For all of the speed that Harrison Phillips brings to the table, it was a bit of endurance that was the difference in Friday night’s Class A semifinals.
The Millard West junior outlasted Millard South’s Freeman Coleman 6-3 at 285 pounds, advancing to Saturday’s championship.
Phillips, unbeaten and ranked No. 1, fell behind early, but had enough left in the tank down the stretch to beat the second-ranked Coleman for the second time this season.
“He not only has the athletic gifts,” Millard South coach Doug Denson said of Phillips, “but he’s a smart wrestler, too. He’s been doing this for a long time. You have that in your hip pocket and you’re ahead of the pack.”
Phillips gave Coleman his only other loss of the season in the Metro Conference tournament finals last month. But that was Coleman’s first tournament of the season.
The Patriot senior looked ready Friday, coming out with a quick takedown for a 2-0 lead.
“We knew that was coming,” Millard West coach Scott Townsley said.
Phillips countered with a reversal, and Coleman got an escape for a 3-2 lead after one. That’s when Phillips went to work.
He rode Coleman out for the entire second period and tied the match early in the third period. Phillips then hit a quick single-leg sweep for a takedown early in the final frame, got one more point for a stalling call against Coleman and rode the rest of the period out.
The two got to their feet and, after Phillips’ hand was raised, shared a quick exchange and a second handshake.
“That wasn’t the same Freeman out there today that I wrestled (at Metro),” Phillips said. “He improved tremendously. He’s like hitting a bull.”
But Phillips, who weighed in Saturday around 240 pounds, had a decided advantage in both quickness and stamina.
“I knew it was going to come,” he said. “There aren’t many guys that I wrestle that can keep up with my speed.”
Phillips is now one win away from back-to-back state titles after he won the 220-pound championship as a sophomore. All that is standing in the way of his second crown is third-ranked Eric Oltman of Lincoln Southwest.
“He’s a gamer,” Townsley said of Phillips. “He wrestles his best when it’s all on the line. I’m just glad he’s on my side.”
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