The streak that spanned multiple seasons and states has been snapped. Star Valley’s 83-match dual winning streak ended Saturday morning in a 34-33 loss to Rapid City (South Dakota) Central in the second day of the Trojan Border War at Kelly Walsh High School.
“We didn’t really come into that match fully expecting competition and kind of got caught off guard,” Star Valley senior Tristan Hicks said. “That streak, we just put it in the back of our mind and try to win all of our home duals.”
Hicks won his match in the dual by a 12-7 decision to give Star Valley a 27-18 lead. Then the Cobblers won four consecutive matches and clinched victory with one match remaining.
Coming off a team loss meant the Braves were finally faced with the adversity of loss. It’s something that Hicks became frustrated with on Friday, losing three difficult matches. First there was an opening 6-2 decision to Natrona County’s Kyler Henderson. Then came an 11-6 decision loss to North Platte, Nebraska’s, Darian Diaz (who went on to finish the weekend undefeated). And in Friday’s finale he was rocked by a 7-4 decision loss to Kelly Walsh freshman Noah Hone.
After a winless Friday he went searching for answers.
“That was a rough first day for me,” Hicks said. “So I’ve just got to put it out of my mind, try not to think about it, today is a new day and just try to restart.”
He did exactly that, going 4-0 on Saturday with two pins, a major decision and a regular decision. That helped his team eventually win the second annual Trojan Broder War by tiebreaker as Rapid City Central, Star Valley and Kelly Walsh all finished 7-1. Since all finished with identical records, total team points accrued throughout the weekend were used to break the tie. Star Valley finished with 242 to win while Kelly Walsh finished just behind with 239. Rapid City Central had 233.
Second place and a small consolation trophy may not have been what the host Trojans wanted out of the weekend, but it was welcomed after the Trojans handed Rapid City Central its only loss of meet, 39-36.
Kole Kraus was one of four Kelly Walsh wrestlers to go undefeated throughout the weekend. He was somewhat disappointed in the second-place finish, but put more emphasis on how close the Trojans were to being undefeated as a team. (Kelly Walsh lost to Star Valley 40-34 in the last match on Friday).
“We could have came out here and taken first so it went pretty well this weekend,” Kraus said. “Honestly, yeah, this proved we’re just as good as anyone else.”
The senior Kraus is the Trojans’ 170-pounder, meaning he ran the gauntlet over weekend. He beat Star Valley’s Koa DeLong, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A. He beat Douglas’ Dax Read and won two matches by major decision and pinfall each. Most tournaments provide a tough field for him but this weekend, on his home turf, gave him something a little more.
“All of us after our matches today,” he said, “we all proved ourselves.”
The other Trojans to go undefeated were Kevin Anderson, Analu Benabise and Jace Palmer.
Another wrestler to go undefeated this weekend was Natrona County heavyweight Trevon Smith. The returning state champion regained his footing after losing in the Shane Shatto championship last weekend and went through the competition this time around.
“It was a pretty tough dual tournament,” Smith said. “I liked the competition. You don’t get to see some of those kids around too much.”
Natrona County finished fifth at the meet, going 3-4. But with a largely young group, Smith was encouraged by the growth made even just between Friday’s opening loss to Star Valley and Saturday’s closing win against Fruita (Colorado) Monument.
“We put up a fight against K-Dub, kind of a close match,” Smith said. “I still think we can get better and we’ll definitely be coming for them in the Miller Cup.”
Douglas finished fourth as a team, going 4-3. The Bearcats were led by Cody Pinkerton and Nycholas Melchor, both of whom went undefeated at the Border War.
Star Valley’s Trent Clark also went undefeated for the weekend.