Evergreen wins lackluster Power Cup

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Injuries, forfeits bog down annual grudge match

By Brian Forbes

The Power Cup was a flicker of its former self Feb. 5.


The coveted traveling trophy, awarded each year to the winner of the mountain wrestling rivalry, packed enough drama for a Dixie Cup. Maybe.


Thanks to a rash of injuries, low roster numbers and general gamesmanship, the Evergreen Cougars and Conifer Lobos did just about everything but wrestle in Conifer’s gym. The teams combined to forfeit 11 of the 14 weights, while the only Conifer wrestlers to break a sweat were from the junior varsity squad.


Of the three weights wrestled, the Cougars won two to give them a 44-36 victory and bring the Power — cough — Cup back to their trophy case after a year in Loboland.


Ultimately, the points swung on victories by Daniel Downs and Connor O’Neal, who won for Evergreen after the Lobos had tied the match at 30 following a pinfall victory by 112-pounder John Hoins against Alex Avery.


Downs scored a technical fall just before the buzzer to end the third period to give him a 15-0 victory over Conifer 119-pounder Anthony Lederhos.


O’Neal scored an 8-4 decision over Dylan Shively to win their 125-pound match. For O’Neal, who was returning from a concussion, the extra pressure of knowing he was essentially going to decide where the Cup went was not something he needed.


“I’d rather not know that when I’m wrestling,” O’Neal said. “I’d rather not know if I lose it could lose us the match.”


O’Neal started fast against Shively after giving up a point for an illegal hold. O’Neal was up 2-1 by the end of the first period and stretched his lead to 6-1 by the end of the second period with a takedown from the neutral position and a late nearfall.


O’Neal needed 17 seconds to score a reversal in the third period, but his 8-1 lead would diminish as he showed fatigue in the final minute.


“I hit a wall and couldn’t recover from it,” O’Neal said.


Shively scored a reversal and got a point for O’Neal stalling, but could not get the Cougar in any real danger.


Downs’ fast start continued until the end against Lederhos.


Downs nearly got an early pin but Lederhos did well to fight him off. Downs extended his lead to 10-0 by the end of the second period and made it 12-0 with a reversal early in the third. The 119-pounder kept fighting and got the three points for a technical fall just before the final buzzer.


The Lobos’ lone victory was a pin by Hoins in 3 minutes, 34 seconds. Hoins scored an early takedown against Avery, but could not do much with it until the second period.


With Avery a little wobbly following an incidental head butt, Hoins was up 10-0 following three nearfalls and got the pin to avoid a third period.


Cougars coach Lane Williams was proud of Avery’s effort.


“She’s earned her place,” Williams said.


The Lobos were without standout Tony Pena, who rolled his ankle in practice the night before. That left coach Barry Himmelman with few options.


The Cougars got forfeit victories for Nathan Phipps (103 pounds), Wes Knoll (160), Nick Keitlin (171), Dylan Cisneros (189), Rory Finnegan (215) and Colby Fisher (135).


The Lobos got forfeit victories by Colby Kluesner (140), Austin Barnett (145), Derek Materkowski (152), Darvi Olivares (285) and Travis Himmelman.