WOOD RIVER — Wood River’s Evan Waddington had waited two years for another matchup with Syracuse’s Max Hughes.
After getting pinned by Hughes in the Class C 113-pound championship for his only his loss during his freshman season, the Eagle junior got his chance and gladly returned the favor during the 138-pound matchup — for the moment at least — during the Wood River Holiday Dual Tournament.
The No. 2-rated Waddington earned an 8-0 major decision over the three-time champion and top-ranked Hughes on Saturday.
Broken Bow, rated No. 4 in duals in the NSWCA ratings, won the team title by going 5-0. No. 8 David City Aquinas was second at 4-1.
Waddington said he was excited when he learned there was a possiblity of wrestling Hughes going into the day. The matchup happened after Syracuse and Wood River each went 1-2 in their pools and ended up in the consolation bracket.
“I was pretty excited to wrestle him after two years,” Waddington said. “It’s been in the back of my mind ever since that match. I just went out there and wrestled my own match. I knew I had to be physical and keep my feet moving.”
Waddington scored two takedowns in the first and second periods for a 4-0 lead. Hughes decided to go on top to start the third period. He had numerous chances to turn Waddington but was successful in doing so.
With 14 seconds left, Hughes attempted one last chance, but Waddington countered and scored a reversal and two near-fall points for the match’s final margin.
Wood River coach Darin Waddington, Evan’s dad, said he knew his son was ready for this match.
“He was really locked in and I could tell he was even before the match,” Darin said. “He feels like he gave that match away a few years ago. But today, he wrestled well physically but wrestled very well with his head. He really wrestled a smart match.”
While Evan said the victory was nice, he knows there’s plenty of season left, especially with the possibility of seeing Hughes two more times at the C-3 district tournament and the state tournament.
“It’s just one match and it don’t mean anything right now,” Evan said. “I just got to keep on working hard and keep getting better because I know he’ll be ready the next time I see him.”
Syracuse defeated Wood River 39-31 in the dual.
Meanwhile, Broken Bow pretty much dominated its run to the team title.
After getting wins over Shelton (75-6), Hershey (64-15) and Syracuse (58-24) to win its pool, the Indians earned victories over Class D, No. 6 Amherst (62-18) and Aquinas (46-31) in the championship pool.
Broken Bow coach Ed Schaaf said he was OK with what he saw, considering the Indians had only two days of practice since the Christmas break.
“We wrestled OK, but we were kind of sluggish from the start,” Schaaf said.
“We had some kids that are sick and hurt but it was still a great day by our kids. They won some tough matches in those last two duals. This was nice for us to get going again.”
The Indians had seven grapplers finish the day undefeated.
Casey Faulkenberry (113), Spencer Gaffney (120-126), Patrick Powers (132-138), Cole Ulmer (145) and Joel Myers (152) all went 5-0, while Colton Duda (195) was 4-0 and Kaden Powers (170) finished 3-0.
Landon Duda (160), Isaac Dodge (182-195) and Drew Drake (285) all finished 4-1 on the day.
“We had a few kids who were wrestling up a weight class because of being too heavy but I thought they wrestled very tough today,” Schaaf said.
Broken Bow will compete in a dual at Malcolm Friday, then will compete in the Aquinas Tourney Saturday. Schaaf said the Indians can still work on in a few areas but is pleased with where they are at.
“We just need to keep wrestling,” Schaaf said. “We need tough matches like we had today against Amherst and Aquinas because that will show us what we can improve on.”
Wood River Holiday Dual Tournament
Team Standings: Broken Bow 5-0, David City Aquinas 4-1, Amherst 3-2, Hershey 2-3, Syracuse 3-2, Wood River 2-3, Gibbon 1-4, Shelton 0-5.
Round 1: Broken Bow def. Shelton 75-6, Hershey def. Syracuse 42-42, Aquinas Catholic def. Gibbon 54-20, Amherst def. Wood River 40-33.
Round 2: Broken Bow def. Hershey 64-15, Syracuse def. Shelton 48-24, Aquinas Catholic def. Wood River 60-18, Amherst def. Gibbon 45-24.
Round 3: Broken Bow def. Syracuse 58-24, Hershey def. Shelton 48-21, Aquinas Catholic def. Amherst 61-12, Wood River def. Gibbon 57-24.
Round 4: Broken Bow def. Amherst 62-18, Aquinas Catholic def. Hershey 53-24, Syracuse def. Gibbon 42-36, Wood River def. Shelton 60-7.
Round 5: Broken Bow def. Aquinas Catholic 46-31, Amherst def. Hershey 51-27, Syracuse def. Wood River 39-31, Gibbon def. Shelton 36-16.