Rochester bounces back from team state loss, beats Valley in final dual of regular season
Montelongo wins by fall for Valley; Rickel, Hammer win by major decision
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Rochester wrestling team did not have a good practice at 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to coach Clint Gard.
Thankfully for them, the dual meet against Tippecanoe Valley wasn’t until 6:30 p.m.
Wyatt Davis (113), Nathaniel Beck (145), Greyson Gard (152) and Brady Beck (220) all won by fall, and the Zebras closed out the regular season with a 62-14 win over the Vikings at the RHS gym Wednesday.
Ethan Holloway (120) stayed undefeated with a technical fall, and Alex Deming beat Bazle Owens 7-2 in a match that featured two wrestlers in the indianamat.com top 25 at 195 pounds.
Gavin McKee (160) won by injury default after Eric Burke took an inadvertent knee to his head and suffered a bloody nose.
Rochester already had 24 points in the bank before the match started due to forfeits. Cooper Winn (106), Aaron Swango (126), Eli Swango (170) and Marshall Fishback (HWT) all had their arms raised without having to wrestle.
Drake Montelongo (132) won by fall for Valley. Ranked No. 17 in the state, Montelongo needed a minute to stick Rochester’s Joey Spencer.
Remington Rickel (138) and Brandon Hammer (182) won by major decision.
The dual was the final competition before the Three Rivers Conference tournament at Maconaquah on Jan. 22. Rochester is the reigning TRC champion.
The Zebras were wrestling for the first time since finishing second out of 12 teams at the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association Class 1A team state duals at Martinsville High School Saturday.
Coach Gard said the way the team practiced beforehand was concerning. He told the wrestlers to take a warm shower, “get your heads on straight,” and focus on their “mindset.”
“I wasn’t sure at about four o’clock,” coach Gard said. “We had about an hour’s practice, not a real tough practice but just an hour. We had a real tough one on Monday. We came in, and I was afraid of a letdown. It was a huge weekend, and our kids wrestled really well. And all the emotion that goes with it, and you’re not sure what’s going to happen. … To be honest, I wasn’t real sure. You could tell the kids were dragging a little bit. … They came out and wrestled, I thought, fairly well.”
The most consequential result might have been at 195. Deming came in ranked No. 22 and Owens, a 2021 state qualifier, came in ranked No. 25.
Deming had beaten Owens 2-1 in the final at the Rochester John McKee Memorial Invitational on Dec. 18, but he did not get a takedown in that match.
This time, he got an escape from the bottom position to start the scoring in the second period after a scoreless first period, and he later added three more takedowns.
Deming credited improved conditioning.
“The first time, I was slower, and I was a little less conditioned, so I went in practice, and I worked with coaches overtime and practiced really gassed every practice, so I can work on my conditioning,” Deming said. “I think that really helped with this match.”
In the only match that featured two former semistate qualifiers squaring off, Holloway earned an 18-2 technical fall win in 4:38 over Galvin Shambaugh to remain undefeated.
Holloway, who is ranked No. 20 in the state at 120, got two early takedowns of Shambaugh and then gave him two escapes to get him back on his feet.
Then came another takedown and back points to make it 8-2. A double-leg takedown and two near-falls in the second period extended the lead to 16-2, and a reversal in the third period ended it.
Wyatt Davis is ranked No. 22 at 113, Greyson Gard is No. 23 at 152, and Brady Beck is No. 9 at 220. (Davis owns a win by major decision at team state duals over Cascade’s Logan Bickel, who is ranked No. 12. Those rankings occurred before team state duals and would suggest that Davis is headed up the rankings the next time they are released.)
As for Nathaniel Beck was one of four honored on senior night, including Kaleb Shaffer, Fishback and Hailey Ferguson from the girls team.
His fall of Denver Wilson in 3:04 might have earned the largest cheer of the night.
Despite his loss, Gard paid tribute to Shaffer afterwards.
“He’s meant much more to our program than just wins and losses,” coach Gard said. “He needs to understand that. We’re not where we are right now without Kaleb being in our program and on our team. So I know that that doesn’t probably give him a whole lot of good feelings right now. But he needs to understand the importance of him being in our program and in our practice room and what he’s done for us. The wins and the losses, we’ll remember those and all that stuff, but those don’t define him and what he's meant to our team the last couple years.”
Montelongo, who has signed with Lindsey Wilson College, an NAIA school located in Columbia, Ky., wrestled aggressively against Spencer.
“Drake’s had a solid season all year,” Valley coach Kyler Kearby said. “When his tempo’s high., he’s at his best in my opinion. He went out there strong, free and wrestled real well. He’s ready for a strong run.”
Rickel beat J.J. Helt 12-1 in a battle of freshmen. Hammer, a semistate qualifier at 170 two years ago and a semistate qualifier at 182 last year, handled Shaffer 10-0.
“I felt like our guys competed,” Kearby said. “We’ve got to keep competing at this time because conference … I tell these guys all the time, just because you saw somebody the first time, they’re going to be a different wrestler as are we. Every year at TRC, I mean, I know we’re not going to be up in the running for the title as a team, but if you wrestle that way, you get beat.”
Rochester 62, Tippecanoe Valley 14
(match started at 120)
106 – Cooper Winn (RHS) wins by forfeit.
113 – Wyatt Davis (RHS) def. Joseph Lybarger (TV), fall, 0:33
120 – Ethan Holloway (RHS) def. Galvin Shambaugh (TV), 18-2, tech fall, 4:38
126 – Aaron Swango (RHS) wins by forfeit.
132 – Drake Montelongo (TV) def. Joey Spencer (RHS), fall, 1:00
138 – Remington Rickel (TV) def. J.J. Helt (RHS), 12-1
145 – Nathaniel Beck (RHS) def. Denver Wilson (TV), fall, 3:04
152 – Greyson Gard (RHS) def. Jacob Kats (TV), fall, 1:29
160 – Gavin McKee (RHS) def. Eric Burke (TV), injury default
170 – Eli Swango (RHS) wins by forfeit.
182 – Brandon Hammer (TV) def. Kaleb Shaffer (RHS), 10-0
195 – Alex Deming (RHS) def. Bazle Owens (TV), 7-2
220 – Brady Beck (RHS) def. Dalton Alber (TV), fall, 2:55
HWT – Marshall Fishback (RHS) wins by forfeit.
Drake Montelongo Ethan Holloway