|12/22/2008 2:30:00 AM||Email this article • Print this article|
MONTGOMERY COUNTY WRESTLING MEET: Youth leads South to county title
Mounties have eight individual champs, take fourth-consecutive county meet
By John Groth
In his first county wrestling meet, Austin Michael didn’t let the pressure weigh him down.
Neither did Dylan Rogers.
Two Southmont High School freshmen followed the strategy Mounties’ coach Jamie Welliever has preached throughout his entire career.
Pins lead to wins.
They both pinned themselves individual county titles and helped Southmont earn its fourth-straight Montgomery County meet title.
Behind Michael and Rogers and their three pins, Southmont defeated Crawfordsville 40-25 and North Montgomery 45-19 to win this year’s county championship at Crawfordsville.
“Seeing my team fall behind and needing points, I did everything I could to help the team out and pinned a guy,” said Michael, who scored six points after pinning Crawfordsville freshman Branden Brooks to give Southmont a 30-26 lead with two matches left. The Mounties won those final two individual matches and defeated Crawfordsville. “When I wrestle, I usually feel a whole lot better when I’m actually wrestling. It calms all my nerves.”
In previous years, it’s been Southmont’s upperclassmen and experience which has given the Mounties the advantage.
This time, its youth propelled the team to the win.
Eight Southmont wrestlers won individual county titles, including Michael and Rogers.
Besides pinning Brooks, Michael also pinned North Montgomery freshman Colton Bane in 36 seconds.
Rogers pinned Crawfordsville freshman Ryan Bean in their 103-pound match and won his match against North Montgomery by forfeit.
They, along with sophomore Dylan Robinson (135, 2-0, including an upset of Crawfordsville senior Jared Allgood) combined for nearly half of the Mounties’ individual county champs.
“Those freshmen, I could talk about them all day long,” Southmont coach Jamie Welliever said. “To put two freshmen in the line-up and to get that out of those guys, they deserve a lot of credit.”
Junior Steven Simpson (119, 2-0); junior Nathan Whitlow (140, 2-0); senior Ryan Chism (145, 2-0); senior Alex Worm (152, 2-0); and senior Nick Hodges (189/215, 2-0) also earned county titles for Southmont.
Hodges earned his in a 4-2 decision over Crawfordsville senior Chaz Brock at 215 pounds in a match that went up a weight class, then pinning North Montgomery junior Charlie Akers in 2:41.
Hodges had expected to wrestle Brock at 189 pounds and had cut weight to do so.
Crawfordsville coach Chris Ervin had to choose which weight class he wanted to have Brock wrestle in he wanted to wrestle first and elected to move him up to 215.
Ervin moved senior Justin Bryant down to 189, while Welliever countered putting in sophomore Benjamin Fuchs at 189 and moving Hodges up to 215.
The battle between the two former Indiana High School Athletic Association State qualifiers didn’t disappoint.
Hodges led 2-1 heading into the third period, then added two points on a takedown with 1:29 remaining to push his lead to three.
Brock cut the lead to 4-2 with 35 seconds left but couldn’t make any shoots or score any points the rest of the match.
Crawfordsville did have four county champs – three more than the Athenians had last season.
Junior Briar Perkins (2-0, 112); freshman Hudson Miller (125, 2-); junior Craig Fairley (2-0, 160) and junior Dylan McBride (2-0, Hvt.) each earned titles. For McBride, it was his second in a row.
But what cost the Athenians was pins, especially against the Mounties. Southmont had five pins compared to Crawfordsville’s two. Crawfordsville defeated North Montgomery 43-24 and only had three pins.
“I hope that puts an exclamation point [on the pins],” Ervin said. “We’ll come in every day and try to get a little bit better. We’re definitely not peaking yet . . . We’re disappointed. We thought we would and expected to win. I fee like [Saturday] Southmont outwrestled us. The kids are hurting. But that’s a good thing.”
North Montgomery had two county champs – senior Jordan LeJeune (2-0, 171) and sophomore Colton Snider (2-0, 215).
“We came here to be competitive and we were,” North Montgomery coach J.D. Minch said. “We’re young. We’re working hard. We have one goal in mind and that’s four weeks away – sectionals.”