JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
SHELBYVILLE, IL. — Shelbyville wrestling won their first-ever team regional, then sent a 6-pack to individual state. Their quest for sending a team to state for the first time fell one step short on Tuesday. Shelbyville lost to Vandalia at the Litchfield Team Sectional, 34-25.
Shelbyville upset Vandalia earlier in the season, 32-31, on a team penalty. Since then the Rams lost their 113 pound wrestler to injury and two state wrestlers injured on the weekend. The odds were not in their favor to beat Vandalia, but they came awfully close.
"We went into it limping," said Ram coach Greg Harkins. "We were tired and banged up after six of our gus had a brutal individual state tourney on Friday and Saturday. Vandalia came in healthy."
Shelbyville won half of the matches. They won five by decision, one by major decision and one by pin. Vandalia won three decisions, one major decision, two by pin and one by forfeit.
Zack Stirrett won at 106 with a decision, 4-2, Shelby took a forfeit at 113, and Trevor Brown (120) lost by major decision, 10-2.
Garrett Brachbill (126), the 4th place state wrestler, won by a major decision, 16-5. Jarred Hicks (132) won by a 6-3 score, but Jared Finley (138) lost 5-1.
"Finley gave us a boost just giving up three points," Coach Harkins said. "The last time, Finley pinned Tedrick. But he wrestled this time on one foot."
Finley was injured at the state tournament just four days earlier. He toughed out the match rather than giving up six points. Still, it was a 9-point swing from the first meeting. If Finley had not be injured and won by pin the last time, Shelby might have won the dual match.
Wyatt Fox (145), the 5th place state wrestler, beat Balnkenship, after losing to him twice this season. Fox won the upset, 3-2. Adam Hudson, the 4th place state wrestler, won, 3-0.
Shelby lost the next four weight classes. Ben Houska (160) lost by pin (1:27). Lucas Duckett (170) lost in a controversial match by a point, 6-5.
Coach Harkins explained that the referee gave back points when he shouldn't have, then didn't penalize the Vandy wrestler for an illegal move.
Noah Applegate lost by a pin (1:40). Caleb Cloe (195) also lost by just a point, 1-0. Andrew Mudgette (220) recorded one more win for the season, winning a 4-0 decision.
Senior Elliott Smithson (285), with fresh stitches from the state tourney and a bandage wrap on his head, finished his prep career with a pin, sticking Woolsey by beating the clock in the 1st period (1:59).
Coach harkins took issue with the referee calls in the 170-pound match and stood up for his wrestler. However, he was given a team penalty point. It didn't figure in their fate.
"I couldn't be any prouder of these our team for the way the wrestled this year, Coach harkins said.
With just one senior leaving the squad and more than a dozen incoming freshmen, Shelbyville is the area favorite in the Okaw Duals next year and to advance to team state.
Litchfield Team Sectional
Vandalia 31, Shelbyville 21
106-Stirrett (S) def. Philpot, 4-2
113-Vandalia won by forfeit
120-Brown (S) lost to Lipsey by major decision, 10-2
126-Brachbill (S) def. Tessman by major decision, 16-5
132-Hicks (S) def. Palmer, 6-3
138-Finley (S) lost to Tedrick, 5-1
145-Fox (S) def. Blankenship, 3-2
152-Hudson (S) def. Dagen, 3-0
160-Houska (S) pinned Runkel (1:27)
170-Duckett (S) lost to Purcell, 6-5
182-Applegate (S) lost to Stewart by fall (1:40)
195-Cloe (S) lost to Bradley, 1-0
220-Mudgette (S) def. Etchison, 4-0
285-Smithson (S) pinned Woolsey (1:59)