As the wrestling mats got rolled up, Kapaun Mt. Carmel's Nick Heiland was in the other gym, practicing his dance routine.
Let's take a few steps back … maybe even a moonwalk.
Only about 30 minutes before, Heiland was busting out a different set of moves. There was not anything particularly smooth about them. No shimmy. No flash. Heiland just hammered his opponent's shoulders into the ground, picking up a pin 76 seconds into the 182- pound match.
“With it being my last home event ever in high school, I just went out there with the mindset that I need to take care of business,” Heiland said. “Our Senior Night in football didn't turn out too well. I didn't want it to be that all over again.”
Heiland guaranteed it with his win. The pin gave Kapaun a 41-16 lead over Wichita North, eliminating the possibility of a late comeback from the Redskins.
It was a fitting ending for the senior. The Crusaders won eight matches against North in a 45-25 victory. Only one came from a wrestler stepping onto his home mat for the final time – Heiland.
Later, he was soaking in the high school experience, practicing for a Friday basketball game routine with the dance team before his attention focuses full steam ahead on postseason wrestling.
“It's kind of hard work. I grew some respect for them,” Heiland said of his dance counterparts. “Nothing like messing around a little bit for the big three weeks of wrestling.”
Kapaun is getting a quick lesson in hard work. A three-point dual loss to Wichita Northwest a week ago ignited a bit of reality for the Crusaders.
“That's still a sore subject. I didn't feel that we wrestled well against Northwest,” said Kapaun coach Tim Dryden. “Part of that is Northwest. They're a good team and made us look bad in some matches. But I thought there were some matches that we should have won, but we didn't wrestle well then.”
The Crusaders displayed more focus against North. Andrew Egan (106 pounds), Jacob Mills (126) and Luke Wilson (138) gave Kapaun three early pinfalls to go up 23-6. Nick Nece (152), Tom Hand (170) and Heiland kept that momentum in the middle weights.
“We knew they were going to be a tough team, so even getting six wins on them was good,” said North coach Jacob Johnston. “I knew the bonus points battle was going to be really tough, because they have a lot of pinners.”
Despite the dual loss, North still showed well, including a commanding pin from Caleb Franklin in the 220-pound match. Franklin, No. 2 in 6A, remains undefeated.