GROVE - Falling into a deep hole early on for the second time this season, the Grove Ridgerunners were unable to mount a comeback similar to the one they staged against Locust Grove in their season opener, falling to the Vinita Hornets 51-21 in wrestling action Tuesday night.
Vinita won seven of the first eight matches of the night, getting six of the wins by fall in building an insurmountable 39-3 lead.
Lane Elsempter picked up the lone win during that stretch for the Ridgerunners. Elsempter got a first period takedown and a third period reversal to take a 4-3 decision.
Once again, Grove 152-pounder Wes Swingle was involved in the wildest match of the night. Swingle used a takedown and two near-fall points, then countered a reversal with a reversal of his own and two more near-fall points to build an 8-2 lead midway through the first period.
But after giving up an escape and a takedown to end the first period, followed by two more takedowns in a wild second period, Swingle led 14-13 after two periods. A takedown and three near-fall points to open the third made a deficit that Swingle was unable to overcome in a 20-16 loss that made the team score 39-3.
Grove's Drew Hardy then followed with a second period pin that marked a resurgence by the Ridgerunners over the final six matches of the night.
After Hardy's win, Mike Boone lost a 5-2 decision at 170 pounds before Benny Steffenson needed just 38 seconds to record a fall at 182 pounds.
Blake Clodfelter then lost a 5-3 decision in sudden overtime at 195 pounds. After Anthony Krause fell in the second period at 220 pounds, Grove heavyweight Josh Friend brought a quick end to the dual with a pin in 24 seconds for the final margin.
The Ridgerunners will be back in action beginning on Friday when they travel to Tulsa Union for the Mid-American Nationals.