Deming’s win over Owens highlights Rochester’s McKee Invite title
Davis, Holloway, Gard, Beck, Fishback also win individual crowns
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The lighter weights attacked and re-attacked.
The heavier weights stayed patient.
It resulted in the Rochester wrestling team winning the Rochester John McKee Memorial Invitational on their home mats Saturday.
Rochester scored 289 points to top the field of 16 teams.. Hamilton Heights was second with 267.5. Cowan, who won last year’s McKee tournament, was third with 236.5.
Among other area teams, Tippecanoe Valley was seventh with 123, Caston was 14th with 37, and Culver was 15th with 28.5.
Rochester had more individual wrestlers make the finals (seven) and more individual champions (six) than any other school.
Individual champions included Wyatt Davis (113), Ethan Holloway (120), Greyson Gard (152), Alex Deming (195), Brady Beck (220) and Marshall Fishback (HWT). Aaron Swango (126) lost in the finals.
Perhaps the most compelling was Deming’s 2-1 win over Tippecanoe Valley’s Bazle Owens in the final. Owens was a state qualifier last year while Deming was a regional qualifier last year at 182.
Deming was awarded the go-ahead point with 24 seconds left when Owens was called for an illegal hold for scissoring Deming’s head. Owens had scored first with a second-period escape, but Deming got out of bottom for his own escape to start the third period.
Rochester coach Clint Gard said Deming has been “on a tear” since he lost by fall to Whitko’s Devin Ulshafer in a dual on Dec. 8.
“It’s a good win,” Gard said. “I felt like we were the aggressor in the match. I felt like we wrestled hard. We were in on two or three really good shots. We just didn’t finish. I thought Alex wrestled really, really well. Bazle is a hard kid to wrestle. He’s tough. He’s got a low center of gravity. He’s got good hips.”
Fishback won his match in overtime, beating Elkhart’s Brayden Jellison 3-1. In a match in which Fishback and Jellison seemingly grappled for wrist control throughout, Jellison finally took his shot in the overtime, but Fishback sidestepped it and covered Jellison for the victorious fall to close out the tournament. It marked the second straight week Fishback, ranked No. 8 by Indiana Mat, beat Jellison. Fishback also beat him 5-1 in a tournament at Elkhart on Dec. 11.
Beck also outlasted Josh Brown of Hamilton Heights in his championship match, yielding the first takedown to Brown but eventually getting an escape in the first period, a reversal in the second period and a takedown in the third period to win 5-2. Beck had won his three previous matches by fall, including a fall in 4:33 over Valley’s Dalton Alber in the semifinals.
“I thought Brady wrestled well,” coach Gard said of his match against Brown. “He made a mistake. He needed to stay a little bit lower on the knees. He needed to stay a little bit lower, keeping his hips low and having a better center of gravity so you don’t get thrown in that position. But he wrestled well. He just kept doing what he does and wrestling at his pace. That kid was going to grab wrists and underhook and try and slow him down, and Brady did a fairly nice job of battling through that adversity a little bit. The reversal certainly helped.”
Gard edged Cowan’s Levi Abbott 3-0 in his championship match. In a match where both wrestlers angled for leverage and positioning, Gard got an escape in the second period and a takedown in the third period to earn the win. He earned second-period falls over Clinton Prairie’s Ashton Wright and Caston’s Levi Martin to reach the finals.
Holloway won both his semifinal and final matches by tech fall. He defeated Manchester’s Jordan Owens 20-4 in the semifinal and picked apart Hamilton Heights’ Isaac Kuhn 16-0 in 2:51 in the final. Kuhn got a good look at the lighting of the RHS gym as Holloway got four near falls.
Holloway also pinned Kuhn in 43 seconds in the 113-pound final at the 2020 McKee Invite.
Holloway said he has worked on getting out from the bottom position since last season. He was a semistate qualifier last year at 113, and he is ranked No. 4 among wrestlers feeding into the Fort Wayne semistate at 120 this year.
