Back-and-forth home dual sees late CHS rally, ends with visitors nearly pulling it out with last-seconds pin

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

CHILLICOTHE, Mo. — The long, long, keen high school sports rivalry between north-central Missouri neighbors Chillicothe and Trenton added an exciting new chapter Tuesday night (Jan. 28, 2020), one to which Trenton nearly wrote a sudden-twist ending after Chillicothe had charged from behind to lead by five points with one bout left.

With Trenton needing a win by fall to pull out the win on points or a technical fall in the closing 106-pounds bout to tie the score and send the match to a criteria tiebreaker, Chillicothe junior Sheldon Rader and THS freshman Hunter McAtee engaged in an epic bout of multiple momentum swings.

Finally, after Rader – once behind 11-5 late in the second period after having a 5-2 lead after one – used an early-final-period reversal and 3-points near-fall to surge ahead 14-11, McAtee did the same thing – a reversal and three “back” points to move in front 16-14 inside the final minute.

However, because there not only wasn’t enough time to hope to accumulate the 15-points lead needed for a technical fall, the Bulldog had one choice – go for the pin.

As the final 20 seconds ticked off with McAtee in control, the THS youngster several times twisted Rader into a position where a pin could occur, but couldn’t keep him there. Finally, in the final five seconds, he did, but, with the referee peering in from about a yard away to see if the Hornet’s shoulder would go flat on the mat – constituting a pin, Rader managed to squirm, twist, and arch his back just long enough for the match-ending horn to sound with McAtee having to settle for a 16-14 decision that left Chillicothe on the long end of the final team score, 35-33.

By all appearances, had the Trenton lightweight had another 10 seconds to work with – perhaps even only an extra few, he might have gotten the fall he and his team needed.

The exciting ending – made more thrilling for Chillicothe because it managed to prevail – moved CHS head coach Chad Smith, a star in his high school days in Nebraska, to call the match “awesome” later on the team’s Twitter account, labeling it “one of the most exciting duals I have been part of.”

With the victory at the end of a match each team led more than once, CHS advanced its dual-matches record for 2019-20 to 11-6 heading into a Thursday (Jan. 30) 6 p.m. triple-dual at Macon against MHS, Palmyra, and Mexico’s Missouri Military Academy.

Although the mesh between the circumstances and the action of the 106-pounds finale made it, undeniably, the highlight of the evening’s competition, there were plenty of great moments prior to it, including a late comeback by the home team

Behind 30-20 with four weight classes remaining, the host Hornets could not afford more than a single decision loss the rest of the way. Working in the Hornets’ favor was the fact that some of their best wrestlers would be involved in the remaining contested bouts.

Additionally, they knew Trenton was without a wrestler for the 285-pounds division, meaning six free points for CHS were coming. However, that still meant outscoring the Bulldogs by at least five points would be necessary to snatch the match..

The Hornets accomplished that by a very slim margin, both points- and time-wise, when Isaac Washburn followed ailing Isaih Kille’s shaky 8-3 decision win at 195 pounds with a sudden-developing, early-third-period pin at 220 and, after the forfeit, Rader avoided the loss by fall. Had Wasburn, who led only 3-0 going to the third period before converting his segment-starting reversal into a pin after only 16 seconds of the closing frame, not come away with that pin, he likely would have prevailed by no more than a major decision. That would have given CHS only four team points from the bout, not the six the fall provided.

As previously noted, the late heroics and near-heroics by both teams were in sync with the match’s early action.

By pre-match draw, the 113-pounds weight division was to be the first bout wrestled, but neither side had anyone at that weight, so no points were scored.

Once actual wrestling commenced, the Hornet and Bulldogs went at it fiercely.

CHS lightweight sophomores Aidan Zimmerman and Jaxon Albertson got their team off to a great start with Zimmerman’s 10-1 major decision at 120 and Albertson’s following pin in 52 seconds – the fastest finish of the night.

The 10-0 lead that duo gave their team soon disappeared, however, as Trenton’s Brice Gibler and Coleman Griffin countered with wins by fall at 132 and 138, respectively. Chillicothe’s outstanding 132-poundsr, Colten Sewell, was rested for a second-straight night by Smith, a decision which might have caused as much as a 12-points swing in the proceedings.

When THS’ energetic Kaden Owen made it three wins by fall in a row for the Bulldogs, they increased their lead to 18-10.

With Trenton having another lineup gap at 152 pounds, Chillicothe closed to within two points and then moved ahead, 20-18, on Dawson Wheeler’s 12-2 major-decision triumph at 160.

The guests recaptured the lead on wins by fall at 170 by Sam Gibson and 182 by Mark Trump, leaving Chillicothe in the 30-20 predicament it barely escaped.

Tuesday’s varsity competition also saw three girls’ bouts wrestled – all won by Trenton – and three others won by forfeit, two taken by CHS. As a result, Trenton’s girls won that match 18-12.

In the three wrestled bouts, THS’ Allison Yoder shut out Chillicothe’s Karyna Ireland 5-0 at 130 pounds, Kaitlee Lovell pinned CHS’ Addison Lewis in 2:47 at 142, and Faith Baker secured a 5-2 decision over Hailey Fahling at 152.