Last Thursday's home wrestling match against Canton, the only team to beat Vermillion this season or last year in head-to-head duals, couldn't have started any better for the Tanagers.
Brett Bye pinned Jordan Sehr in 5:21 in the 103-pound match, and top-ranked T.J. North scored a first-period pin over Alex Davies in 1:45 at 112.
The Tanagers' middle-weight wrestlers couldn't match the intensity of those first two matches nor of the big boys who would come later. Canton won seven straight matches from 119 pounds through 152 to take a 31-12 lead in team points.
The C-Hawks' winners in that stretch were Tyler Halverson in a 1:18 pin of Regan Bye at 1198; Nick Sehr in a 1:29 pin of Tony Henderson at 125; Jeremiah Peterson in an 18-4 major decision over Earl Kiertzner at 130; Logan Dolan in a 5:30 pin of Lance Burkhart at 135; Zach Martens in an 8-1 win over Niko Cruz at 140; Jesse Peterson in a 4-2 overtime win over Bennet Johnson at 145, and Jake Koster in a 7-1 decision over Andrew McCann at 152.
Tanner Mart at 160 began a Tanager rally with a 15-7 major decision over Alex Pinela. Chris Mart's pin of Luke Myrabo in only 70 seconds brought Vermillion to within 31-22. Nick Mart's 10-1 major decision over Cameron Hayden made it a 31-26 deficit with two matches remaining.
Gerrit Heine had his 215-pound opponent, Austin Orre, on his back at one point and had the huge crowd roaring but had to settle for a 7-2 win. The Tanagers were down by only 31-29 and needed a heavyweight victory to capture the dual, but Canton's Jim Doyle saved the C-Hawks in the nick of time with a 1:55 pin over Will Mart for a 37-29 dual triumph.
Canton topped VHS twice last season and by 37-33 earlier this winter.
Last Saturday's trip to the Winner Invitational where the Tanagers were defending champions was canceled by the threat of dangerous weather. So was a Monday night triangular with Randolph and Ponca because school had been called off for the day.
A five-school all-day team dual tournament at Woodbury Central High School at Moville, IA, has been added to the schedule for this Saturday. Next Tuesday the Tanagers face Beresford and Dakota Valley in a triangular at Beresford at 5:30 p.m.