REDMOND — The energy at Redmond High peaked with Ridgeview ahead 39-36 heading into the final match of the night.
But it was not until the second period of that 152-pound match that Cohen Merritt came up big for the Ravens.
With 38 seconds left in the period Thursday night, the Ridgeview junior pinned Redmond’s Jordan Christiansen to secure the 45-36 victory for the Ravens in their Intermountain Hybrid dual meet against the Panthers.
“It just felt great winning the match for my team,” Merritt said. “It was when they really needed me, it was a great win.”
At one point in the dual, Ridgeview was pitching a shutout, leading 30-0 after four pins and a win by injury default.
“We knew that this was how it would play out,” Ravens coach Dan Elliott said about his team building an early advantage. “Redmond is really strong in the middle weights. We knew we had to somehow build a big enough lead so they couldn’t come back and take it away. Boy, it was nip-and-tuck the whole way.”
But the Panthers rallied with five straight pins to narrow the deficit to three points, leaving the 152-pound contest as the dual-meet decider. Merritt was set to take on Matt McCain — but the Panthers instead wrestled Christiansen.
“I was pretty nervous going in,” Merritt said. “I was pretty shocked because it wasn’t who I had expected to wrestle. I just ignored it and focused.”
Christiansen came up with a takedown 15 seconds into the first period that was followed by a deafening cheer from the Panthers’ bench. Merritt, however, responded with a reversal to tie the score 2-2 heading into the second period.
“When we saw that it was Jordan (Christiansen) I knew it would be a toss-up,” Elliott said. “Any kid could have won it. And the way they score wrestling, if he would have won by decision, Redmond would have won the whole meet because they had more falls than we did.”
Merritt ended the match and the dual in the second period, pinning Christiansen 1 minute, 22 seconds into the round.
“Cohen has some unorthodox things he does,” Elliot said. “Sometimes it comes out for good, and sometimes he gets put on his back. But then he can come out and do something great like that.”
Redmond’s Austin Rystedt pinned Carson Dedmon in 1:08 to kick off the Panthers’ five-fall run that was capped by John Hickey’s pin over Ridgeview’s Clay Hanson.
“We had a couple of matches that should have gone our way earlier in the dual,” Redmond coach Kris Davis said. “Ridgeview did a good job on capitalizing on some of our mistakes, so we have to go back to the drawing board.”
The Ravens’ Boomer Fleming recorded the quickest fall of the night, pinning Redmond’s Zack LaCasse in 45 seconds at 195 pounds.
“Our kids just kept competing in matches that were really close and really tight,” Elliott said. “I felt like we wrestled at the top of our game and I just hope we can continue it.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0375, firstname.lastname@example.org