Bryan wrestling team beats A&M Consolidated

A&M Consolidated's Angel Cepeda (top) works a hold on Bryan's Jackson Ross in their 182-pound match at Bryan High School on Thursday. Ross won the match on points 10-5.

A&M Consolidated started fast and finished strong, but Bryan's wrestlers dominated the matches in between to win the Crosstown Showdown at Viking Gym on Thursday night.

The Vikings captured seven consecutive bouts, with six pins in the last six, to win the team competition 45-32 as both the rivals tuned up for the District 13-5A tournament to be held at Bryan on Saturday.

Both teams' coaches saw encouraging performances despite holding out wrestlers in order to let them recover from injuries in time for district. The Crosstown Showdown usually is held a week before district, but this year's match was closer because the UIL scheduled the state tournament a week earlier than usual, pushing up the district and regional meets.

"It scares me having this match so close to district," Bryan coach Michael Zito said. "But we do what we've gotta do with it."

In high school wrestling, dual matches start at a weight class determined by draw. That prevents the lightest wrestlers from leading off every dual, and on Thursday it allowed Consol to get a fast start.

The Tigers won the first two matches, starting with Micah McNeil's 14-2 decision over Keaun Davison at 160 pounds. In the 170-pound class, Consol's Waylon Roosma was trailing when he made a stunning reversal and pinned Jacob Waggoner with 28 seconds left in the first period.

"We have young wrestlers making improvements," said Consol coach David Salyer, a former Bryan assistant coach. "[Roosma] is a freshman who's been wrestling JV all year, and he came out and got a pin for us. Even the people that are losing are making improvements. Our 182-pounder, Angel Cepeda, makes drastic improvements every match. He ended up losing that match, but he was right in it."

Bryan's Jackson Ross defeated Cepeda 10-5 to get the Vikings going. The home team registered first-round pins in the next four matches, getting them from Rafael Torrubiartes (195), Francisco Vasquez (220), Adriel Hernandez (285) and Cody Murph (106).

Viking Thomas Riojas pinned his opponent in the second round at 126, then Cameron McCann finished the silver and blue blitz with a first-round pin at 132.

"We've both got some newbies, some inexperienced kids, and I think we matched up pretty well," Zito said. "We got pins from our four experienced seniors -- Cameron, Ralph, Francisco and Adriel -- which is what you would expect."

Consol took the last two matches. Harley Coons dominated in a 12-0 victory at 138. Alan Wortman pinned his foe with 9 seconds left in the second round at 145.

The 13-5A meet will send Bryan and Consol against Copperas Cove and four Killeen schools. The meet will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Viking Gym. The top four finishers in each weight class will advance to the Class 5A Region IV tournament in San Antonio on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.

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