He said he sometimes likes to push the pace against his opponents. But sometimes, he likes his opponent to shoot and then attack off it. He calls it “re-attacking,” which is essentially using his opponents’ momentum against them.
“I felt like he was trying to attack more,” Holloway said. “He liked to be on his feet, but I like my attacks and my defense on my feet. And he probably didn’t want me on the ground because that’s why he chose top in the second period, but I tried to get better over the summer at getting off bottom. It planned out to what really needed to happen, and then, when I got on top, I just worked my stuff like normal.”
Said Gard of Holloway: “He’s got a little engine that doesn’t stop. He’s going to be hard to handle.”
The biggest revelation might have been Davis. Away from the team due to a death in his family at the start of the season and therefore unseeded, he rampaged through the 113 bracket – a 28-second fall over Hamilton Heights’ Henson, a 28-second fall over Northwestern’s Bumgardner in the quarterfinals, a 29-second pin of North Miami’s Spencer Flood in the semifinals and a fall in 1:19 over Cowan’s Bowen Keith in the final in a match in which he sunk in a tight side headlock for his finishing move.
“He’s a tough kid,” coach Gard said of Davis. “Hopefully, we’ve got some of the things from the last couple weeks out of the system, and we move forward and be ready to wrestle.”
Of the Zebras’ 14 wrestlers, 13 of them placed. D.J. Basham (138) and Gavin McKee (160) each finished third while Eli Swango (170) took fourth while wearing a mask to protect his broken nose. Mitchell Shafer (145) and Kaleb Shaffer (182) also placed fourth.
Cooper Winn was fifth at 106.
Valley wrestlers went 0-3 in championship matches. In addition to Owens, Drake Montelongo (132) and Brandon Hammer (182) also lost in the finals.
“As far as the outcome, we attacked,” Valley coach Kyler Kearby said of Owens’ match against Deming. “Bazle wrestled his match. He worked some re-attacks, but if he controls the match, we’re working our offense and not re-attacking.”
Montelongo lost to Manchester’s Dylan Stroud 17-5 in the finals. Stroud was later named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler.
Hammer lost by fall to Hamilton Heights’ Evan Tilton by fall in 3:18 in the final. Hammer trailed 10-2 at the time of the fall.
“He got beat,” Kearby said. “I don’t know what else to say. Did Hammer wrestle his match? No. He knows that. He needed a little bit more tempo there and work his offense. I know he’ll do that the rest of the way.”
Eight Valley wrestlers placed overall.Galvin Shambaugh (120), Remington Rickel (138) and Dalton Alber (220) all placed fourth. Joseph Lybarger (113) and Colton Crabb (152) each took eighth in their weight classes.
Levi Martin (152) was the highest-placing Caston wrestler, taking fourth.
Garrison Hickle was seventh at 285, and Pete DuVall was eighth at 182.
“Pete is a sophomore and he wrestled his best two matches of the year,” Caston coach Mark Evans said in a statement. “He will continue to improve and wrestle better each time out.”
Hickle is a senior but a newcomer to wrestling.
“This is Garrison’s first varsity meet,” Evans said. “He was impressive today, wrestling five matches and winning three of those matches. He's going to be a heavyweight that is hard to beat.”
Culver entered three wrestlers and had two place: Hunter Evans, who was seventh at 220; and Owen Falk, who was seventh at 126.
Evans lost to conference and sectional rival Anthony Schuh by a 1-0 decision in the quarterfinals but came to win three straight matches in the wrestlebacks. He capped his day with a 7-5 decision over West Noble’s Chastin Lang in the fifth-place match.
Holloway (120), Gard (152) and Fishback (HWT) are all ranked No. 4 in their respective weight classes among wrestlers feeding into the Fort Wayne semistate. The top four wrestlers in each weight class at the Feb. 12 semistate advance to the state finals. Beck is No. 5 at 220. Deming is No. 7 at 195.
