MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets wrestling team hosted the Highland Scots Thursday in a team dual at Pleasant Street Elementary, marching its way to a 57-21 victory.
“I told them, ‘Listen, it’s the last dual meet of the season. A big focus on obviously going out there and doing your job … but I want you guys to keep in the back of your mind while you’re wrestling, that this is Max (VanFossen), Bailey (Cunningham) and Jacob’s (Dehart) last night in here,’” Mount Vernon coach Nate Cornell said. “I want you guys to really go out hard and wrestle for these three guys.”
The first competition of the night was a six-minute match at 120 pounds, with Jake Burrell and Gavin DeAngelo going the distance. The Jacket picked up the 6-3 decision win over DeAngelo to set the tone. Highland quickly rallied with Cody Matthews (132) pinning Gabe Shannon in the third period. The Jackets went on a roll, with Triston Bowen (138) and Wyatt Gregory (145) rattling off back-to-back first-period pins over Damiel Daniel and Andy Baker, respectively.
Getting up in the weights, the Scots flexed their strengths between Christian Miller and Eli Grandstaff. Miller, at 152 pounds, bested Ryan Tiell in a 6-2 decision, followed by a first-period pin by Grandstaff over Kelton Grogg, but that was the last Scot win of the night.
The heart of Mount Vernon’s lineup reigned surpreme, with Max VanFossen pinning Triston Hinkle in the first period. Bailey Cunningham, who has been dropping weight this season, has seen continued success as the season rolls on and he pinned Ian White at the 1:02-mark.
“I think that he moved well,” Cornell said of Cunningham. “I think he went out there with a little bit more confidence because he’s not wrestling a guy bigger than him and he’s also going out there and attacking it. He got after it.”
Gabe Harmon closed out the competition with a pin over Dillon Lehman at 195 pounds.
Colton Spurgeon (106), Jacob Dehart (126), Alanta Spurgeon (220) and Nate Stradley (285) racked up six points apiece for the Jackets due to forfeit. Highland’s Kaden Miller (113) also won by forfeit, but the Scots were spotting the Jackets 18 points. Because of the open classes, Highland’s emphasis was more on individual performances compared to the team score.
“The emphasis was individually,” Highland coach Adam Gilmore said. “We have some young kids and we have some experienced kids, so the objective there was to get each kid to wrestle better than they did last week and be aggressive and they were.”
In JV action, Mount Vernon’s Connor Lang and Jesse Foster recorded pins in the first period against Highland’s Hunter Elswick and Domonick Carter, respectively.
Highland enters the Division II Region 9 dual team tournament Saturday as the No. 8 seed and their opening dual is against River View, with Lexington serving as host to the tournament. With the postseason coming up, the goal for the Scots is to continue to improve each time on the mat.
“I think if you can address weaknesses week to week, you can improve each week,” Gilmore said. “Ultimately, that’s what the goal is, is to just get better than we were the week before.”
The Jackets head north this weekend to compete in the Division I Region 2 dual team tournament. Mount Vernon is the No. 12 seed and takes on fifth-seeded St. Ignatius to open the tournament in Wadsworth.
“We’re going up to this tough district and we’re wrestling kids we haven’t seen all year long,” Cornell said. “We’ve got to go up against tough competition, against somebody we haven’t seen, and this is going to be a good measuring stick. … If you do well, we’re right where we need to be and keep on pushing. If you don’t do as well as you want against tough competition, stay motivated and keep working.”