After Head Coach Gary Canter prepared his wrestling team to make a run at a fifth State Duals championship, it was junior Nick Paden who addressed the team to further prepare them for the day’s event.
“I wanted to let them know that today was a day in which one or all of us could do something that would cause future Hawk wrestlers to remember our names for the next 10 to 20 years. Today was that important of a deal,” said Paden.
He asked his teammates to raise their hands if anyone knew who was the Hawk’s all-time pin leader. No one raised their hand. Then he asked if anyone knew who John Rineer was. Everyone knew that name.
Rineer was the unranked heavyweight on the 1999 team – the one who secured the victory for the Mat Hawks over their rival, Woodford County.
The story of Rineer has been repeated over and over again by the Hawk coaching staff and most wrestlers on this team have heard his story dozens of times.
Rineer was facing the second-ranked wrestler from Woodford County. Rineer got caught and put on his back in the first period of his match but was able to fight off the pin. In the second period, Rineer caught the Woodford heavy and pinned him, enabling LaRue County to win their first ever State Duals title, 37-27.
Heading into the heavyweight match on Saturday, the Mat Hawks held a tenuous lead over Trinity. Canter sent out B.J. Carman, a 5-feet, 6-inch 197-pound sophomore, to take on the second-ranked Trinity wrestler – a 6-feet, 5-inches tall, 270-pound behemoth.
“When B.J. stepped onto the mat, the only thought going through my mind was David versus Goliath,” said Canter. “All I was looking for was B.J. to not give up the pin, giving us a chance to win the dual in the last two matches.”
In the second period, Carman was put on his back for more than 30 seconds but was able to fight off the pin. Heading into the third period, Carman was down 8-0. It was in the third period that Carman reached some inner strength and found a way to not only put the Trinity wrestler on his back, but also pin him, helping to secure the Mat Hawks victory over their rivals, 37-27.
“When B.J. walked off the mat, I hugged him and told him that people will remember his name for the next 10 years. Today, B.J. became a legend among future Hawk wrestlers,” said Paden.
Heading home on the bus, Canter received a text from a 1999 wrestler, Paul Cooper, asking him what happened at the Duals and more importantly how did it happen.
“I sent back a funny response and Cooper texted back that we won today because LaRue County wrestlers find ways to win matches they are not supposed to win,” said Canter. “And Cooper is right.”