The city’s wrestling bragging rights came down to a lawyer and a broker.
The tri-dual featuring Lee’s Summit, Lee’s Summit North and Lee’s Summit West Dec. 10 was a virtual wrestling clinic, filled with veteran coaches, officials, former wrestling greats and a mat full of grapplers with their eyes on the state tournament.
Amid the hype and electric atmosphere, though, three varsity teams were battling for city bragging rights.
And, for this year, the Tigers own the right to boast.
Jay McGovern’s burgeoning squad took down the Broncos 57-23 in the middle of the three duals before edging out the Titans in a down-to-the-wire match to end the evening, winning 42-34.
“That was a good feeling,” McGovern said. “Our guys put in a lot of work. We’re a much deeper team this year. The kids are buying into the team concept now instead of a bunch of individuals.”
Indeed, the individual concept worked well for the Tigers, who were part of a three-way split between the rivals a year ago in the first Lee’s Summit Wrestling Showcase.
This year, on the Titans’ home turf, the original Lee’s Summit high school and the newest on the scene took its match all the way to the final minute.
With the score 36-34 in favor of the Tigers, Lee’s Summit’s Trey Broker and West’s Lawyer Beckum were locked in a see-saw match at 126 pounds. A simple decision or better by Beckum would win the match for the Titans; anything else in favor of Broker would title the dual to the Tigers.
The match filled the air with such intensity that each team lined up just feet from the mat and fans were on their feet as the early 2-1 lead for Beckum switched to a 5-3 Broker advantage. Then 5-4. Then 5-5. Then 6-6.
Both wrestlers ended up in a flurry, scrambling to an almost vertical positions, feet in the air, before Broker caught Beckum in a headlock. Head referee Bob Glasgow spun around and pounded the mat as the pin was in place.
After the emotional win, Broker had a confession.
“I threw up in the second period,” he said. “My dad and I talked about how it would probably come down to me at the end, and it did. I did feel some pressure, but I just had to go out and win it.”
Veteran coach Ethan Hauck was also honest in his assessment of the final match.
“He ran out of gas in that match. It caught up to him this time,” he said of Beckum. “It did make for an exciting finish.
“But it makes it frustrating when you are trying to get kids in the lineup and you feel like you have the kids where you want them, but you have kids making bad decisions on their dieting.”
Hauck has seen his share of scrambles on the wrestling mat. And they can go either way.
“Those things tend to happen more when you’re not moving and not alert,” Hauck said. “He shouldn’t have been in that situation. He knows it. Hopefully that won’t happen again.”
McGovern was proud of his junior for staying with his game plan.
“Trey has it in his head that if it’s close in the third period, he’s going to win,” McGovern said. “He just kept battling. That’s what we teach these guys, don’t worry about the score.
“Last year he had six, seven matches where he came back from being down to get the win. He really has started to figure out how to win those close matches right at the end.”
The Showcase started with West against North, with the Titans prevailing 45-33. West won eight of the 14 matches in what proved to be a close dual.
One of North’s wins came at 145 pounds where Keegan McCormick methodically outlasted Stephan Fassett for a 10-3 decision. McCormick won both of his matches that night, also pining Lee’s Summit’s Austin Jones.
“We’ve been working hard in the practice room every day,” said McCormick, wrestling in his first match of the season. “Right now, it’s just getting out the butterflies. I wanted to come into this dual, and it’s a big dual, the City Showcase, and help my team as much as possible.”
The Titans also boasted several two-timing winners that night, including state medalist Austin Eveler.
Eveler opened the final dual of the night against another state-worthy opponent, Alan Olivas, from Lee’s Summit.
And just as the Beckum-Broker finale was one for the books, the start to this dual was equally dramatic.
Eveler found himself down 2-0 before battling back to a 5-3 advantage to end the second period. The two ripped and gripped for another two minutes with Olivas spinning around to reverse Eveler and close the gap to 9-7 before time ran out.
“I came out strong in my first match,” Eveler said, referring to his pin against North’s Kody Negri. “(Against Olivas) you have to perform your best and I didn’t feel like I did that tonight.”
Lee’s Summit’s Brady Daniels (160) helped his squad along in both duals, winning by pin against West’s Pedro Murcia and in an 8-5 scrum against North’s Evan Weidner.
“I lost to him (Weidner) last year, so I expected a grind,” said Daniels, who turned a 5-3 deficit around with a five-point move with 30 seconds left to win. “I’m sore from this weekend, but it felt good to win.”