BELLEVILLE — The much-anticipated dual meet Thursday between Belleville West and Edwardsville proved to be one for the record book.
But it was decided by the rule book.
Tied at 31 after 14 matches, it took the use of six different criteria for breaking the deadlock before Belleville West was awarded the win.
It was West's 5-3 advantage in near falls that earned it the emotional victory.
"No, I've never gone through anything like this. In fact, I'm not sure anybody has ever gone through something like this before," West coach Al Sears said. "You can be sure that if it's going to happen to someone though, it's going to happen to me. I'm not sure we were the better team tonight. In fact, I would say that we were probably were not.
"In my mind this was a 31-31 tie. But since the National Wrestling Federation says there has to be a winner, we'll take it. I'm not going to give it back."
Trailing 31-24 with two matches remaining, Edwardsville got a win from heavyweight Sab Champlain in the final 18 seconds, and when Derek Heil defeated Cooper Secker 12-3 at 106 pounds, the score was tied at 31.
That's when the fun began.
Five criteria --wins, pins, most technical falls, most major decisions and most first points scored in the match came and went with the two teams still tied.
Finally after 15 minutes and six criteria, the Maroons had their first SWC dual-meet win of the season.
"We started out fast, but they just kept coming back at us all night,'' Edwardsville coach Jon Wagner said. "We did some great things out here tonight. We really did. We just didn't finish.
"It's like a football game. You've got to be able to play all four quarters and finish. We didn't do that tonight."
Edwardsville (11-2) led 18-9 after six matches before Nate Higgins (152), Claude Shelby (160) and Jon Keiser (170) all won to give West a 22-18 lead.
When Maroons senior DeAngelo Johnson handed Cameron Thornberry his first loss on the season at 180, the Maroons had their biggest lead at 26-18.
Top-ranked Blake Blair cut the Maroons' lead to 25-24 when he won by pin at 195, but West junior Tremont Davis pinned Shane Hunt in 2 minutes, 20 seconds of their bout at 220 to give West back its seven-point lead at 31-24.