VAN BUREN -- Bentonville High dominated the day to claim the third annual Class 6A-7A Arkansas Wrestling Coaches/Officials Association Dual State title.
The Tigers started fast in the tournament finals with four consecutive pins and never looked back in defeating Springdale Har-Ber 48-16 at Claire Bates Arena.
At A Glance
Arkansas Wrestling Coaches/Officials Association Dual State Tournament
At Claire Bates Arena, Van Buren
Bentonville 65, Little Rock Catholic 9
Rogers High 43, Conway 33
Searcy 50, Rogers Heritage 21
Springdale Har-Ber 45, Bryant 15
Bentonville 82, Rogers High 0
Springdale Har-Ber 46, Seacy 19.
Bentonville 48, Springdale Har-Ber 16
Searcy 43, Rogers High 26
Rogers Heritage 41, Conway 16.
The Dual State tournament is not sanctioned by the Arkansas Activities Association like the state tournament in two weeks, but the event was formed three years ago by 6A and 7A coaches to allow a competition in the dual format. Coaches drew up round-robin dual schedules in the Central and West conferences with the top four teams in each conference advancing to the Dual State Tournament.
Bentonville finished with a 38-6 dual record and undefeated against Arkansas opponents. It rolled through the eight-team tournament, defeating three opponents by a combined score of 195-25. Tigers coach James Rappe couldn't have been more pleased with his team's performance, especially freshman Obi Smith and sophomore Zane Sims setting the tone early.
"We were fortunate that our underclassmen in those lighter weights came out strong," Rappe said. "Obi came out at 126 picked up a huge fall. Then another one, little sophomore Zane Sims had a serious injury in the first part of the season, continued that momentum, picking up another fall.
"We just rolled right into 138 there with Logan Schmit, picked up another fall. Then Cash Jones comes out and does what he does for us, picked up another six for us. We really got the ball rolling at that point."
The Tigers had a 24-0 lead at that point and Har-Ber (33-10) never recovered. The Wildcats, the No. 2 seed out of the West conference, picked up back-to-back wins from Josh Tyler (152) and Britton Bowman (160) to get on the board, but won just one more match.
Senior Scott Lome got a tough 3-2 win over Har-Ber's Brendan Davis at 113 and Alex Crowe avenged earlier losses against Har-Ber's Quentin Reed with a 4-2 victory. Bentonville's Luke Brandon, a two-time state champion, also bumped up a weight to knock off Logan Collins, 7-2, at 182.
Bentonville had a little extra motivation to win since assistant coach Steve Grigsby told the team earlier this year it could shave his head if they won. And he paid up quickly as each wrestler took turns with the clippers in the hallway following the win.
Har-Ber coach Eric Nolan was looking for a better effort from his team, but credited Bentonville for its performance.
"To be honest, I think Bentonville, with their actions on the mat, looked like they wanted wanted to win this a little more than some of our kids did," Nolan said. "The results spoke for themselves."
Rappe said his team will now return to the practice room to refocus with the Big West Conference tournament coming up next week, followed by the state tournament in Little Rock.
"We know that we still have to come battle," Rappe said. "We came in today and we were up for the event, but our work's not done. We're going to go back to work, keep tuning up for the continuation of our championship season."
Sports on 02/05/2017