CENTERBURG — The Centerburg Trojans and Utica Redskins both competed in the Division III Region 21 dual team tournament Saturday in Centerburg, but both teams were eliminated in the first round against higher-seeded competition.
Utica’s match was against North Union, and the Redskins won four of the matches, but forfeits at the end gave the Wildcats the win. Wesley Wydick started Utica off with a pin over Casey Clark at 106 points. Brock Wygle (113) and Nolan Bennett (120) found themselves on the wrong end of a first-period pin against Tarren Riffle and Hayden Pacha, respectively.
At 126 pounds, Austin Smith got the Redskins back on the winning track by pinning Ethan Wagy in the first period. Pierce Jordan put Utica ahead 18-12 in the team scoring with a pin at the 2:50-mark over Austin Jamison. Roger Moran went the distance, but lost in a 3-1 decision against Caleb Isner in the 138-pound bout. Brett Homan (145) and Mason Williams (152) both picked up forfeit wins to give the Redskins a 30-15 edge.
Briar Harris went into the second period at 160 pounds, but fell via pin to Alec O’Reilly. Clayton Cummons and Skyler Cowgill went all six minutes in the 170-pound match, and Cummons escaped with a 4-3 win to put the Redskins ahead 33-21. Parker Frazee was in the last competition of the dual and after putting up a solid fight, he was pinned at the 3:35-mark.
North Union closed out the dual with three-straight forfeit wins to Kane Beltz (195), Dylan Thomson (220) and Zach Millard (285). The three forfeit wins gave the Wildcats enough points to secure the 45-33 victory.
Centerburg’s Donnell Marshall (132) was the lone Trojan to pick up a win in the host’s dual against Pleasant. He pinned Jacob Romero in just over a minute to continue his standout season. Heavyweight Ross Boyd also earned a victory via forfeit.
“He has his sites set and I think we know what he can do,” Centerburg coach Brian Wetzel said of Marshall. “It’s nice to go out there and get tournament championships and T-shirts that say tournament champion on it, but in the end, what you do in the postseason is what you’re going to be remembered for.”
Alex Hayden (120) went deep into the first period, but was pinned by Spencer Steed. 152-pounder John Sheasby was pinned by Michael Phelps in the first period. Ethan Ferrell, at 160 pounds, suffered the same fate against Boston Grant. Stephen Schmitt (170) was not pinned, but he fell in a 17-2 technical fall against Josiah Boles. Grant Hayden, at 220 pounds, closed out the competitive action against Nick McCall, falling by pin in the first.
Carter Chase (126), Dylan Baisden (138), Wyatt Wells (145), Conner Sparling (182) and Brad Lee (195) all earned forfeit victories for the Spartans. Pleasant went on to win 59-12.
With several open classes, Wetzel went into Saturday with the goal of more match experience for his roster.
“We’re still focusing on progressing our guys and getting them that live-match experience,” Wetzel said. “There’s honestly nothing better than live matches. You really don’t see the type of intensity, you don’t see the type of reactions and the type of movements all the time that you need to see.”
Centerburg was selected in December to host the event, which had 15 teams. Although the Trojans did not make it out of the first round, it was still a good day for the program.
“Our numbers aren’t great, so a lot of our students don’t get exposure to (wrestling),” Wetzel said. “Between the home duals that we can schedule and the tournaments that we’ve started the last couple of years, this is just another example of me trying to expose our student body, our community and our family to wrestling in general. It’s nice it’s a state tournament so that brings a little more eyes to this.”
Centerburg returns to the mats Thursday at the Knox County Small School Meet at 6 p.m., while Utica’s next action is Saturday at home against Thomas Worthington, kicking off at 10 a.m.
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