Manhattan High entered the final match of its dual with Abilene down one point with both teams vying for second place at the Manhattan Dual Tournament.
The final stop on this back-and-forth tilt put 285-pound MHS freshman Eldon Picou against 285-pound Abilene sophomore Andy Tope.
Picou put quick pressure on the Abilene sophomore before pinning Tope just 40 seconds in to the match. The pin gave the Indians the second-place finish with a 4-1 record and 226 total points.
Goddard finished first with an undefeated record of 5-0 and 276 total points. Abilene rounded out the medalists with a 3-2 record and a third-place finish. The Cowboys scored 201 total points.
Before the burly freshman wandered out onto the mat, Manhattan High Wrestling coach Robert Gonzales told Picou to ignore the scoreboard and to just focus on the basics. Simple advice, but the pep talk worked as Picou was able to capitalize on Tope with his brute strength.
Picou knew fairly quickly in to his match that he was going to give his team the win by pin fall.
“When he was on his back, he started moving, but he wasn’t moving with skill,” Picou said. “That’s when I knew I had him.”
The win also reassured Picou that he could win on the varsity level.
Manhattan entered the last two rounds down by seven, but a forfeit right before Picou’s match closed the seven-point gap to one.
Gonzales was impressed with how his team responded to the adversity.
“I thought the team really bonded well today,” Gonzales said. “We had 20 boys that suited up for varsity today. And they really, really support one another.”
Next up for the Tribe’s varsity wrestlers is a trip to the Grand Island Tournament in Grand Island, Neb at the Heartland Event Center. The tournament will showcase 32 teams across the states of Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas. In the last five years, the Tribe has finished in the top-seven at the Grand Island tournament.