MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon wrestling seniors Jacob Dehart, Max VanFossen and Bailey Cunningham did not spend too much time on the mat Saturday, on a day to recognize them, wrestling for a combined 3:21 in picking up three wins by pin.
“You never quite feel like you’re there until all of a sudden I stepped on the mat and realized this is my senior night, I’m not going to be wrestling here next year,” Dehart said. “I don’t feel like a senior. I don’t feel like I’ve matured enough or aged or gotten tall enough either, for that matter, but it’s here.”
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The Yellow Jackets defended their home mat at Pleasant Street Elementary School Saturday in a Senior Day dual against Newark, winning 69-9.
Dehart took care of business the quickest. At 132 pounds, he pinned Cayden Beckman in 48 seconds.
VanFossen took the mat later in the match at 182 pounds, pinning William Fortune in 1:04. Cunningham (195) took the mat right after his fellow classman, pinning Jared Hawk in 1:29.
“They are our rocks,” Mount Vernon coach Nate Cornell said of his seniors. “They are very good, but they were a little ramped up today because it was Senior Day. Either way, if it was not Senior Day or it was Senior Day, they would go out there and perform, but today I think they had a little extra go juice.”
Outside of the seniors, junior Wyatt Gregory had the best match of the day, taking on Newark’s Dravin Hopkins at 152 pounds. Hopkins beat Gregory in the postseason last year, but the Jacket came out on top at the Bad Apple Brawl earlier this winter, setting up a rubber-match Saturday.
Gregory recorded a takedown in the first period to go into the second up 2-0, but after Hopkins started on bottom in the second, he recorded a reversal to knot things up at two. Neither wrestler scored in the third to send the match into an overtime period, where Gregory picked his shot and struck, recording a takedown for the 4-2 win.
“I’m proud of him for keeping his head up and staying tough because the momentum was in that kid’s favor and he went to overtime and took care of business,” Cornell said. “That’s good for his confidence going forward, beating that kid and winning in overtime.”
At 120 pounds, Jacob Burrell made quick work of Ryhs Fairall, pinning him in 1:11. Tristen Bowens (145) went into the second period against Trevor Carl, but recorded a pin in the second to win. Gabe Harmon, at 220 pounds, was the final varsity match of the day, and he ended the Jackets’ Senior Day on a high note. He pinned Nick Street just before the whistle to end the second period. Dylan Hartman (106), Colton Spurgeon (113), Aiden Stricker (126), Ryan Tiell (160) and Connor Dailey (170) all won via forfeit.
Mount Vernon heavyweight Nate Stradley wrestled for 12 minutes Saturday, competing in a varsity match and exhibition match that both went to a decision. He fell to Scott Cannon 6-2 and Andrew LaFavor 6-4. Gabe Shannon (138) was close to having his match go a full six minutes, but he succumbed to a pin late in the third period.
When the dust settled, the Jackets cruised to the 60-point win over the Wildcats, sending the seniors out with a win.
“It’s a big deal for me because I’ve came up wrestling through the youth program,” Dehart said of his Senior Day. “I was the last group of freshmen to have the chance to wrestle under our previous head coach, coach (John) Brown. It’s saddening that he isn’t here to witness this day after being here for many others, but (this day) is huge.”
This year’s cast of seniors has wrestled for three coaches in Brown, John Frye and most recently with Cornell.
“I am very happy that I got my first year here with them,” Cornell said. “The three guys — Jacob, Max and Bailey — are guys that, as a coach, you always say ‘I wish I could coach those guys forever.’”
The Jackets return to competitive action for the Maumee Bay Invitational Friday and Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. both days.
“That tournament is big,” Cornell said. “It’s the toughest tournament on our schedule and it’s going to be a very good measuring stick to see where we are. … After that tournament next weekend, it’s all about getting ready for that conference and sectional tournament.”