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Valley Center wins its duals wrestling tournament

Published Dec. 1 at 8:49 p.m. | Last updated Dec. 1 at 8:50 p.m.

Valley Center’s wrestlers put their hands in the huddle and chanted “Zac Sander” at the end of the championship round of their duals tournament on Saturday.

Sander’s pin in the 285-pound weight class ended a back-and-forth battle with Derby to put Valley Center up 36-35 as the tournament champions.

“I had to get the pin,” Sander said. “We’ve never won our tournament, so it was a big deal.”

The championship final round between Valley Center and Derby played out as expected of two teams undefeated on the day.

Valley Center took the 106 weight class, then Derby took 113, and the pattern continued for the first six weight classes. Derby’s Tim Metler defeated Valley Center’s Cameron VanDusen to give Derby a 19-12 advantage. But Valley Center came back at 152 to inch within a point of Derby.

When Derby’s Ben Becker pinned Tony Bluml at 160, Derby’s lead began to build.

“My coach came up to me and talked to me before the match and said ‘We need six, I need you to get six,’ ” Becker said. “When he comes up to you and tells you we need a pin it makes it an even bigger deal, and you have to do everything possible to get that pin.”

But Valley Center earned pins in three of the last four weight classes, from Chad Blair at 182, Luke Weldon at 195, and Sander at 285, totaling 18 points and ultimately giving Valley Center its one-point victory.

“Derby’s missing some guys; they’re way better than we are, we just got lucky today,” Valley Center coach Brian Shelton said. “These kids battle, that’s what we do, that’s what they’re coached to do.”

Shelton hopes this tournament will be a building block for the rest of the season.

“If this is the best we do all year and we stub our toe in February, this won’t matter. This should be the worst we do all year and we get better every week,” Shelton said. “I’m excited for practice on Monday, if we don’t get better on Monday then this is a waste of time.”

Goddard finished fourth in the tournament, falling 50-16 to Great Bend in the final round, and Andover Central finished sixth behind Emporia.

Team records—1. Valley Center (5-0); 2. Derby (4-1); 3. Great Bend (4-1); 4. Goddard (3-2); 5. Emporia (3-2); 6. Andover Central (2-3); 7. Chanute (1-4); 8. Heights (0-4); 9. Liberal (0-4); 10. Douglass (0-4).

Championship dual—106, Delforge, Valley Center, pinned B. Dipman, Derby, 5:27; 113, McDonald, Derby, pinned Romig, Valley Center, 3:31; 120, Holle, Valley Center, def. Morrow, Derby, 7-5; 126, Xanders, Derby, def. Turkali, Valley Center, 10-0; 132, D. Ortiz, Valley Center, def. Brown, Derby, 6-4; 138, Suppes, Derby, pinned Boone, Valley Center, 1:09; 145, Metler, Derby, def. VanDusen, Valley Center, 8-6; 152, J. Ortiz, Valley Center, pinned Scott, Derby, 5:07; 160, Becker, Derby, pinned T. Bluml, Valley Center, 2:44; 170, Santillon, Derby, def. C. Bluml, Valley Center, 14-2; 182, Blair, Valley Center, pinned Marlett, Derby, 0:40; Lindenberger, Great Bend, pinned Bultman, Goddard, 1:42. 195, Bradford, Derby, pinned Sibley, Valley Center, 4:49; 220, Weldon, Valley Center, pinned Kissinger, Derby, 2:15; 285, Sander, Valley Center, pinned Stienochers, Derby, 1:14.