NIWOT -- No wrestler on the current Niwot roster had ever won a dual meet against Silver Creek before Wednesday night.

Wrestling in their own gym, the Cougars downed the Raptors 43-36 on the strength of six straight wins in the middle of the lineup.

Cougars head coach Scott Sanchez said even he couldn't remember the last time that one of his teams beat the Raptors head-to-head. But that didn't matter much to the current wrestlers, like junior 138-pounder Jessie Slepicka, who remembers all too well the 48-30 loss the Raptors dealt the Cougars last season.

"I don't know the full history of Niwot versus Silver Creek but I'm proud of these guys for coming out and beating them because I know the last two years they've beaten us," Slepicka said.

Slepicka pinned acrobatic Raptors 138-pounder Brian Hardy just before the first-round buzzer in 1 minute, 56 seconds. His pin followed another from Joey Lambert and gave the Cougars the lead at 21-18 in a dual that started at heavyweight.

"We usually don't watch the clock. It's just an instinct thing that you get that rushed feeling towards the end and you need to turn them and pin them as fast as you can," Slepicka said. "I was a little nervous when he first kicked out of my first single leg. He was very shifty. But then I got my ankle pick and a takedown and I just worked my chicken wing. That's my favorite move."

After Lambert and Slepicka, Niwot 145-pounder Matthew Strope looked like he was dead in the water in the second round but escaped a sure pin to later pin Daniel McLean in the third.

At 152 pounds, junior varsity call-up Jesse Mooney pinned Silver Creek's Gavin Saiz in 3:38 and Cougars senior Christian Ramirez broke a 4-4 tie in the third period and avoided overtime by pinning Mitch Webster in 5:27 at 160 pounds.

"I felt even. I usually don't wrestle that weight class," said Ramirez, who normally weighs in at 152. "I knew it was tight and I needed to go for something big so I just threw a headlock and took it slow to get the pin. I was pretty tired."

After Ramirez, Cougars 170-pounder Damien O'Hare clinched the dual win, despite the Raptors taking the final three spots, with a 12-2 major decision over Silver Creek's Sam Oliver.

Niwot's Clay Robinson, the only ranked wrestler in attendance at eighth in Class 4A, did not wrestle but won by forfeit. At 113 pounds, Niwot's Austin Ivan won an 11-4 decision over Patrick Murray.

Wrestling up in weight at 195 for the Raptors, sophomore Dakota Silva pinned Niwot's Connor Allen in 45 seconds to improve to 17-5 on the season. Although he won his match and said the young Raptors gave it a good try on Wednesday, he felt they all could have been better.

Niwot’s Matthew Strope, top, works his way toward a pin of Silver Creek’s Daniel McLean during the Cougars’ dual meet victory over the
Niwot's Matthew Strope, top, works his way toward a pin of Silver Creek's Daniel McLean during the Cougars' dual meet victory over the Raptors on Wednesday night. ( Greg Lindstrom )

"I'm doing really well. I'm doing better than I did last year when I was a little over .500," Silva said. "I feel like we could have done better. The effort was there but I think we definitely gave up pins in spots that we probably shouldn't. There should have been some decisions and not pins where we could have toughed it out."

Raptors Kenny Jones (220), Andy Nott (285), Jonathan Jimenez (120) and Justin McLean (126) all won by pin. Ricky Moreno (182) won by forfeit.

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Niwot 43, Silver Creek 36

At Niwot HS

285-- Andy Nott, Silver Creek, pinned Mitchell Allen, 2:56; 106 -- Clay Robinson, Niwot, won by forfeit; 113 -- Austin Ivan, Niwot, dec. Patrick Murray, 11-4; 120 -- Jonathan Jimenez, Silver Creek, pinned Fernando Velasco-Ramirez, 5:24; 126 -- Justin McLean, Silver Creek, pinned Ranny Rorn, 1:16; 132 -- Joey Lambert, Niwot, pinned Ivan Tellaz, 3:43; 138 -- Jessie Slepicka, Niwot, pinned Brian Hardy, 1:56; 145 -- Matthew Strope, Niwot, pinned Daniel McLean, 4:37; 152 -- Jesse Mooney, Niwot, pinned Gavin Saiz, 3:38; 160 -- Cristian Ramirez, Niwot, pinned Mitch Webster, 5:27; 170 -- Damien O'Hare, Niwot, maj. dec. Sam Oliver, 12-2; 182 -- Ricky Moreno, Silver Creek, won by forfeit; 195 -- Dakota Silva, Silver Creek, pinned Connor Allen, 0-45; 220 -- Kenny Jones, Silver Creek, pinned Brandon Slepicka, 3:08.