He snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. With under five seconds left in the 157-pound gold medal match at the Jan. 26 Trailblazer Conference Tournament, Bricen Wilkie was on his back, trailing Wahoo’s Noah Bordovsky by a point. In the final seconds of the match, the Malcolm senior found a way to get a reversal and win, 3-2.
“Bricen was in control most of the match,” Malcolm coach Matt Coufal said. “He tried to throw legs and that can get him into trouble.”
After Bordovsky took the lead with a reversal early in the third period, it looked like he would ride out the match.
The win gave Wilkie his first ever conference gold medal.
Cody Barton also earned gold. The sophomore went 2-0 with two pins in the 113-pound bracket.
“Cody took care of business,” Coufal said. “He continues to wrestle well against the competition he’s facing. I’d like to see him get some tougher matchups before districts.”
Cooper Vetick went 2-1 to earn third place in the 126-pound bracket while Christopher Burbach placed fourth at 144 pounds.
Malcolm – which fills seven of 14 weight classes – finished seventh in team points. Beatrice won the conference title with 189.5 while Plattsmouth was runner-up with 170.5.
Vanesa Gonzalez-Mendoza earned the third-place medal in the girls’ 115-pound division. The Malcolm sophomore went 1-2 in a round-robin bracket, finishing her day with a first-period pin of Plattsmouth’s Kaelyn Williams.
“She’s had her best couple of weeks of practice,” Coufal said. “I don’t think she realized in the beginning how hard this would be and how good the competition would be. She’s staying positive and taking steps in the right direction.”
The Malcolm boys made a short trip north for the Jan. 27 Raymond Central Invite where the Clippers placed 11th out of 16 teams with 55 points. Cozad and Beatrice took the top two spots.
Barton won three matches, all by decision, to claim first place and improve his season record to 26-2.
In this third match of the day, Wilkie was pinned by Cozad’s Brock Malcom. With Malcom in control much of the match, Wilkie gave himself a chance with a reversal with 1:17 remaining. Malcom regained control with a reversal before ending the match with a pin.
“It was the same thing that got him into trouble the day before,” Coufal said. “What I liked was that he put that match behind him and came back to pretty well dominate the next two. You can’t re-wrestle a match. You have to clear your head and move on. That’s what he did.”
Wilkie recorded two first-period pins to win the consolation bracket and finish third.
After losing his first match of the day, Burbach came back to win three matches and earn the fifth place medal.
On Saturday, Feb. 3, the Malcolm boys head to the Grand Island Central Catholic Invite while Gonzalez-Mendoza competes in Subdistricts at Lincoln Standing Bear.