through for us in the first meet of the year.''
Teammate Chad Banfield got the fire started at 182 pounds with a 5-0 shutout, giving an immediate answer to Angel's victory at 170. After James Nordstrom took a forfeit win for Orion at 195, the Chargers never trailed.
``Going out for the first one, there are a lot of nerves,'' said Banfield, ``but once it starts, it goes away and you just wrestle your match.''
Trailing 21-9 entering the 113-pound bout, the Rams caught something of a bad break. With Carson Ebenroth leading Orion's Ethan Meisenburg 4-3 in the second period, he was whistled for slamming his opponent, ultimately leading to Meisenburg getting a six-point win by disqualification.
``That was a big swing,'' said Riverdale coach Myron Keppy. ``We had a little momentum going for us at the time.''
The Rams tried their best to rally from that, with pins by Kale VenHuizen (120) and Colton Reiman (132) keeping them within striking distance at 33-21 before Mason Loete's 8-3 win over Tristan Altensey at 138 pounds clinched the win for the visitors.
``That was a pretty good dogfight for the first match,'' said Keppy. ``Our kids fought hard. We'll find out how good we are Saturday at the North-South Duals when we wrestle Lena-Winslow, Stillman Valley and West Carroll.''