Davis, Mannio lead GEHS Lady Grapplers to senior night win

Behind standout performances from seniors Shelby Davis and Kaira Mannio, the Gardner Edgerton High School girls wrestling claimed a 45-36 home dual win against Spring Hill on GEHS Senior Night at Gardner Edgerton High School Gymnasium Friday evening.

Both Mannio and Davis pinned their opponents in their victories. Mannio’s pin came with 1:17 remaining in the 2nd round, while Davis claimed a pin just 58 seconds into the 1st round of her matchup. Davis’s win made her the first girls’ wrestler in the history of the GEHS program to earn 100 varsity wins.

After the matches were over, Trailblazer head coach Tyler Cordts spoke about his seniors and of watching Davis’s 100th victory.

“These two are the linchpins that hold the team together,” said Cordts. “They’re just amazing people on and off the mat. They work hard, they’re phenomenal athletes, they work year round at their craft, and just lead by example. They’re so good for our young girls who are coming in that have some experience but need someone to show them the way – how they need to do things, compete, and work hard on a daily basis. They’ve just been so good at that for us.”

“That was awesome,” Cordts said of Davis’ 100th win. “Those are the moments that you love as a coach – to see somebody get rewarded for all the work they’ve put in, to get a great milestone, and to do it at home on Senior Night in front of everybody. You can’t do it any better than that.”

As a team, it was an inauspicious start against the Broncos. Gardner Edgerton had to leave the first two weight classes open, propping up Spring Hill to a 12-0 advantage. Yet when Mannio came up to wrestle at 110 pounds, the senior began to right the ship for the Trailblazers. Mannio scored a takedown of Spring Hill’s Paige Peterson 55 seconds into the 1st round and held that 2-0 lead to the end of the period. In the 2nd round, Mannio again took Peterson to the mat – this time 20 seconds into the round. Just over 20 seconds later, Mannio leveraged Peterson’s shoulder to the mat for the win and put the Blazers on board, though still trailing the Broncos at 12-6.

GEHS 115-pounder Naomi Mayfield then evened the score at 1212, as she scored a 1st round pin of SHHS’s Rosemary Mader with 59 seconds still remaining in the opening period. Charlee Zemencik then earned the next Gardner Edgerton victory by pinning Spring Hill’s Kaylynn Ottenschnieder with just 11 seconds remaining in the 2nd round. Zemencik had built a 6-2 lead on her opponent before the pin, and her win gave the Blazers their first lead of the night at 18-12.

However, SHHS then earned the next two wins via pins to go back in front, 24-18. At 125 pounds, the Broncos’ Jay Yoder pinned Gardner Edgerton’s Saoirse MCall ib the 3rd round, which was followed by Spring Hill’s 130-pounder, Gracie Oppeau, pinning the Trailblazers’ Ellie Rhea with just 2 seconds remaining in the 1st round.

Again, it was a Blazer senior who began the comeback. At 135 pounds, Davis was matched against the Broncos’ Avery Donahey. Just 21 seconds into the match, Davis scored a takedown of her opponent to take a quick 2-0 lead. 37 seconds later, Davis had pinned Donahey and recorded her 100th varsity win as a GEHS grappler and given the home squad a 30-24 lead. That was followed by Gardner Edgerton’s Leila Scott-Pearson scoring a win versus a Broncos’ open spot at 140 pounds, which was then followed by the Traiblazers’ 145-pounder Alex Marks earning a 6-3 win over Spring Hill’s Morgan Hinton, and the Blazers held a 33-24 edge.

However, the Broncos Kaleigh Guthrie put the visitors back into contention with a 2nd round pin of Gardner-Edgerton’s Addison Stephenson- Roy, making the score 33-30. GEHS then went back up by 9, when 170-pounder Wendy Rodriguez jumped out to an early lead over Spring Hill’s Cali Claire, before pinning Claire with 27 seconds remaining in the 1st round to make the tally 39-30, Gardner- Edgerton.

Yet the Broncos were not done. In a battle at 190 pounds, Avery Feeback of SHHS pinned the Trailblazers’ Morgan Tadlock with just 6 seconds remaining in the 3rd round, and the Blazer lead was just 3 again, at 39-36. However, Spring Hill had to leave their 235-pound spot open, allowing Gardner Edgerton’s Karen Rodriguez to claim the win, making the final score 45-36, Blazers.

After the wrestling was over, Davis was asked for her reflections on the night and the past four years as a Blazer wrestler.

“I have a lot of supporters here who haven’t been able to make it to my meets,” stated Davis, “so to hit it (100 wins) on Senior Night at home with all these extra people here makes it all that more special. My older brother also hit 100 wins, so I’ve kind of been chasing him, but it’s cool to hit that milestone. I had a really good week of practice, which always settles the nerves. I tried to approach it the same way I approach all of them – just wrestle.”