The Valley wrestling team put up enough points Thursday to beat Johnston, despite taking the mat without one of its leaders.
The Tigers won nine of 14 matches and posted a 39-24 victory in a CIML dual at Johnston.
Junior Jake Koethe sat out after falling ill with the flu. Koethe is ranked second in Class 3-A at 120 pounds.
The Tigers recorded five straight wins after falling behind 15-10 after five matches.
“It just shows we can be missing one of our top wrestlers and still dominate the competition,” Valley senior Clayton Eicher said. “I think our team is improving.”
The meet featured two matches pairing top-10 wrestlers.
At 106, Johnston’s fourth-ranked sophomore Henry Pohlmeyer pinned ninth-ranked freshman Jack Koethe in 1:21. At 113, Valley’s fourth-ranked Eicher defeated Johnston’s No. 10 Travis Price 9-0 for a major decision.
The two had met previously, with Eicher notching a 7-4 win.
“I knew I had to concentrate on my offense,” Eicher, a senior, said of what he learned from watching video of the previous meeting. “I knew I had to pick up the pace. I wanted my hand control to be in position — last match my hand control wasn’t in position.”
Valley coach Travis Young credited Eicher with fighting through adversity in the key victory.
“Clayton works hard,” Young said. “Things didn’t come easy for him tonight, but he worked hard and did what we asked and kept looking to score the full six minutes. That’s what you have to do.”
The meet began at 220 pounds with Johnston’s Connor Jacobsen pinning Valley’s Austin Johnson in 2:30. Valley’s Brady Smith tied the meet at 6-6 with a pin over Johnston’s Tom Dusen in 3:05.
After Pohlmeyer’s win for Johnston and Eicher’s for Valley, Daven Ngo took a 7-1 decision over Tristan Cobb to give the Dragons a 15-10 lead.
220: Jacobson (J) pinned Johnson, 2:29; Hwt: Smith (V) pinned Dusen, 3:04; 106: Pohlmyer (J) pinned Koethe, 1:21; 113: Eicher (V) maj. dec. Price, 9-0; 120: Ngo (J) dec. Cobb, 7-1; 126: Lee (V) maj. dec. Garcia, 16-7; 132: Stotts (V) dec. Randall, 5-1; 138: Hagar (V) maj. dec. Piagentini, 11-1; 145: Curry (V) pinned Wilson, 4:00; 152: Matter (V) dec. Standish, 7-1; 160: Walkup (J) pinned McCabe, 1:25; 170: Schade (J) dec. Abalo, 7-2; 182: Downs (V) dec. Jackson, 9-5; 195: Hansen (V) pinned Petrusic, 1:53.