Sprague High School's wrestling team came a long way physically Thursday night to wrestle McNary in its final Greater Valley Conference dual meet of the season.
For the Olympians to defeat the Celtics 39-30 and finish the GVC season 8-0 in dual meets was a long trip emotionally, too.
No. 4-ranked Sprague came back from a 15-0 deficit, and heavyweight Jacob Nelson pinned McNary's Kyle Bonn in 1:32 to clinch the win.
"We went undefeated in league last year so it was good to go again this year," Sprague coach Kary Hadden said. "It was really neat for our JV's to do it as well. McNary came out tonight ready to wrestle.
"They got after us right away at the earlier weights, and we knew that they were really tough down there, and we kind of juggled our lineup a little bit and so did they. They wrestled awfully tough, and they're going to be tough to beat at the (district) tournament."
The GVC district wrestling meet takes place Feb. 20 and 21 at Sprague.
For an Olympian team that had to scratch and claw its way into the hearts and minds of the state wrestling community, this season has been a journey.
"It means everything," said Nelson, ranked No. 7 in the state. "We're all looking forward to districts. We're still working hard, we're still getting better and we're just excited."
McNary got four big wins at the four lightest weights to build up a surprisingly large lead.
Joey Kibby scored a pin at 106, Riley Repp upset No. 5-ranked Evan Spragg with a 6-0 decision, No. 9-ranked Brayden Ebbs upset No. 6 Trenton Martinez and Jon Phelps upset Michael Murphy for a big lead.
"Spragg's a good wrestler, and Riley Repp has some great things about him, but he's still developing his competitive spirit," McNary coach Jason Ebbs said. "Boy, he held his act together out there really well like a good competitor.
"There's a lot of mental things that goes into that match and (he) made good decisions, stayed in good position, worked hard and got his opponent out of position."
Sprague's Jared Hampl, Logan Holmquist and Jake Vaughn scored consecutive pins to give the Olympians an 18-15 lead.
The lead went back and forth until Sprague's Spencer Nofziger scored a surprising 7-2 decision against McNary's Gage Mance at 182 pounds.
"Definitely, I won it for my team because they push me every day," Nofziger said. "They're my brothers. We play football and baseball and we wrestle together so I definitely look to them for encouragement and support. Winning it for the team means so much more for me."
McNary's Taran Purkey and Alvarro Venegas scored pins to close Sprague's lead to 33-30 heading into Nelson's match against Bonn.
"They lost to us last year so they're coming out with something to prove, and we came out pretty flat, I thought in both matches today," said Sprague's Corson Davis, ranked No. 1 at 170 pounds.
"We aren't peaking for this week, though, we're peaking for … next week and regionals. Guys found a way to win. We didn't wrestle our best tonight, but McNary stepped up."