BOULDER -- If former Michigan State football coach Duffy Daugherty was right and a tie really is "like kissing your sister," the Boulder High wrestlers are sure to be spitting mad about Thursday's dual for some time.

Not only did the Panthers tie cross-town rival Fairview for the second year in a row, the Knights for the second year in a row were awarded victory in the record books on tie-breakers.


Fairview walked out of The Pit at BHS with a 37-36 triumph, with that 37th point being earned by the Knights on tie-breaker No. 8 in the rule book: the team with the most first points scored in matches wins. FHS' first points in matches totaled 13. Boulder's totaled nine.

Officials had to dig even deeper in the rule book than last year, when FHS won 34-33, to determine the outcome.

"It feels pretty good," FHS senior 145-pounder Cody Kennedy said. "Last year it was the exact same thing. It just feels great."

For a young Knights squad that graduated 10 of 14 wrestlers off of last year's varsity squad, Kennedy came up with the biggest -- and maybe most unlikely -- victory of the night.

Down 10-2 to Boulder's Nitesh Shrestha late in the second period, Kennedy rolled through a half nelson and got Shrestha on his back for a pin with 16 seconds left in the frame.

"My best strategy, even though it's a bad strategy is getting on my back and then going crazy and flipping over and then reversing and turning the match around," Kennedy said. "It's a bad strategy but it works."

Lefebvre said he'd warned Kennedy before the bout against doing exactly what he did -- daring his foe to put him on his back so he could pull off the reversal.

"He's killing me," Lefebvre said. "And yet, that's kind of his style and that's where he's able to prevail."

The Knights needed Kennedy's pin dearly. The victory put them up 30-21 through 10 matches, knowing they had six more forfeit points coming in the last match at 182 (the action started at 195). But the Panthers answered Kennedy's pin with two of their own by Josh Harrison at 152 and Beni Mahat at 160.

Needing at least a major decision for four team points in the final contested bout at 170 to win the dual outright, Boulder's John Stirk came through with a victory. But his 12-8 decision over Fairview senior Spencer Renteria -- wrestling in his first-ever match -- earned just three team points and tied the final tally at 36-all.

Fairview’s DJ Delger works toward a pin against Boulder’s Stone Parks in their 195-pound match during the Knights’ narrow victory on
Fairview's DJ Delger works toward a pin against Boulder's Stone Parks in their 195-pound match during the Knights' narrow victory on Thursday. (Jonathan Castner/For the Camera)

A few minutes later, officials announced that Fairview had won on tie-breakers, difficult words to hear for an experienced Panthers squad that had come in expecting to halt the Knights' recent success in the series.

"I was really upset with it," said Boulder 132-pounder Connor Murtha, who pinned Fairview's Melvin Gutierrez. "We're looking pretty good this year, so I felt pretty confident we were going to walk in here and win. We knew they were going to be tough. I just thought we had the edge this year."

The victory for the Knights was their fifth in a row over BHS on the mats, and it took some upsets to come to fruition.

At 285, Conner McGraw knocked off second-ranked Hans Lehndorff 6-3, while freshman Jackson Martin earned a big pin at 113 that helped set the tone early and Cliff Lester surprised Boulder's Tommy Smythe with a 5-3 decision on a last-second take-down.

"Even had we come up short, you can't be happier with watching those guys go out and battle match in and match out," Lefebvre said. "Lots of great praise to go around to all the kids."

Fairview 37, Boulder 36

(In match order)

195 -- DJ Delger, Fairview, pinned Stone Parks, 1:53.

220 -- Jack Sober, Boulder, won by forfeit.

285 -- Conner McGraw, Fairview, dec. Hans Lehndorff, 6-3.

106 -- Babalu Jones, Boulder, pinned Preston Cates, 1:38.

113 -- Jackson Martin, Fairview, pinned Toshal Ghimire, 4:58.

120 -- Maddy Lignell, Fairview, pinned Zonobe Romijn, 3:15.

126 -- Cliff Lester, Fairview, dec. Tommy Smythe, 5-3.

132 -- Connor Murtha, Boulder, pinned Melvin Gutierrez, 2:36.

138 -- Audrey Kornbloom, Boulder, dec. Chris Robinson, 11-9.

145 -- Cody Kennedy, Fairview, pinned Nitesh Shrestha, 3:44.

152 -- Josh Harrison, Boulder, pinned Andrew Bedell, 3:13.

160 -- Beni Mahat, Boulder, pinned James Kiousis, 1:38.

170 -- John Stirk, Boulder, dec. Spencer Renteria, 12-8.

182 -- Kevin Lohndorf, Fairview, won by forfeit.