On Friday night, it didn’t take long for Tyler Herman’s tie to come off.
There was no way the Amherst wrestling coach was going to undo that four-in-hand knot he tied Saturday morning. Not when there would be celebration photos to be taken.
After a frustrating Friday filled with semifinal disappointments, Saturday was an almost perfect day for the Broncos. They rallied to erase a 23.5-point deficit and outscore runner-up Pender 185.5-172 to win their fourth consecutive Class D title at the CenturyLink Center.
“It was a complete turnaround where things went as bad as they probably could have Friday to an almost perfect day today,” Herman said. “They were pretty bummed out, but we went back to the hotel, got everybody together and told them to keep battling.”
The Broncos had only two wrestlers in the finals after seven others lost their semifinals Friday evening after what Herman called a “lights-out” first round on Thursday.
The tide turned for Amherst in Saturday’s morning session as the Broncos turned that deficit into a 25-5-point advantage before the Parade of Champions. The Broncos outscored Pender 61-5 by winning 13 of 14 consolation semifinal and third-place matches.
In the third-place matches, Dawson Trampe (106), Colten Bergt (120), Brandt Florell (126) and Devin Dibbern (138) all pinned their opponents in the second period. Mason Klingelhoefer (145) and Kris Rasmussen (182) followed by winning one-point decisions.
Amherst went 7 for 7 in the consolation semifinals for 41 points. Stuart Hircock, one of the Broncos’ two individual champions, said that performance was both inspirational and soothing.
“It definitely got me going,” Hircock said. “They showed up and performed, and that got my blood pumping.”
The soothing part for Hircock was the 13-5 major decision teammate Bryan Wietjes had over Chris Werth of Eustes-Farnam in the 113-pound final. Hircock knew the Broncos had secured the team title with that win, so he could just go out and enjoy his final match.
He did just that, rolling to a 24-5 major decision over Tyler Kipp of Arapahoe. That win let Hircock finish the season 38-0.
“Once he got that major decision, I knew it was over,” Hircock said. “I knew I could just go out and wrestle for myself.”
Hircock was so wound up after his win that he wound up and gave Herman a hard slap on his backside before letting out a celebratory yell to punctuate the Broncos’ latest title.
“To not only get those wins but all of the bonus points, that just showed so much character and perseverance,” Herman said. “This really was a complete team effort.”
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