Determined to dominate: QHS wrestlers lose only one match in sweeping duals from QND, Pittsfield

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Quincy High School junior Owen Uppinghouse, left, works to pin the shoulders of Pittsfield's Ethan Thompson to the mat during their 160-pound match Wednesday night at the QHS gym. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Owen Uppinghouse understands most of the Quincy High School wrestling team’s duals can’t compare to a crosstown showdown when it comes to energy and enthusiasm.

“When you’re wrestling people from down the street, it tends to be different,” he said.

Wednesday night was different, except in one regard.

The Blue Devils’ determination for domination remains as strong as it has all season.

Backed by a engaged crowd that filled the QHS gym stands, QHS lost only one individual match during its triangular meet, overwhelming Pittsfield 83-0 and Quincy Notre Dame 68-6. The Raiders beat the Saukees 54-24 in the other dual.

“The environment is different,” said Uppinghouse, the QHS junior . “Everybody on our team, their blood was boiling. The first whistle went off, and I think we came out here and represented our program well and wrestled really hard.”

It started with the energy brought about by the community support.

Cheers echoed through the QHS gym with the varsity triangular taking place on a mat on the west side of the facility and a junior high triangular featuring Quincy, Pittsfield and Palmyra being wrestled on the east end. Fans and wrestlers floated between the two events, soaking in as much wrestling as possible.

“I love the enthusiasm, even if they’re rooting for the other guy,” QND coach Adam Steinkamp said. “This sport is growing leaps and bounds. If you get a home crowd like (QHS) and a couple weeks ago when we were at Palmyra, I love seeing it. It gives me chills thinking about it.

“If you’re an athlete, no matter what sport it is, you want to play in that atmosphere.”

Coaches want to coach in such an atmosphere, too.

“It was awesome. It’s the stuff you dream about when you’re setting this up,” QHS coach Phil Neally said. “Everything filled up with little kids all around. Pandemonium. That’s the way I like it. It’s good to see the wrestling community come together. It was a great night for everyone.”

It invigorated the Blue Devils.

“Amazing crowd,” said Bryor Newbold, a junior wrestling at 182 pounds. “It energizes us. We love it. We love being able to have a packed house. This is way bigger than it was my freshman year. We’ve come so far since then. It’s amazing being able to be in an environment like this.”

The QHS wrestlers made certain the energy didn’t dissipate.

The Blue Devils opened the triangular against Pittsfield with Uppinghouse, Max Miller and Newbold recording three consecutive pins. Uppinghouse stuck the Saukees’ Ethan Thompson in 1 minute, 23 seconds before Miller pinned Bodine Marable in 1:29 and Newbold flatbacked Tucker Cook in 2:41.

“You could really feel the energy in the gym when everyone is cheering for you,” said Miller, a senior wrestling at 170 pounds. “It’s beautiful.”

The three straight pins set the right tone.

“We kind of have a murderer’s row,” Uppinghouse said. “We were able to start the fire and get everybody pumped up.”

The Blue Devils won six of the seven matches wrestled by pinfall with sophomore Hugh Sharrow scoring a 16-0 technical fall at 106 pounds. Pittsfield left seven weight classes open.

Against QND, Newbold set the tone as the dual started at 182 pounds and he secured a 23-8 technical fall of the Raiders’ Taylin Scott at the 4:51 mark. Uppinghouse and Miller closed the match with back-to-back pins as Uppinghouse stuck Jack Miller in 42 seconds and Miller hammered Jake Pabisiak in 1:18.

“We wanted to wrestle as hard as possible with the town rivalry thing,” Miller said. “Wrestle good, wrestle hard.”

And dominate.

“We talk about domination a lot,” Neally said. “The reason I say that is these kids are getting up two days a week to be here and lift weights. They come in after school and practice. They work their butts off. It shows on the mat. They earn that right to dominate. It shows in a night like this.”

The Raiders took care of the Saukees by winning the final three matches wrestled as Luke Bliven pinned Pittsfield’s Hunter Harrison in 1:35 at 138 points, while Tristan Pritts pinned Jake Oitker in 3:14 at 152 pounds and Miller scored a 46-second pin of Thompson at 160.

“A good portion of the matches I liked how we came out aggressive and competed hard,” Steinkamp said. “We didn’t back down. It’s too easy to look at a high quality team like QHS and be like, ‘I’m not going to give my best effort’ or get scared. I didn’t see that a lot.

“My goal for them was to come out and wrestle hard.”

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