Fans of the New Mexico Highlands wrestling program celebrated their team’s homecoming Thursday night at the Wilson Complex, and the Cowboys made it entertaining.
Down 11-0 in its dual meet with Mesa State, Highlands won five of the next seven matches to force a rare tie at 23-23.
Jesse Feinsod, NMHU’s All-American 174-pounder, had arguably the most dominant performance of the evening in running his record to 14-4. He scored a 15-0 technical fall with a first-period clinic against Kyle Brightman.
Far more competitive were the bouts at 165 and 197.
In the former, Highlands’ Jarrod Purvis and Mesa’s Cole Johnson — tied at 1-1 in regulation — took their battle into double overtime. Purvis scored the go-ahead takedown after Johnson’s one-point escape. Then in the final 30 seconds, Purvis held on for the 3-2 victory.
At 197, Highlands Luke McPeek (10-4) pinned James Breidel at the 2:58 mark. But that only came after a wild match that saw the momentum swing abruptly back and forth, with each man putting the other in near-fall predicaments.
“You almost gave me a heart attack,” NMHU coach Doug Moses told McPeek afterward.
McPeek’s win drew the Cowboys within 23-20 in the meet score. That left the last match of the evening — the heavyweights — to decide the dual.
Highlands’ Jesse Boggs (9-7) and the Mavs’ Trevor Stapp engaged in a violent first period that produced no points. Midway through the last period, Boggs finally broke through for a takedown. He gained a point for riding time and a 3-0 win — good for three team points and the tie.
NMHU’s other win was one of 149-pounder Trey Saxon’s finest efforts to date, a pin of Keith Johnson at the 4:59 mark.
Mesa had started the night with three straight wins, as Miguel Baltazar (125 lbs.) beat Edwin Soriano 17-1, Rhett Breed (133) defeated Donovan Troup 10-5, and Jason Wenger (141) nipped Tyler Davey 8-6. The Mavericks also won at 157 and 184, as Chase Walker pinned Nick Sanchez and Andy Laiminger pinned Andrew Roden, respectively.