The Labette Cardinals wrestling program opened the 2019-20 season on Thursday night with a dominating home dual victory over Oklahoma Wesleyan by a mark of 37-5.

Labette won six bouts of the seven that took place. Oklahoma Wesleyan had open weights at 125 and 165 pounds while both teams forfeited the 184-pound match.

“The effort was definitely there,” Labette head coach Jeff Vesta said. “I’m proud of each one of the guys who stepped on the mat tonight.” 

Labette’s Jacob Roberson opened the night with a 14-12 decision win over Jaxon Miller of Oklahoma Wesleyan at 133 pounds. That was followed up by a tech fall win by Labette’s Cade Wathke over Grant Sullivan of Wesleyan in the 141-pound bout.

Cordell Hunt of the Cardinals then won a major decision over Cullen Ferguson of Wesleyan at 149 pounds. Austin Zaring then racked up more bonus points with a major decision over Wesleyan’s Codey Cooper at 157 pounds.

Oklahoma Wesleyan’s lone win came at 174 pounds with Dailen Presgrove earning a tech fall over Dakota Martin.

At 197 pounds, Labette’s Andrew Leitold won a 2-0 decision over Wesleyan’s Ridge Smith before the dual ended with a pin by Labette’s Jacob Booe over Wesleyan’s Titus Woodward in the heavyweight match.

“The tone was to get the job done at home,” Vesta said. “We just need to go out there and show them that we meant business under the spotlight.” 

Vesta felt Leitold’s decision victory over Smith was a standout performance of the night.

“Originally, we had another guy in place to wrestle that match,” Vesta said. “Last night, plans changed and we went with Andrew. He stepped up, made weight and got the job done. I’m also proud of our freshmen who wrestled tonight. First time under the spotlight sometimes is a little intimidating and they handled it well.” 

Labette heads south on Saturday for the OCU Open before heading north to Chanute for a dual against Neosho County on Wednesday.

“It’s a good start, but the season is just beginning,” Vesta said. “I always tell my guys, win or lose, you have to get better each match and improve if you want to be on the All-American podium at the end of the season.’ 

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