MOUNT VENON — Senior Nights can be tricky. Coaches want to get guys one final time in the spotlight. Thursday night was also possibly the last time the Mount Vernon wrestling team will call Pleasant Street Elementary its full-time home.
There were no festivities surrounding that possibility.
The Yellow Jackets will have space in the new athletic facility on the high school’s campus, which is set to be in use for the next school year.
MV coach Nate Cornell loves the spotlight, he loves the heat and he loves the close confines of the crowd and the atmosphere it provides.
“I want to at least throw my hat in the ring to try to keep it here,” he said. “We’ll see. It’s kind of to-be-determined right now. Let’s hope that that’s not the case.”
The Yellow Jackets dominated in the lighter weight classes before holding off Pickerington North for a 42-30 non-league win in their final dual of the season.
“I wanted to schedule Pickerington North because I knew it was going to be a close dual,” Cornell said. “I wanted to have an exciting dual for Senior Night … something that they’d remember going forward. I got all the seniors a match — which was great — and most of them got wins too.”
Jacob Burrell, Elijah Yarman, Triston Bowens, Ernesto Zinadine-Garcia, Wyatt Gregory, Alex Mullins and Ryan Tiell were honored before the dual as seniors.
Dylan Hartman (106), Colton Spurgeon (113) and Rylan Firebaugh (120) all earned second-period pins to stake the Jackets to an 18-0 lead.
Burrell, who normally wrestles at 126, moved up to 132 rather than take a forfeit at his normal weight class.
“I wanted to get Jacob a match — I didn’t want him to just get a forfeit,” Cornell said. “We forfeited and gave up points, so I could get Jacob a matchup at 132 (and he) did a nice job getting the win.”
Burrell used his speed to get a couple of takedowns to build a 4-0 lead through two periods. But Lee Anderson came back with an escape and a takedown to pull within a point midway through the third before Burrell had an escape of his own, then a takedown and ended up with an 8-3 decision to push the Jackets’ lead to 21-0.
“It was fun coming out here one last time — the place was packed,” Burrell said. “I didn’t want to forfeit on senior night. I knew I was giving up some weight, so I had to use my speed.”
Bowens (138) held a 13-3 lead when he suffered a knee injury in the second period. North’s David Carte rallied to pull within 15-9 before a Bowens escape and a takedown put it out of reach. Bowen won the decision 18-11.
Titus Mahaffey (145) got the Panthers on the board with a second-period pin and Kyle Coffey (152) and Micah Norwood (160) followed suit with pins to pull the Panthers within 24-18.
“I’m happy with the effort, but my younger guys and my lighter guys took it on the chin,” North coach Derek Oney said. “I’m never happy losing anything. I’m happy with the effort they put forth and if we continue with that effort — we’ll be successful.
“This is a good environment. Our kids aren’t used to wrestling here. It’s a good thing to do before postseason.”
North’s Joshiah George (182) and MV’s Gabe Harmon (165) and forfeits at 170 and 220 kept it a six-point advantage heading into the heavyweight match where Nate Stradley won via a pin in the second period to seal the win for the Jackets.
“He knew the score was close and he knew he had to win,” Cornell said. “He wasn’t shy — he went out there and got after the kid. He scored 14 points before he pinned him. That’s impressive there at heavyweight. He shot right out of a cannon.”
Next up, MV hosts the Ohio Cardinal Conference championship Saturday, Feb. 15 at Mount Vernon High School. Action is set to start at 9 a.m.
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