BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
During a pause in the action, Rochester wrestling coach Clint Gard wanted his 220-pound freshman Brady Beck to know something during his hotly contested match with Wabash junior Chad Wyatt Jr. at the RHS gym Thursday.
“Brady … You’re better!” Gard urged from the sideline.
Wyatt was a semistate qualifier last year and a key member of the Wabash team that won Three Rivers Conference and sectional titles last year.
But on this night, Beck was in fact better. He gave up the first takedown but came back to record a fall in 3:36.
And with freshmen like Beck around, the entire Rochester team appears to be better as they recorded a 56-24 win.
In addition to Beck, Greyson Gard (145), Wade Shafer (152), Alex Deming (182) and Marshall Fishback (HWT) recorded falls.
Colin Weiand (160) won by major decision. Ethan Holloway (113) won by major decision over Jared Brooks, a semistate qualifier from last year.
Jadyn Geller (120), Maison Ramsey (126) and Kaleb Shaffer (195) won by forfeit.
“I’m just very proud of the kids tonight,” coach Gard said. “They wrestled really, really hard. I know (Wabash coach) Jake (O’Neill), and Jake will have these guys ready come conference. And, you know, good. That’s what we want. That’s how we’re all going to get better.”
The match started at 113, and Holloway’s match might have been a tone setter. He gave up a takedown and back points to Brooks to start off behind 4-0. But Holloway was ahead 7-5 by the end of the first period, fell behind again 8-7 after surrendering another near fall but got a reversal off his back and got eight more back points in the third period from the riding position to win 17-8.
Holloway was revenge-minded after Brooks pinned him in the third-place match at last year’s Peru sectional. He credited better conditioning for the win. Brooks was a state placer in 2019, taking eighth at 106.
“I knew I just had to keep pushing the pace,” Holloway said. “I didn’t really know how in shape he was, so I just kept working the whole time, and then when I got to what I wanted to get to, then I just kept going and picked it up and then he ended up losing his gas and I still had more to go.”
Gard won in 4:44 over Brayden Sickafus, a regional qualifier from last year. Neither wrestler
scored in the first period from neutral, but Greyson Gard got a reversal and a near fall after choosing bottom to start the second period. He was up 8-0 before finally sticking Sickafus.
“It would be fair to say my son drives his dad crazy,” a smiling coach Gard said. “Greyson’s got so much in the tank. … I’m just trying to get him to go out and show everybody what he’s capable of.”
Shafer displayed takedown artistry against Michael Berry, grabbing a 13-2 lead before finishing him with a double-leg takedown in 2:38.
Deming, a freshman, trailed Wabash senior Bryson Zapata 3-1 after two periods. But he got a penalty point and an escape before finally notching the go-ahead takedown and finally turning and pinning Zapata with one second left.
It might have been the night’s most exciting match.
“We’ve got some work to do a little bit obviously starting the match off a little bit stronger,” coach Gard said. “But what you saw out there is what you see every day at practice. The kid brings it, and he’s just got a different motor and a different mindset than what a lot of kids have in a very good way. And he works tremendously hard. You know, it showed. That kid quit. He made the kid quit. And that’s one thing we really strive for in practice and we talk a lot about is making that other guy quit.”
And then came Beck’s performance, where coach Gard said he had “to withstand the storm of the big, strong muscle guys.”
“Brady’s a way better technical wrestler,” coach Gard said. “That kid’s just a big bully. … Just a big strong kid that bullies people around and catches them with things that I would consider not to be great technique. And we knew that going in. Big, strong kid, but Brady’s been wrestling since he was five years old. Brady’s a better wrestler – period.”
Fishback applied tempo and pressure on Sheldon Jones III before pinning him in 1:31. Fishback, a junior, has changed both his physique and attitude from last year. Coach Gard said Fishback is “leaps and bounds” better than last year.
“Somewhere along the way, really last March or April, Marshall just turned a corner when we were in quarantine,” coach Gard said. “And he just became a workaholic. He’s lost 20-25 pounds. Bigger, faster, stronger than what he was. And he and Brady battle every single day, and then you throw Alex Deming in there and Kaleb Shaffer, so we’ve got a good five-or six-man rotation there. Marshall’s been wrestling for two years basically, and he’s the guy. And he’ll run into somebody that’s a stud too. … That’s all work ethic. The kid’s a straight-A student, and all of a sudden, he just made a choice. He just flat out made a choice that I’m going to be the best I can be, and it shows.”
Weiand handled Kiersten O’Neill 9-0.
Coach Gard said that Aaron Swango, Noah Swango, Eli Swango and Gavin McKee all missed the match due to coronavirus-related quarantines. The three Swangos are expected back for a four-way dual at Whitko on Wednesday.
The Zebras will travel to Oak Hill for a four-way dual that also involves Cowan and Sheridan on Saturday.
RESULTS: ROCHESTER 55, WABASH 24
(match started at 113)
106 – Olivia Harden (WAB) def. Tyler Wolfe (RHS), fall, 2:37
113 – Ethan Holloway (RHS) def. Jared Brooks (WAB), 14-8
120 – Jadyn Geller (RHS) won by forfeit.
126 – Maison Ramsey (RHS) won by forfeit.
132 – Ethan Higgons (WAB) def. Mitchell Shafer (RHS), fall, 0:34
138 – Anthony Long (WAB) def. Nathaniel Beck (RHS), fall, 1:54
145 – Greyson Gard (RHS) def. Brayden Sickafus (WAB), fall, 4:44
152 – Wade Shafer (RHS) def. Michael Berry (WAB), fall, 2:38
160 – Colin Weiand (RHS) def. Kiersten O’Neill (WAB), 9-0
170 – Grant Carandante (WAB) def. Joel Hensley (RHS), fall, 5:11
182 – Alex Deming (RHS) def. Bryson Zapata (WAB), fall, 5:59
195 – Kaleb Shaffer (RHS) won by forfeit.
220 – Brady Beck (RHS) def. Chad Wyatt Jr. (WAB), fall, 3:36
HWT – Marshall Fishback (RHS) def. Sheldon Jones III (WAB), fall, 1:31