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  • Val T.

Brant stop? Won’t stop:

Rochester soph named McKee Invite Outstanding Wrestler after taking title at 165

Rochester has 6 individual champs, beats Elkhart for team title


Sports Editor, RTC

Rochester sophomore Brant Beck poses with his medal, his winning bracket and the Outstanding Wrestler plaque after defeating Cowan’s Levi Abbott 4-3 in the 165-pound final at the Rochester John McKee Memorial Invitational Saturday.

Push the pace.

Rochester sophomore Brant Beck’s strategy was simple against Cowan’s Levi Abbott in their 165-pound title match at the Rochester John McKee Memorial Invitational at the RHS gym Saturday.

He felt that if he could just keep pushing the pace that Abbott would crack.

He lived out his plans and just in the nick of time, recording his only takedown with one second left to earn a 4-3 win in what appeared to be the most electric, transfixing match of the tournament.

For his efforts, Beck was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament, and he was one of six individual champions to help lead Rochester to the team title.

Rochester’s other individual champions included Layne Horn (126), Wyatt Davis (150), Colin Weiand (195), Alex Deming (215) and Brady Beck (HWT).

Horn, Brant Beck, Deming and Brady Beck remain undefeated on the season. Horn is ranked No. 7, Brant Beck is No. 4, Deming is No. 9, and Brady Beck is No. 2 in their respective weight classes in the most recent rankings.

Rochester scored 261 points to top the 17-team field. Elkhart was second with 212. Among other RTC area teams, Tippecanoe Valley was 10th with 95 points, Caston was 14th with 74.5 points, and Culver was 17th with 23 points.

Brady Beck became the first four-time McKee Invitational champion. He won the previous three years at 220.

Deming won on a forfeit, a technical fall and two falls. The first fall came over Tippecanoe Valley’s Dalton Alber in the semifinals, and the second came in 2:40 over West Noble’s Nolan Parks.

Weiand had four first-period falls, including a fall in 1:46 over Caston’s Pete DuVall in his title match.

He called it his greatest day in wrestling. While he got within one win of making the state finals last year, he had never won a big meet like a conference, sectional or regional or a big invitational until Saturday.

“Last year, I didn’t feel like I had enough shots and enough different combinations,” Weiand said. “So that’s what I’ve been working on is just try to push the pace. Be excited to score, keep going and score as many ways as possible, and when that back option is there, take it.”

Davis defeated No. 11 Carson Fettig of Hamilton Heights 8-5 in the final to improve to 11-2 on the season. Davis had been both ill and dealing with a left shoulder injury in the week leading up to the match.

He started with a takedown-near fall combination that gave him the first four points. He was clinging to a 5-4 lead in the third period when he got an escape and a takedown to increase his lead to 8-4.

“He got sick early this week, hadn’t felt good, missed a little bit of school, missed some practice,” Rochester coach Clint Gard said. “I wasn’t sure if he was even going to wrestle today, to be honest with you. Banged up his shoulder from last Saturday (at the Dave Nicholson Invitational at Elkhart). So he showed us a lot. I just told him on … Wednesday or Thursday … do what you’ve got to do, feel good, try to get healthy. We’d love to have you wrestle on Saturday, but I want you to feel good and be healthy and try to compete. And he did. That shows us a lot. It shows a lot for the team, and he still did not feel the best today, and you saw the shoulder brace on. I’m real proud of him for showing up and being there for the team. That shows a lot of growth on his part, so we’re moving in the right direction with him, and that’s a good thing.”

Horn tore through his bracket, pinning all three of his opponents after a first-round forfeit. He used a wing move from the top position to get a fall in 5:05 over Cowan’s Raef Keith in his title match.

Other Rochester placers included Declan Gard, who was second at 175; D.J. Basham, who went 4-1 on the day and finished third at 138; Ethan Amezquita, who was fifth at 157; Reed Perry, who took sixth at 113; Brantlyn Brady, who was sixth at 132; and Kale Shotts, who was seventh at 144.

Freshman Grant Holloway did not wrestle at 106 due to a meniscus injury to his right knee that required surgery. He is expected back in January. Without him, Rochester forfeited at 106 at the McKee Invite.

