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  • Val T.

Rochester gets 4 first-period falls, beats Wabash to improve to 3-0


Sports Editor, RTC

WABASH — The Rochester wrestling team recorded seven falls – four of which came in the first period – and went on to defeat host Wabash 62-15 at Coolman Gymnasium Thursday.

Ethan Holloway (120), Gavin McKee (160), Brady Beck (220) and Marshall Fishback (HWT)

Kaleb Shaffer

recorded the first-period falls. Other Rochester winners by fall were J.J. Helt (138), Eli Swango (170) and Kaleb Shaffer (182).

Cooper Winn (106) and Greyson Gard (152) both won by major decision.

D.J. Basham (132) and Alex Deming (195) both won by forfeit.

Rochester, who is ranked No. 6 in Class 1A in the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association poll, improved to 3-0.

Holloway recorded seven takedowns and two near-falls against Avry Dugan before finally finishing him off in 1:33. Beck recorded seven takedowns before pinning Austin Baggett in 1:28. Fishback, a senior, appeared to be giving up weight to Wabash freshman Caden Carmichael but still needed only 1:17 to stick him.

Holloway, Beck and Fishback are all returning semistate qualifiers from last year.

McKee, however, is a newcomer to the varsity lineup.

“He’s a really good athlete,” Rochester coach Clint Gard said. “He’s strong, but he’s stronger than what he looks. So you look at him and think, ‘Oh, the kid’s a good athlete in good shape.’ But then he’s even stronger once somebody gets a hold of him. Obviously, he’s learning really, really well and done a great job of adding on to his wrestling. I think just being in the room and wrestling without varsity guys, even though he wasn’t varsity last year, has really helped him a lot. He can do a lot of things you just can’t teach – great balance, he knows where his hips need to go … deceivingly strong, deceivingly quick. He’s a heck of an athlete.”

Helt is a first-time varsity wrestler who handled Matt Anderson in 4:24. Helt was ahead 14-3 in the second period before Anderson had Helt in trouble with a takedown and a near fall.

But Helt got an escape and a takedown and eventually pinned him in the third period.

Swango got two takedowns and two near falls and was ahead of Gavin Palmer 11-0 before pinning him in 2:57.

Shaffer was ahead of Isaiah Cavins 2-0 in the second period when he pinned him at the 2:28 mark. Shaffer, who wrestled at 170 the last two years, said that his body has naturally grown to 182 and that he feels strong at his new weight. He had to work through a tight grip of a bear hug that Cavins had applied.

“He was squeezing me pretty hard,” Shaffer said. “I kind of popped off a few double legs (takedowns), but I didn’t really know what to do, but I got a good takedown on him and got a pretty scrappy half (nelson) on him. He was a pretty strong kid. He was trying to belly down, so I kept on driving, finishing.”

Winn topped Olivia Harden 13-2. Gard operated primarily from the top position and allowed only a late escape in beating Ethan Berry 9-1.

In perhaps the night’s most intriguing match, Wabash Jared Brooks (126) defeated Aaron Swango 6-3. Brooks utilized a lat toss to throw Aaron Swango and grab an early 4-0 lead, but he only got one more takedown after that.

Brooks was a state qualifier at 113 in 2020 and finished seventh at state at 113 in 2021. He has jumped up two weight classes and finds himself in Aaron Swango’s weight class this year.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to get off bottom against him,” coach Gard said. “But we did some nice things. Brooks does a lot of different things, and he’s a heck of a little wrestler. He’s got a lot of technique. … I know Aaron’s disappointed, but there’s a lot of good things there, and I know we saw probably (Brooks’) best. So that’s a positive for us. We saw his best. He beats us 6-3. We know what we’ve got to do to get off bottom and what we need to work. So I feel confident on that.”

Rochester forfeited at 113.

Rochester has a four-way home dual against conference rivals Peru, North Miami and Whitko on Wednesday. Three days later, they will travel to Elkhart for a tournament.

Gard was asked if he was concerned that Holloway, Beck and Fishback are not being challenged in matches right now.

“No, because they’re challenged every day at practice,” coach Gard said. “Ethan’s not wearing Aaron out like he used to. There are a couple days Aaron’s able to get Ethan. Marshall, we’re struggling a little bit finding Marshall with some partners. Our assistant coaches are still going with him a little bit. You know, Brady and him have some great battles, but there are some times we’ve got to put (assistant coaches) Bryce (Roberts) and Tristan (Wilson) in on him because he needs a different feel. He’s starting to get to the point where he’s a little too much to handle. But he’s done a really good job of continuing to push himself.

“I don’t see any let-up in the practice room. I like what he does a lot. He’s not a hard kid to motivate.”

In JV matches, Ethan Amezquita (145) and Nate Beck (152) won by fall.

Rochester 62, Wabash 15

106 – Cooper Winn (RHS) def. Olivia Harden, 13-2

113 – Jace Bullins (WAB) wins by forfeit.

120 – Ethan Holloway (RHS) def. Avry Dugan (WAB), fall, 1:33

126 – Jared Brooks (WAB) def. Aaron Swango (RHS), 6-3

132 – D.J. Basham (RHS) wins by forfeit.

138 – J.J. Helt (RHS) def. Matt Anderson (WAB), fall, 4:24

145 – Brayden Sickafus (WAB) def. Braydn Furnivall (RHS), fall, 1:22

152 – Greyson Gard (RHS) def. Ethan Berry (WAB), 9-1

160 – Gavin McKee (RHS) def. Paloma Shull (WAB), fall, 0:57

170 – Eli Swango (RHS) def. Gavin Palmer (WAB), fall, 2:57

182 – Kaleb Shaffer (RHS) def. Isaiah Cavins (WAB), fall, 2:28

195 – Alex Deming (RHS) wins by forfeit.

220 – Brady Beck (RHS) def. Austin Baggett (WAB), fall, 1:28

HWT – Marshall Fishback (RHS) def. Caden Carmichael (WAB), fall, 1:17

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