BY GREG FLINT
VEEDERSBURG, Ind. —
Wrestling coaches often try to explain to their squads that every place in a tournament is important — third, fourth and even fifth — but often that speech falls on deaf ears.
It will be a much easier sell for Luke King of North Vermillion whose team won the Wabash River Conference tournament title without a single champion.
The Falcons got no firsts, four seconds, six thirds, three fourths and a fifth to edge Fountain Central 217.5 to 212 despite the Mustangs having three champions and five seconds.
“I’m glad to win it,” said King about the title, “but it’s sure not how I wanted to do it. We wrestled horribly.”
He continued, “We were horrible in the semifinals but came back and did well in the consolation to make up for it. I’m proud of how we came back in the end.”
For Kameron Banes, the Mustang head coach, it was both a day of frustrations and one of successes.
He started the day without a couple of his usual wrestlers who could not participate due to a staph infection that they seemed to have picked up the previous week at a tournament in Crawfordsville, Ind.
“We didn’t have all the guys we wanted, but we put some others in and they did okay,” said Banes. “We also had some other guys do really well for us.”
Two wrestlers that impressed Banes were Trevor Loveall at 160 pounds and Alex Fay at 285.
“Trevor came out and beat Wade Harrison of North Vermillion whose athleticism makes him a tough match,” explained Banes, “But Trevor just went out and wrestled and won. And Fay was unseeded and took a second for us at heavyweight.”
If Banes was disappointed by having two wrestlers out, there may be no words to describe how Seeger coach Tom Cook felt as his team took to the mats.
The Patriots were without six of their usual wrestlers — five thanks to staph and other skin problems picked up at the same tournament as struck down the Mustang wrestlers and one, a top seed in Jordan Horath, who was injured.
“You can’t believe how frustrated I’ve been in the past two days when I started finding out how many guys wouldn’t be available today,” said Cook. “We had five holes — five forfeits — and you just can’t overcome that.”
Seeger still finished in fourth with 129 points and had two champions in Quentin Johnston at 106 and Jack Kay at 170.
“We kind of figured Quentin would win,” said Cook, “But Jack’s win was special. He’s a hard worker who’s still learning — he does what you want – and he wrestles within his abilities.”
Cook also said he was proud of the way his team battled despite knowing they had no chance at a team title.
Covington took third in the meet with 189 points and four champions.
The Trojans had only won the WRC title twice – in 1986 and 2000 – according to coach Mike Thompson, but they were hoping to add a third.
It was not to be as the team struggled in the semifinals and consolation, unable to do as the Falcons did and get many points from their non-champions.
“We expected our final three to win their finals,” said Thompson of Karson Allen at 195, Dalton Hardy at 220 and Garrett Reynolds at 285, “but having Wyatt [Kinderman] win at 152 was great. He’s made a lot of progress and I’m glad to see him take home a title.”
Attica may have been the surprise team of the meet as they took fifth, five points behind Seeger with 124. The Ramblers had three champions, a second and two thirds as their program has made significant progress in both ability and numbers over what they had last year.
Taking sixth was Rockville with 113 points and two champions while Turkey Run was seventh at 92 points with a second place as their top finish.