Coach Gard said he underwent kidney stone surgery two days prior to the meet. He said he had rarely seen the team because of his health over the last two weeks, and he said he was still in the process of trying to pass the stone as the meet was going on. He said he felt “terrible” and “tired” during his post-tournament interview.

“I wasn’t sure what we were going to get today,” coach Gard said. “So I was very pleased with our team and how they’ve held up the last couple weeks. It was pretty cool. This was only the fourth time I’ve been with the kids in 15 days. … I’ve only been at one practice, and that was last Friday (Dec. 8), and I’ve been at the meets – the Peru dual, the Triton dual, Elkhart and today. So I really haven’t seen them a whole lot. So I wasn’t sure what we’re going to get, but my coaches have done a great job, and the kids have done a great job. … Our kids are in good shape. They’ve obviously worked hard while I’ve been away, and the coaches have done a good job with them, and the kids have done a good job with each other, so I can’t really complain.”

Abbott, a senior, came in ranked No. 5 in the state, and he needed only 2:01 of mat time to pin his two opponents and reach the final.

He then got the first takedown and led Brant Beck 3-0 after two periods in the title match.

Brant Beck started the third period in the down position but got an escape to make it 3-1. He kept advancing. Abbott retreated. Abbott was called for stalling for a second time, which gave Brant Beck a penalty point.

Brant Beck repeatedly tried to gain control of Abbott’s neck to try and snap him down to the ground. Abbott held firm.

“He’s so long, and he’s got his hands right down, and his hands are blocking his legs,” Brant Beck said. “I knew I had to do something with his head to get him to open up.”

But finally in a scramble, Brant Beck got to him for a takedown just before the final buzzer. Still full of energy, a thrilled Brant Beck slapped five to his coaches while Abbott laid on the floor – crumpled, disbelieving and exhausted.

“Honestly, it was just keep going,” Brant Beck said. “Keep pushing the pace. I work on conditioning, and I like my conditioning to be very high and my matches to be very high-paced, and I just got it done. … Hard work pays off.”

Coach Gard said that Brant Beck “is always going to bring it.” Brant Beck’s win avenged a 7-3 loss to Abbott in last year’s 160-pound third-place match at semistate.

“Brant practices really hard, and we just knew if he could keep that pace going, eventually he’d get something,” coach Gard added.

Other Rochester placers included Declan Gard, who was second at 175; D.J. Basham, who went 4-1 on the day and finished third at 138; Ethan Amezquita, who was fifth at 157; Reed Perry, who took sixth at 113; Brantlyn Brady, who was sixth at 132; and Kale Shotts, who was seventh at 144.

Freshman Grant Holloway did not wrestle at 106 due to a meniscus injury to his right knee. He had surgery Monday, and coach Gard said he is expected back in January. Without him, Rochester forfeited at 106 at the McKee Invite.

“We think we will have him back for conference,” coach Gard said. “We know we’ll have him back for sectional.”

The conference meet is at Maconaquah on Jan. 20. The sectional is at Plymouth on Jan. 27.

Tippecanoe Valley

Valley had 13 participants, six of whom placed.

The placers included Alber, who bounced back after his loss to Deming to pin Logan Whitman of Concord in 2:02 in the third-place match at 215; Colten Sisk, who took fourth at heavyweight; Thad Shambaugh, who was fifth at 126; Colton Crabb, who was fifth at 165; Remington Rickel, who was eighth at 144; and Denver Wilson, who was eighth at 150.

Sisk, a sophomore, pinned Triton’s Dom Bradley in the quarterfinals before losing by fall to Brady Beck in the semifinals and to Hamilton Heights’ Andrew Latits in the third-place match.

Shambaugh closed out his day with a fall over Caston’s Ashton Bowyer in the fifth-place match. 

Crabb went 2-2 on the day, ending it with a 9-2 decision over Manchester’s Bryan Fields in the fifth-place match.

Rickel lost to Tri-West’s Eston Ward by fall before two straight wins in the wrestleback round secured a top eight finish. However, he lost by technical fall to Cowan’s Jaden Unger and by fall to Rochester’s Kale Shotts to finish his day.

Wilson’s day included a fall in 3:03 in his first-round match against Elkhart’s Gavin McMillian.


