Sparts top Crusaders

Spartan wrestler Billy Thomas thought he was going to have to take on Eastside Catholic 171-pounder Lewis Lloyd, but a late lineup change brought Thomas a forfeit, and gave 189-pound Elliott Thompson a chance to display what coach Britton Johnson calls “bringing the thunder.”

Thompson, who had a 5-7 record going into the Monday evening match, climbed all over Lloyd from the get-go, and held an 8-2 lead at the end of the second two-minute period. But Lloyd battled back from the brink to tie the match 9-9 at the buzzer, forcing a one-minute overtime in which the first point scored won the decision.

The pair grappled to a stalemate call from the referee with less than 30 seconds remaining, but Thompson mustered one last burst of energy and put Lloyd onto his back at the 41-second mark -- prompting a hearty fist-pump from Thompson and a heartfelt cheer from the Spartan crowd.

“He’s like a camper on your back,” Johnson said of the sophomore. “He just won’t move.”

“I was just trying to beat him quick in the overtime,” Thompson said. “I knew he didn’t have much left.”

A pair of forfeits at the lowest weight classes started the dual meet off with a tie score, 12-12, but the visiting Crusaders took the 119- and 125-pound weight classes by force, dropping Patrick Macala and Tyler Heinemann before the Spartans’ Zach Smith put Sean McGarvey on his head -- literally -- with a 17-1 technical fall victory.

John-Michael King followed with a hard-fought match against Eastside’s Eddie Lobdell, where the scores remained deadlocked at 2-2 and 6-6 through the first pair of periods. King earned two points on a near-fall, and muscled Lobdell into a prone position until the final seconds ticked off the clock in the third.

Then it was a series of sprint matches for the Spartans, as Dan Hammond, Brian Robert and Beau Green all quickly pinned their respective challengers in the first period. Bainbridge’s Bobby Stowell and Andrew Miza went head-to-head at 160, with Stowell recording an impressive pin little more than a minute into the match.

Junior varsity wrestlers Peter Paskell and David Winship also won the only two JV contests, and the Spartans are now 2-2 in league matches with the 41-23 win.

“That was great,” coach Dan Pippenger said of the victory. “Now we’ve just got to be more aggressive off the whistle and control the hands more.”

The Spartans wrestled at Ingraham Tuesday night, and have back-to-back home meets Friday and Saturday. Friday’s contest against Rainier Beach and Cleveland begins at 3:45 p.m.

The 21st annual Island Invitational kicks off Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at Paski Gymnasium. The event will be preceded by an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast in the cafeteria, from 8-10 a.m. Cost is $3. Wrestling finals, championship matches and awards begin at 5 p.m.

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