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Graham grapplers nip St. Ed’s by criteria

When Graham wrestling coach Jeff Jordan posted a sign for the dual with Lakewood St. Edwards with a 29-29 score and a mantra of “do something special,” he got a few laughs.

Saturday night, in front of a capacity crowd at Graham High School, Jordan proved to be prophetic as his Falcons — ranked seventh in the nation — tied second-ranked St. Ed’s 29-29 with Graham getting the 30-29 win on the third tiebreaker, most combined falls, forfeits or defaults. Graham had two six-point wins, a pin and a medical default, while St. Ed’s only had one — a forfeit.

“All the guys were laughing at that,” Jordan said of the sign, “but, this was a complete team effort.”

The dual began at 120 with the Falcons getting a takedown in the last five seconds by Mario Kastl to take a 8-6 decision. Brent Moore followed with a major decision and the Falcons had a 7-0 lead heading into the marquee match of the night.

Micah Jordan, the second-ranked wrestler in the nation at 132, and St. Ed’s Dean Heil met for the first time since Jordan scored a late takedown to win in the semis at the Ironman tourney in December. Jordan pulled off some late-match heroics again, recording the winning takedown with 11 ticks left for a 4-3 decision and a 10-0 Graham lead.

St. Ed’s won the next two matches by tech fall and got a minor upset at 152 with a 9-7 win by Marcus Scheidel over Graham’s Alex Marinelli to take a 13-10 lead. Bo Jordan needed just 31 seconds to get the lead back for Graham with a pin, 16-13. Graham lost another match in the closing seconds at 170 to tie the match at 16-16.

“When we lost those two tight ones, I thought the match was over,” Jordan said of the losses at 152 and 170. “I was worried about getting blown out, but we did some jockeying.”

Jordan forfeited at 182 and bumped Josh Couchman up to 195 and Anthony Welty up to 220. Couchman dropped a tough 10-8 decision, but Welty was winning 12-4 when St. Ed’s Parker Knapp could not continue the match — giving the Falcons a medical default.

St. Eds grew the lead to 29-22 heading into the last two matches, but Eli Stickley claimed a 5-4 overtime win at 106, meaning Eli Seipel needed a major decision to tie the match and a tech fall or pin to win.

“We call him (Seipel) the hammer and when we found out where we were starting, I told him it was right where I wanted it to be,” Jeff Jordan said. “He was up six with one minute left and I told him I needed him to get me one more takedown. He was crying he wanted to get that takedown so bad.”

Seipel ended up with a 14-4 decision to tie the match at 29-29.

“The gym was crazy,” Jordan said. “There were a lot of wrestling fans there from all over. I knew it would come down to bonus points and we never gave up a pin. Everyone thought we would give up more bonus points, but our kids stepped up and did what they had to do.”

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