DuVall needed only 30 seconds to pin Bremen’s Ethyn Britton in the first round and only 59 seconds to stop Manchester’s Jeffery Ruckman to get to the semifinals. An 8-3 decision over Cowan’s Peyton Kepler got him to the final before he ran into Weiand.

DuVall was one of four Caston placers and the only placer at 144 or above. The other placers were Jackson Robbins, who was fifth at 113; Bowyer, who settled for sixth at 126 after losing to Shambaugh; and Myles Sherrick, who was eighth at 138.

DuVall is a senior while Robbins, Bowyer and Sherrick are freshmen.


Culver’s squad consisted of four wrestlers, and their only placer was 113-pound freshman Coehn Markley, who placed seventh. Markley’s day ended with a 12-0 major decision win over West Noble’s Makayla Withrow.

ROCHESTER JOHN MCKEE MEMORIAL INVITATIONAL RESULTS: ROCHESTER 261, Elkhart 212, Cowan 187.5, North Miami 170.5, Hamilton Heights 170, Concord 146.5, West Noble 118, Tri-West 110.5, Triton 99, TIPPECANOE VALLEY 95, Manchester 92, Bremen 81, Eastern (Greentown) 79, CASTON 74.5, Clinton Prairie 58, Northwestern 31, CULVER 23


106 – forfeit, 113 – Reed Perry – sixth, 120 – Konor Fugate – DNP, 126 – Layne Horn – champion, 132 – Brantlyn Brady – sixth, 138 – D.J. Basham – third, 144 – Kale Shotts – seventh, 150 – Wyatt Davis – champion, 157 – Ethan Amezquita – fifth, 165 – Brant Beck – champion, 175 – Declan Gard – second, 190 – Colin Weiand – champion, 215 – Akex Deming – champion, HWT – Brady Beck – champion


106 – Max Harsh – DNP, 113 – Kodiak Hillen – DNP, 120 – Aaron Babbitt – DNP, 126 – Thad Shambaugh – fifth, 132 – forfeit, 138 – Joey Lybarger – DNP, 144 – Remington Rickel – eighth, 150 – Denver Wilson – eighth, 157 – Gage Sloan – DNP, 165 – Colton Crabb – fifth, 175 – Parker Adamson – DNP, 190 – Kolyn Grossman – DNP, 215 – Dalton Alber – third, HWT – Kolten Sisk – fourth


106 – forfeit, 113 – Jackson Robbins – fifth, 120 – Gage Minniear – DNP, 126 – Ashton Bowyer – sixth, 132 – Elijah Zabel – DNP, 138 – Myles Sherrick – eighth, 144 – Landen Rigney – DNP, 150 – Gabe Burkett-Rader – DNP, 157 – Levi Martin – DNP, 165 – Liam Wilburn – DNP, 175 – Kane Finke – DNP, 190 – Pete DuVall – second, 215 – Brody Brewer – DNP, HWT – Luke Hipsher – DNP


106 – forfeit, 113 – Cohen Markley – seventh, 120 – forfeit, 126 – forfeit, 132 – Kyler Weiger – DNP, 138 – forfeit, 144 – forfeit, 150 – forfeit, 157 – forfeit, 165 – Robert Evans – DNP, 175 – forfeit, 190 – forfeit, 215 – Izaya Vela – DNP, HWT – forfeit


106 – Rex Moore (Manchester), 113 – Braylon McIntire (North Miami), 120 – Bowen Keith (Cowan), 126 – Layne Horn (Rochester), 132 – Blake Mock (Elkhart), 138 – Jackson Bradley (Cowan), 144 – Jaylyn Pugh (Hamilton Heights), 150 – Wyatt Davis (Rochester), 157 – Michael Cain (Hamilton Heights), 165 – Brant Beck (Rochester), 175 – Hartley Hoover (North Miami), 190 – Colin Weiand (Rochester), 215 – Alex Deming (Rochester), HWT – Brady Beck (Rochester)

The Rochester wrestling team poses with the trophy after winning the Rochester John McKee Memorial Invitational Saturday. They scored 261 points to win the 17-team tournament. Rochester had six invitational champions. Front, from left – Wyatt Davis, Brant Beck, Colin Weiand, Brady Beck, Alex Deming, Layne Horn. Back – Konor Fugate, Brantlyn Brady, Reed Perry, Kale Shotts, Declan Gard, Ethan Amezquita.

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