It took until the last period of the last match, but Ardmore finally secured its first dual meet win of the season.

Trailing 34-33 entering the final match of the night, Ardmore's Devon Westbrook pinned Little Axe's Dell Lynn with a minute remaining in the third period, lifting the Tigers to a 39-34 win on Thursday.

Ardmore overcame an 18-6 deficit and scored wins in seven weight classes.

Clay Atwood started off the night with a pin at 170 pounds, but the Tigers fell behind by 12 points before Martin Valdez started a streak of four consecutive match wins for Ardmore.

Valdez won a 2-0 decision at 285, then Ardmore received back-to-back falls at 106 and 113 from Rodney Seaton and Lamir Archibald, respectively, which allowed the Tigers to take a 21-18 lead.

Seaton said the Tigers have wrestled well despite not being 100 percent the entire season.

"We've had people that have been injured so far and we just had to fight through our injuries, so we did pretty good for today," said Seaton, who pinned his man 40 seconds into the second period.

Corey Pender pulled the Tigers to within one point with a 2-1 decision at 152 pounds, setting the stage for Westbrook's heroics.
Westbrook called his dual-deciding victory the one that sticks out most in his varsity career.

"It feels awesome, because I was going out there knowing I had to win," Westbrook said. "I could feel the pressure, and when I won, I was like 'OK, this feels good.'"

With the score as close as it was heading into the final matches, Ardmore coach Richard Dabbs trusted that his last two wrestlers would be successful.

"I felt confident going into the last two having Corey and Devon," Dabbs said. "I know they (Little Axe) had a tough guy at 160. Devon kept it close and pushed him, used his shape on him and the guy just ended up gassing.

"Even in some of the matches we've gotten beaten in, there were signs of improvement. Every time we wrestle, we're getting better."

It's later than usual in the season for Ardmore's first duals win, but Dabbs said he'll take it.

So will Westbrook, who said that the Tigers' rededication to the mat has paid off since the turn of the new year.

"Around Christmas break, we decided we wanted to step it up," Westbrook said. "I think we're doing good since we don't have much experience."

Erik K. Horne