KINGMAN - It was a night of thrills, surprises and disappointments Wednesday when the Kingman High wrestling team opened its season with a tri-meet against Goodyear Millennium and Phoenix Camelback at KHS.
The Bulldogs opened with a heartbreaking 37-36 loss to Millennium that required the eighth tiebreaking criterion. After 14 matches and the two squads deadlocked at 36, the Tigers earned the win by having the greater number of first points scored.
The Bulldogs bounced back with a 48-36 win over Camelback. KHS (1-1) trailed 24-0 before pulling off a team reversal to get the win.
Freshman Josh Estensen opened the Millennium match in the 103-pound division with a spry 17-10 win. Estensen had five takedowns in the match and finished 2-0 after Camelback forfeited.
"I wanted to start the season undefeated, and it feels really good," Estensen said. "I was nervous. It was pretty hard for me."
KHS fell behind Millennium 18-3 but changed the tide with four consecutive wins. Kevin Davies (130) got it started with a pin in 57 seconds.
"I don't know what that move was called," Davies said. "I got him with a 'Davies.'"
However, Davies tired at the end of the second period in his match against Camelback and was pinned at 3:59.
"Kevin got sloppy," KHS coach Brandon Clor said. "But all he did wrong we can fix."
William Bibbus (135) won by pin at 2:28 to narrow Millennium's lead to 18-15, and Thomas Canez (140) gave the Bulldogs the lead at 21-18 with a 5:36 pin after trailing by as many as six.
Canez became the comeback kid when he pulled out a stunning win against Camelback. He was routinely out-pointed in that match and trailed 12-5 late in the third period. Canez scored a reversal in the waning seconds and took the match with a 5:58 pin, just two seconds from defeat.
"It was amazing," Canez said. "He leaned too far back, and I fell on him."
KHS went up 27-18 when Patrick Sides (145) won by forfeit, but Millennium won by pin at 152. Then KHS' Brett Nailor (160) was out-pointed in overtime 5-3, and the match was even at 27.
Andrew Leyva won a 3-point decision at 171, and Keith Milkie (215) was spectacular in his 3:26 pin to account for the Bulldogs' points.
"He was strong, but he gave up a little weight," Milkie said. "It was great way to start the season."
Milkie pinned his Camelback foe in approximately one minute to go 2-0 on the night.
"Keith dominated," Clor said. "He's technically sound. He's good, and he works hard."
KHS trailed Camelback 36-24 before the Bulldogs ran off the final four wins. Jeremy Alder (189) and Estensen won by forfeit, and Milkie's pin along with Steven Davies' pin at 285 put the Bulldogs over the top.
Clor was impressed with his freshmen wrestlers, and with the Bulldogs' show of depth. The four freshmen went 3-5 on the night.
"I was real surprised by the younger guys," the coach said. "And I'm excited about our JVs. They won all but one of their matches."
There wasn't much time for rest as KHS will be in Lake Havasu City today and Saturday for the Havasu Invitational.