CENTERBURG — The Trojans defended their home mat Thursday in the third-annual Knox County Small Schools Invite, racking up 38 points between the middle school and high school ranks to give Centerburg the win over Fredericktown, East Knox and Danville.
In addition to helping his team win the crown, Centerburg senior Stephen Schmitt, as well as the senior statisticians were celebrated before the match.
“It means a lot to have all my friends and family come out and support me,” Schmitt said of Senior Night. “It’s really something special. I picked up wrestling last year so I haven’t been doing it too long, but the time I have had with it, it’s just been great. It’s definitely something I’ll never forget.”
On the mat as the lone senior, Schmitt held his own, picking up wins over Tristen Goudy (Danville) and Damien McCloud (Fredericktown). Schmitt pinned Goudy in the first and best McCloud in a 17-2 technical fall.
“I just wanted to make the most of it,” Schmitt said. “I won’t get another opportunity like this so I just wanted to make the most of it and go have fun out there.”
Other high school Trojans to pick up a win were Alex Hayden (120) over Danville’s Cassie Hood and Grant Hayden (220) over Fredericktown’s Michael Herbst, both by pin.
At the middle school level, Caylan Lemaster (128) secured two wins, beating Mason Hoeflich (Fredericktown) in a 9-1 decision and later pinning Luke Schlosser (East Knox) in the second period. Mason Lanthorn (205) also picked up a pin in the third period against Zac Young (Fredericktown).
Centerburg put together 38 points between the two levels to earn the top spot. Fredericktown was just behind with 34, while East Knox collected 21 and Danville had six.
At the high school level, Fredericktown’s Gene Fitzpatrick and East Knox’s Dyer Williams had the only match that went the distance, and in a back-and-forth bout, the Freddie pulled out the 19-11 decision.
“Gene’s a real active wrestler,” Fredericktown coach Milan Pozderac said. “I really enjoy watching him wrestle. He just continually moves and with wrestling, sometimes that’s all it takes is just keep the motion. Sometimes if you stop, it gives the opponent time to beat up on you.”
Jayson Herbst, at 220 pounds, was the other high school Freddie to win, pinning Danville’s Preston Brady in the first period.
Fredericktown had five wins in the middle school ranks, posting the most victories out of the four schools. Zac Young (205) pinned Codey Ricketts (Danville), Lucas Herbst (205) snagged a pin over Levi Cunningham (East Knox) and Hoeflich rebounded to beat Schlosser in a 7-0 decision. Brock Stute racked up two wins on the night, pinning Josh Kauila-Volk (East Knox) and outlasting Andrew Banta (Centerburg) in a 5-3 decision.
“As long as they keep pushing forward, they’ll do great,” Pozderac said of the middle school Freddies. “The first year is kind of rough, but absolutely, I’m looking forward to the next couple of years. We’ve got some more fresh blood coming up into high school.”
East Knox’s 152-pounder Tyler DeLucia picked up a first-period pin over Centerburg’s John Sheasby and fellow Bulldog, heavyweight Chris Pumphrey, again got an edge over the Trojans, turning the match around and pinning Ross Boyd. Cunningham rallied from his earlier loss to pin Rickett, while Lavery Tish (172) got the best of Charlie Sargent (Centerburg) in a 5-0 decision.
Danville’s lone win of the night came when Goudy pinned McCloud in 46 seconds.
All four schools will return to action Feb. 16 in the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference Championships hosted by East Knox, with matches set to start at 10 a.m.