The Battle of the Bell has been going on longer than any of Wednesday night’s wrestlers have been alive.
The Cedar wrestlers came into the Hangar at Dixie High School looking to not only hold onto the prized bell for the fifth year running, but to tie up the series between the two schools.
After a back-and-forth night under the spotlight, the Redmen took down the Flyers 42-37.
“We were out a couple guys, but the younger kids we had stepped up. They wrestled gutsy. They did good,” said Cedar head coach Chris Hone.
Cedar jumped out to an early 12-0 lead with a first-match forfeit then a pin by freshmen James Wilson.
Gabe Harvey and Cooper Van Houten put on a tiring performance that finished with Harvey getting decision points for Dixie. Dusty Hone took a forfeit for Cedar and a Landon Barrick pin pushed the Reds’ lead to 24-4.
Then Dixie raged back. Aidan Rich notched a technical fall, Lucas Batin won on points, and Chase Roundy scored a pin. The Flyers had closed the gap to 24-19 before Cedar’s Jackson Williamson stepped onto the mat in the 160-pound match.
“I was really kind of nervous. I went out knowing that if I lost, we’d probably lose because I knew we had a forfeit in the last match,” said Williamson.
But Williamson quickly turned a two-point takedown into a six-point pin.
“I just knew I needed to go out strong and not get pinned. I was determined to pull something off, saw something, and it worked,” Williamson said.
The Flyers, again, made their move. Kyler Kelsch and Alex Flora bookended a pin by Cedar’s Jared Hansen with their two pins. Flora recorded the quickest pin of the night in 24 seconds, and again brought the Flyers within striking range at 36-31.
But once again a Williamson staved off the attack. Defending state champion Cameron Williamson defeated Logan Baker in 32 seconds in the 220-pound match to dash Dixie’s hope of ringing the bell.
“I knew we would both do our best. I was confident and came out victorious,” said Cameron. “I knew the kid was going to be tough. He had 20 pins in 20 wins or something like that. I just went in to wrestle in a wrestling match.”
Cedar evened the series at 15-15, and according to head coach Hone, they’re peaking at just the right time for the state tournament.
“They’re good gutsy kids. They’re good competitors,” added Hone about his wrestling team. “They go out and try every time. Just solid.”