Karst’s pin lifts Centennial to Bulldog Grappler title

Shadow Ridge’s wrestling team was holding a narrow lead over Centennial and had just clinched its third individual title at the Bulldog Grappler on Saturday.

Then Bulldogs coach Steven Wike sent in his “cleanup crew.”

Jordan Karst earned a pin in 3:06 at heavyweight, and the extra two points for the fall were enough to give host Centennial a win in its own tournament.

“I was so happy,” Karst said. “I know Shadow Ridge is a great program … but it was awesome when I found out we won.”

Karst struggled to break down Palo Verde’s Dominic Adams in the first period, then ran a hard cross-face cradle nearly one minute into the second period before securing the pin.

Centennial finished with 123½ points. Shadow Ridge was second with 122, followed by Brea Olinda (Calif.) with 104 and Liberty with 101½.

Karst needed to win by a major decision, technical fall or pin for Centennial to win the team title. Had Karst lost or even won by a decision of seven or fewer points, Shadow Ridge would have been crowned the team champion.

Brady Howell (126) and Lawrence Easley (182) also placed first for Centennial.

“We’re blessed, between Karst, Easley and (220-pounder Jerry) Arroyo, that’s our cleanup crew,” Wike said. “With Karst, it’s really easy at heavyweight to either get the glory or be the scapegoat. But he’s one of our most consistent wrestlers. He’s pretty awesome; he’s good to finish off whatever event we’re in.”

Jonah McKee (106) and Spencer McKee (138) finished first for Shadow Ridge, and Brandon Fisher had scarcely gone to the podium to pick up his first-place medal at 195 when the Bulldogs mounted their run.

Karst’s pin, as well as Arroyo’s 3-2 decision over Shadow Ridge’s Nate Kuhlman in the third-place match at 220, secured the victory for Centennial.

“Any time you can edge one of these Northwest schools, it’s nice,” Wike said. “I know it’s not a direct competition, and there are a lot of factors, but it’s always nice to win at home. These kids work hard, and wrestling’s a tough sport, so to be able to get this kind of a victory is rewarding.”

The Bulldogs, who fell 46-25 to Shadow Ridge in a Jan. 4 dual meet, hope to take the momentum into Wednesday’s meet with Legacy and Cimarron-Memorial and into the Sunset Region tournament.

“We just go out and work our hardest,” Karst said. “Wrestling would be boring if we didn’t have all these great programs around here.”

Mike Levasseur (145) added a second-place finish for Centennial, and teammate Alec Gonzales (106) finished third.

Palo Verde’s Logan Strobeck (113), Silverado’s Andrew Burr (132), Liberty’s Ian Wilson (145), Faith Lutheran’s Pierce Holtfreter (152) and Coronado’s Mack Murphy (220) each placed first.

Silverado’s Burr and Shadow Ridge’s Fisher were named the tournament’s outstanding wrestlers.