Caigun Keller West Side

Preston’s Caigun Keller pins West Side’s Cameron Peterson in a dual between the two wrestling programs earlier this season.

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For the first time in several weeks, Preston’s wrestling program was challenged in a varsity dual.

To the delight of head coach Doug Higley, his team passed the test with flying colors.

Preston traveled to Twins Falls on Wednesday night and left with a pair of hard-fought wins. Preston improved to 19-0 in duals this season with a 48-38 triumph over Canyon Ridge and a furious rally against Twin Falls, which resulted in a 43-42 victory.

The Indians won their final six matches to stun the host Bruins. Preston needed pins in its final two bouts, and freshman Jonathan Seamons (160-pound weight class) and sophomore Emery Thorson (170) delivered. Thorson has only lost three times during the 2020-21 campaign.

“They both had tough opponents, but they came through big time,” Higley said of Seamons and Thorson.

Preston and Twins Falls both forfeited at one weight class. The Indians won seven of the 13 contested bouts, but the Bruins were in a position to win because they picked up more bonus points.

Nevertheless, the Indians were able to rally. In addition to Seamons and Thorson, Preston got pins from Gentry Geary (285), Tavin Rigby (120) and Jaden Perkins (152).

Brayden Weisbeck (138) racked up 15 points and beat his opponent by major decision, while fellow Preston veteran Caigun Keller (145) earned a big 13-11 win over Twin Falls standout Chris Franco. Higley was told that was Franco’s first loss of the season.

It was a solid victory for Preston over a Twin Falls squad that welcomed back three state placers — Franco wrestled for Wells (Nevada) High School a year ago — from a team that finished eighth at the 4A State Championships last season.

Meanwhile, Preston picked up 18 more points than Canyon Ridge via forfeits and that was ultimately the difference. Rigby, Keller, Perkins and Seamons all prevailed by fall for the Indians, while freshman Keit Abbott (195) lost a 7-5 nailbiter in overtime.

“I knew that both Twin Falls and Canyon Ridge were going to be really tough duals and that it was going to be close,” Higley said. “I told the kids before we wrestled that the result of who would win would probably come down to pin points.”

WEST SIDE

West Side traveled to Aberdeen on Thursday and dropped a pair of competitive duals against district foes. The Pirates were edged by the host Tigers, 42-38, and fell to Grace, one of 2A’s top programs, 42-30.

Aberdeen picked up six more forfeit points than West Side — both teams double forfeited at 98 pounds — and that was the difference. The Pirates got pins from Tayson Royer (120), Max Mumford (132) and Colten Gunderson (152), and Tige Roberts (113) finished off his opponent in the second round via technical fall. West Side heavyweight Aaron McDaniel was triumphant by a comfortable seven points.

The Pirates were able to pick up six more forfeit points than the Grizzlies, but Grace proved to be too tough. Roberts stuck his opponent, while West Side also got two-point wins from Royer and Gunderson.

Jason Turner is a sports reporter for The Herald Journal. He can be reached at jturner@hjnews.com or 435-792-7237.

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