MANCHESTER — This was a dream for Tyger Vaske.
Wrestling under the spotlight on Senior Night. An electric gym in an intense rivalry. Posting an unexpected fall over a top-ranked opponent. Everything seemed surreal Thursday night.
“I’m still on cloud nine, right now, trying to get back to earth and hoping that it’s real,” Vaske said. “It’s all about how it ends. I came out on top. It’s an awesome way to end my career at West Delaware.”
Vaske ignited the West Delaware bench and fans, recording a defensive fall against top-ranked Brandon O’Brien and helping the Class 2A top-ranked Hawks to a 45-21 win over No. 5 Independence in a Wamac Conference dual at Seedorff Gymnasium.
“You talk about making memories,” Hawks Coach Jeff Voss said. “He’ll never forget this Independence dual, like the rest of us. What a great memory for him as a senior on Senior Night, having that happen in front of the crowd. Great job for Ty.”
O’Brien had his way with Vaske, building a 14-3 lead after the first period of the 132-pound bout. He was just two points away from a technical fall in the second and held an 18-4 lead with a minute. Vaske kept battling and staying after the state runner-up.
“Our culture at West Delaware teaches us to go hard all six minutes and out-work your opponent,” Vaske said. “I wasn’t doing very good the first two periods, but I could tell he was getting tired and I just kept going, kept wrestling and tried to stay in the best possible position to come away with the win.”
As O’Brien was attempting a turn to finish things off, Vaske popped up and caught O’Brien on his back for a defensive fall in 5:07.
“Tyger weathered the storm,” Voss said. “He just kept wrestling in every position and came away with a win.”
Vaske said he was aware of the position and knew he had his opponent in peril.
“I tried to stick that there,” Vaske said. “I was actually sad that he didn’t call it sooner because I could feel him slipping away and I had him in the right position where I thought he was flat. I just tried holding him there as long as I could and waited for the fall.”
Vaske bounced in the center of the mat as the rest of West Delaware’s crowd erupted. He was greeted by frenzied teammates and coaches. Even the youth wrestlers in attendance couldn’t contain their excitement as the scored tied, 15-15, near the midway point.
“It’s all a blur, now,” Vaske said. “Usually, Coach Voss and Coach (Mitch) Peyton keep everybody back but they were leading the pack. I think that’s the highest I’ve ever seen either of those two jump. Even Wyatt Voelker was 3 feet in the air. Just crazy.”
The dual was a seesaw affair through the first eight weights. Independence’s Kaden Kremer (106) and 120-pounder Luke Johnson scored pins and Carter Straw gave the Mustangs a 15-9 edge after 120. Straw scored an escape in the ultimate tiebreaker to top No. 8 Blake Engel, 4-3.
Isaiah Weber’s decision at 138 put Independence (24-6) ahead for the last time. West Delaware (15-0) won six of the last seven matches. Top-ranked Jared Voss (170) and Wyatt Voelker (195) scored pins. Jadyn Peyton (152) and Cael Meyer (182) won by technical fall. Logan Peyton (145) and 220-pounder Christian Nunley added major decisions.
“We were aggressive,” Voss said. “Sometimes it got us in a little trouble but I’d rather have them going out after it instead of waiting for things to happen.
“They all gave great effort. That’s all you can ask for.”
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