Peru’s Jalen May is fifth, Lewis Cass’ Kaine Fowler is seventh, and Flood is eighth at 113 among wrestlers feeding into the Fort Wayne semistate. They are all future opponents for Davis, a freshman who is just building his record now. It would also appear that Davis will face off against Western’s Tanner Tishner in a team dual on Wednesday. Tishner finished eighth at 106 at last year’s state finals.
The Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association team state duals will be held at Martinsville High School on Jan. 8. Rochester will be part of the field. Rochester is ranked No. 4 in teams in Class 1A in the Indiana Mat polls dated Dec. 20. Cowan is No. 6.
Maconaquah will host the conference, sectional and regional tournaments on Jan. 22, Jan. 29 and Feb. 5, respectively.
Rochester John McKee Memorial Invitational team scores: Rochester 289, Hamilton Heights 267.5, Cowan 236.5, Elkhart 177.5, North Miami 147, Manchester 124, Tippecanoe Valley 123, Tri-West 95, Triton 95, Bremen 94, West Noble 77, Northwestern 56, Clinton Prairie 48, Caston 37, Culver 28.5, Rensselaer 28
Rochester John McKee Memorial Invitational individual champions
106 – Jordan Korreckt (North Miami), 113 – Wyatt Davis (Rochester), 120 – Ethan Holloway (Rochester), 126 – Jayden Jett (Cowan), 132 – Dylan Stroud (Manchester), 138 – Carson Fettig (Hamilton Heights), 145 – Toby Abbott (Cowan), 152 – Greyson Gard (Rochester), 160 – Ethan Freedline (Elkhart), 170 – Charles Brown (Hamilton Heights), 182 – Evan Tilton (Hamilton Heights), 195 – Alex Deming (Rochester), 220 – Brady Beck (Rochester), HWT – Marshall Fishback (Rochester)
106 – Cooper Winn – fifth, 113 – Wyatt Davis – champion, 120 – Ethan Holloway – champion, 126 – Aaron Swango – second, 132 – Joey Spencer – DNP, 138 – D.J. Basham – third, 145 – Mitchell Shafer – fourth, 152 – Greyson Gard – champion, 160 – Gavin McKee – third, 170 – Eli Swango – fourth, 182 – Kaleb Shaffer – fourth, 195 – Alex Deming – champion, 220 – Brady Beck – champion, HWT – Marshall Fishback – champion
Tippecanoe Valley results
106 – forfeit, 113 – Joseph Lybarger – eighth, 120 – Galvin Shambaugh – fourth, 126 – forfeit, 132 – Drake Montelongo – second, 138 – Remington Rickel – fourth, 145 – Denver Wilson – DNP, 152 – Colton Crabb – eighth, 160 – forfeit, 170 – forfeit, 182 – Brandon Hammer – second, 195 – Bazle Owens – second, 220 – Dalton Alber – fourth, HWT – Adin Wagoner – DNP
106 – A.J. Rayburn – DNP, 113 – forfeit, 120 – forfeit, 126 – forfeit, 132 – forfeit, 138 – forfeit, 145 – Liam Wilburn – DNP, 152 – Levi Martin – fourth, 160 – forfeit, 170 – Dylan Gearhart – DNP, 182 – Pete DuVall – eighth, 195 – forfeit, 220 – forfeit, HWT – Garrison Hickle – seventh
106 – forfeit, 113 – forfeit, 120 – forfeit, 126 – Owen Falk – seventh, 132 – forfeit, 138 – forfeit, 145 – Landon Kuykendoll – DNP, 152 – forfeit, 160 – forfeit, 170 – forfeit, 182 – forfeit, 195 – forfeit, 220 – Hunter Evans – fifth, HWT – forfeit
The Rochester wrestling team won the 16-team Rochester John McKee Memorial Invitational with 289 points Saturday. Front, from left – Ethan Holloway, Alex Deming, Brady Beck, Wyatt Davis, Marshall Fishback, Greyson Gard. Middle – Aaron Swango, Gavin McKee, D.J. Basham, Eli Swango, Mitchell Shafer, Kaleb Shaffer. Back – Joey Spencer, Cooper Winn.