Mines beats Chadron to improve to 4-0

CHADRON, Neb. -- Colorado School of Mines outlasted Chadron State 20-16 in a back-and-forth dual meet to open the RMAC schedule Thursday night.

The Orediggers improved to 4-0 in duals as they came back from a 13-6 deficit with a momentum swing keyed by #10 Keenan Willits' tech fall at 165 pounds and TJ Shelton's double-overtime win at 174.

It was a forfeit win by Mines at 197 pounds, however, that proved to be the difference maker as Chadron State led 16-14 after nine bouts; Brandon Saunders walked out to earn the six points in the final match to seal the victory.

The dual started at 285 pounds, and Chadron's Rulon Taylor turned an early advantage into an 8-3 win over Weston Hunt to lead 3-0. The match of the night came next in an action-packed bout at 125 pounds as Zach Gracia used a takedown with 12 seconds left to beat Marcus Hutcherson 8-6. Gracia led the whole way until Hutcherson took the lead on a third-period takedown, but Gracia's escape and late two won it.

Another late takedown gave Noah Au-Yeung the win at 133 as he scored two with 39 seconds left to beat Chance Karst 5-4. Down 4-1 after the first, Au-Yeung rode out the second period to build a nearly two-minute riding time advantage, then escaped to start the third and earned the late takedown to win on the bonus point.

Brock Thumm tied the match 6-6 with a 3-1 decision over Taylor Gambill at 141 pounds, and Chase Clasen held off Noah Ottum's comeback attempt at 149 to win 8-5 and take a 9-6 lead for the Eagles at the intermission. A late takedown and nearfall gave Jacob Otuafi a 13-2 major decision over Ethan Ruby at 157, putting Chadron up 13-6, but Willits got it back and then some with a dominating 15-0 tech fall at 165 pounds against John Porter, cutting the Eagle lead to 13-11.

The momentum carried over to Shelton's match at 174, as the redshirt freshman improved to 7-0 with a dramatic 9-7 SV-2 decision against Heber Shepherd. Shelton escaped with eight seconds left in the third to force overtime tied 6-6, and after the two went scoreless in the first sudden victory period, both men escaped in the rideout periods to force another frame. Shelton put Shepherd down on his back 30 seconds in to win, putting Mines back ahead 14-13.

That effectively sealed the win for Mines with the forfeit looming at 197, as Devin Stork used a last-second takedown to win 9-8 over Connor Ventura at 184 to put CSC ahead 16-14, but Saunders took the forfeit in the final match to make it 20-16.

- It was Mines' first win against Chadron State since 2010-11, and first win at Chadron since 2009-10.
- Willits improved to 11-1 and 4-0 in duals with his team-leading third tech fall of the season. Willits was ranked #10 in NCAA Division II this week by the NWCA.
- Both Willits and Shelton now lead Mines with 18 dual points.
- Shelton's win was his first career overtime decision.
- Mines improved to 4-0 in duals at 133 pounds this season thanks to Au-Yeung's win; he's 2-0, with Jake Woods also 2-0.

Mines stays in Nebraska to wrestle at the Midwest Duals on Saturday at UNK.

285: Rulon Taylor (CSC) over Weston Hunt (MINES) (Dec 8-3)
125: Zachary Gracia (MINES) over Marcus Hutcherson (CSC) (Dec 8-6)
133: Noah Au-Yeung (MINES) over Chance Karst (CSC) (Dec 5-4)
141: Brock Thumm (CSC) over Taylor Gambill (MINES) (Dec 3-1)
149: Chase Clasen (CSC) over Noah Ottum (MINES) (Dec 8-5)
157: Jacob Otuafi (CSC) over Ethan Ruby (MINES) (MD 13-2)
165: #10 Keenan Willits (MINES) over John Porter (CSC) (TF 15-0 7:00)
174: TJ Shelton (MINES) over Heber Shepherd (CSC) (SV-2 9-7)
184: Devin Stork (CSC) over Connor Ventura (MINES) (Dec 9-8)
197: Brandon Saunders (MINES) by forfeit


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