BLOOMINGTON — After 14 matches had been wrestled, the LeRoy/Tri-Valley Panthers and the Sherrard Tigers were knotted at 33 points apiece Saturday at the state wrestling duals.
It came down to criteria, and each team had won seven matches, so six-point falls decided the winner. The Panthers trailed 4-3 in that category, so the Tigers earned the extra point and the 34-33 victory.
“If you go by the rankings, we weren’t even supposed to be in this,” LeRoy coach Doug DeWald said. “I am proud of our kids the way they battled. We just came up a little short.”
The No. 14 Panthers fought back from an 18-5 deficit after Sherrard recorded pins in three of the first four bouts.
“With the start that we got, we just had to bide our time and get to some of those weight classes that we knew we could win to pick up some momentum,” DeWald said.
Seniors Caleb Wilson (170 pounds) and Mike Edwards (182) responded with 6-3 and 7-1 decisions, respectively, then junior Lane Lindstrom (195) and senior Ty Sandy (220) each recorded falls in the next two matches to give LeRoy a 23-18 advantage.
Junior Tyler Walsh added a fall, freshman Trevor Bulington won by major decision and sophomore Peyton Roop was victorious by technical fall.
Going into the final match, the Panthers led 33-30, with sophomore Brock Danko taking on fifth-place state individual placer Chance Teel in the 132-pound class.
Danko battled, riding Teel for much of the advance and managing to land an escape, but he lost 2-1.
“Brock Danko was the underdog but came out and fought his tail off. He has been injured all year long, and he is still not healthy,” DeWald said.
Danko wrestled with heavily bandaged hands.
For four-year seniors, it was the fourth state appearance — and the fifth in six years for the LeRoy co-op.
“It was great to be here with the team. We are a family,” Wilson said. “We couldn’t have done it without Coach DeWald.”
Sandy finished one shy of triple-digit wins as a Panther, ending his high school career at 99.