The Wrestling Rams were not suppose to get past Monticello in the Shelbyville 1A Regional. But they did, 180 to 173.5, as the Rams made history by claiming the first wrestling regional championship in school history.
Shelbyville crowned five individual champions and advanced nine wrestlers to sectional. So did Monticello. Four Rams claimed 2nd place. Monticello only had two. Monty had two 3rd place finishers and Shelby none. Both teams had one 4th place finisher, each.
“We scored it before regional,” said Ram coach Greg Harkins. “If everyone finished where we though they would we’d still lose to Monticello by a point. Nobody got upset and we got bonus points where we could. The difference was the 152 pound match. If we could steal that match, we could win.”
Adam Hudson (State 4th-ranked) had been beaten by Dylan Knisley of Monticello (3rd-ranked) last year and this year. Hudson also was nursing an ankle injury the last week so the Rams gave up a forfeit at 152 at the conference tourney, rather than wrestle Knisley again and make the injury worse.
“Before their match each wrestler was assured of at least 10 points for 2nd place,” Harkins said. “Whoever won the match would get the extra four points.”
Knisley got the first take down of the match and Hudson quickly got a reverse. The score was 2-1 after the 1st period.
“Knisley had the option to start the 2nd period and chose the down position,” Harkins said. “Hudson was able to ride him out the 2nd period.”
The Rams had put in extra work on riding guys out. That left the score 2-1 Knisley heading into the final period. Hudson was in the down position.
“He executed an escape in the first 10 seconds to tie the score, 2-2,” Harkins said. Hudson had two near take downs on the edge of the circle, so we though it was only a matter of time before he got one. he got a take down in the last 20 seconds and went up 4-2.”
With Hudson’s ankle injury he was at a disadvantage on his feet trying for a take down.
“It was tough for him on his feet,” Harkins said. “We had looked at film of his loss (to Knisley) at LeRoy and noticed a couple of things.”
Hudson was able to ride him using what her learned from film and end up with the decisive win.
Sophomore Garrett Brachbill (37-4) won the 126 pound title. That helped get the Rams in position for the upset.
“Brachbill won by a major decision (12-1) and that gave us bonus points,” Harkins said. “We still could have lost if the other guys didn’t end up where they needed to be.”
Wyatt Fox (33-5) had wrestled Barnhill in the final. He had lost to Barnhill before. Fox came from behind to beat him this time and won the 145 pound title. Lucas Duckett (37-1) wrestled Redwinski of Monticello in the final. Duckett had beaten him twice this year in close matches.
“It’s really hard to beat someone three times in a season,” Harkins said. “Duckett’s match went to overtime, 1-1. I said, ‘Are you trying to give me a heart attack?’”
If Duckett lost it would ruin the Rams chances at the upset. Duckett got a take down in the first OT period and won the match, 3-1.
“I looked back at our season and we only lost 1 or 2 overtimes,” Harkins said. “As hard and as tough as we are on them in practice and in conditioning, it becomes a strong point. It makes them mentally tougher and it helps them win overtimes.”
After Duckett won the Rams began to realize they were gonna upset Monticello. Noah Applegate (182) then placed 4th and Caleb Cloe (195) placed 2nd. Senior Elliott Smithson (33-4) won the 220-pound title.
“We still would have won if Elliott placed 2nd,” Harkins said.
But he didn’t. He won 8-4. Andrew Mudgette (285) also in the final, placed 2nd. Then the Rams were crowned regional champs.
Sophomore Zack Stirrett (30-9) was runner-up at 106 and junior Jared Finley (38-2) ranked 3rd in state, placed 2nd at 138, losing to the 2nd-ranked state wrestler Nate Jozsa.
Shelbyville goes to the Individual Sectional this Friday and Saturday, taking nine wrestlers. The top four in each weight class from Sectional will advance to Individual State, beginning the following Thursday. After Individual State, the Sweet 16 Rams will go to the Team Sectional and have to beat Vandalia to advance to Team State on March 1. Shelbville (ranked team 8th) beat 3rd-ranked Vandalia, 32-31, earlier in the year.
106-2nd Stirrett def. Iredis Daniels (TOL) by pin (:51); lost title to N. Tankersley (MONT) by tech fall (5:57)
120-Trevor Brown lost Heren (AUB), 10-6; lost to VanDalsen (MONT), 7-1
126-1st Brachbill def. Smith (AO) by pin (1:59); def. Overbeck (CUM)by maj. dec., 12-1
132-Jarred Hicks lost to Koss (MONT), 8-4 def. Brandenburg (CUM), 13-8; lost to Domescik (AUB) by maj. dec., 14-4
138-2nd Finley def. Yocum (CUM) by maj. dec., 14-6; lost title to Jozsa (AO) by tech fall (4:42)
145-1st Fox def. Smith (MONT) by pin (3:38); def. Barnhill (AUB) for title, 11-5
152-1st Hudson def. O’Neill (AO) by pin (1:22); def. D. Knisley (MONT) for title, 4-2
160- Ben Houska lost to Patterson (AUB) by fall (2:14); lost Traxler (TOL), 9-3.
170-1st Duckett def. T. Traxler (TOL) by maj. dec., 18-4; def. Redwinski (MONT) for the title, 3-1
182-4th Applegate def. Tapp (AUB), 3-2; lost to Menacher (MONT) by fall (2:29); def. Ritz (ESA) by fall (2:23); lost 3d place to Wenskunas (AU) by maj. dec., 11-3
195-2nd Cloe def. Lane (AO) by fall (:46); def. King (TOL) by maj. de.c, 19-7; lost title to Baker (MONT), 8-5
220-1st Smithson def. def. Silveus (AUB) by pin (1:03); def. McBride (AO) for title, 8-4
285-2nd Mudgette def. Kent (WL), 3-1; lost title to Ortmann (AO) by fall (:43)