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  • Val T.

Rochester sweeps 4-way dual, improves to 6-0

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

E. Swango’s late takedown, 8 falls highlight day-capping win over Peru


Sports Editor, RTC

Every member of the Rochester wrestling team takes a weights class that coach Clint Gard also teaches.

That means they lift weights four times a week in addition to their regular wrestling practice.

They had a practice after school Wednesday. Then came a four-way home dual against Whitko, North Miami and Peru Wednesday night at the RHS gym.

A few kids also came in for a workout before school Wednesday.

Gard wants people to know how hard his kids work. But perhaps nothing speaks more loudly than how hard they work on the mat.

The Zebras went 3-0 on the day and now stand at 6-0 on the season. And they capped their day with perhaps their most impressive win yet.

They opened the day with a 66-12 win over Whitko then beat North Miami 63-15 and finished with a 57-22 win over Peru.

The win against Peru was likely the most noteworthy.

Rochester is the defending Three Rivers Conference and sectional champion. Peru was the runner-up at both tournaments last year. They beat runner-up Peru by 16 points at the Three Rivers Conference tournament last year and by five points at the sectional tournament.

They apparently have widened the gap. They won 10 of the 14 matches against Peru, including nine falls.

“Our kids work tremendously hard,” Gard said. “We made sure we’re in shape. We wrestle a lot. I’m saying this now but I’m almost 100 percent confident, but everybody that’s in our varsity lineup is in my weights class. … We came in on Monday and wrestled for an hour and 15 minutes straight with no breaks. Let me know if anyone else does that around here.

“I’m not trash-talking anybody. It is what it is. … We’re in better shape. Everybody works hard, but I like our kids, and our kids work their butts off.”

Gard hopes that fan support increases based on how well they have been wrestling. They are No. 6 in the Class 1A coaches poll.

“Our kids work hard,” Gard said. “Our kids work really friggin’ hard. More people should come out and watch it. It’s good to watch kids that perform and work hard like that.”

Against Peru, they swept every match from 152 on up.

Greyson Gard (152) and Gavin McKee (160) won by first-period fall.

Then came the night’s most dramatic match at 170. With the match tied at 2-2 after two periods, Rochester’s Eli Swango gave a penalty point to Peru’s Chase Seifert, a 2021 semistate qualifier, to go neutral rather than be in the top position. That gave Seifert a 3-2 lead.

They then battled for the next 1:56 for leverage from their feet before Swango got a single-leg takedown near the sideline for the takedown and the 4-3 win.

Peru coach Andy Hobbs consulted with the referee but the call stood.

By giving up a point and the lead to start the third period, coach Gard was essentially betting on Swango to get a takedown.

“He got a takedown there at the end,” coach Gard said. “Not too sure it was a takedown, but we’ve had calls go against us before, so we were probably due for one. But you know, he stayed aggressive and got in on a leg. Like I told him after the match, my frustration is that he waited way too long. We could have been in there 10 times during that last period. I’d like to see him attack a few more times, maybe get a finish earlier, ride him out. Who knows, maybe get back points off it. But he wrestled hard. That kid’s a solid kid, tough kid. You know, Eli’s going to find himself in those positions a lot, but we know we’re in better shape.”

Kaleb Shaffer (182), Alex Deming (195), Brady Beck (220) and Marshall Fishback (HWT) all won by falls. Fishback won by fall over Peru freshman Trevi Hillman-Conley by fall in 2:37 after giving up the first takedown.

“I just told our guys, ‘Look, we might lose some momentum here,” coach Gard said. “Our big guys got to bring it, 152, starting with Grayson. And then all the way through. We just got to keep battling and bring that momentum back to our team.’ I thought we could win out 152 to heavyweight, and that’s what we did.”

Cooper Winn (106), Ethan Holloway (120) and Aaron Swango (126) also won by fall.

Jalen May, a semistate qualifier last year at 106 for Peru, was not in the lineup against Rochester. He had beaten North Miami’s Spencer Flood in an earlier dual in a rematch of last year’s conference final.

The Zebras also won three of the five matches contested against Whitko, including falls for Eli Swango, Beck and Fishback. Swango trailed 4-2 after two periods against Cody Adkins before wearing him down and securing the fall in 5:27.

They also garnered eight forfeits – Winn, Holloway, Aaron Swango, D.J. Basham (132), Mitchell Shafer (138), Gard, McKee and Shaffer.

Rochester also had eight falls, a decision and two forfeits in the win over North Miami. The fastest pin of the night went to Holloway, who overwhelmed Evans in 28 seconds. Aaron Swango, D.J. Basham, Gard, Eli Swango, Deming, Beck and Fishback also won by fall.

Beck was especially dominant, going 3-0 with three falls and spending just 3:12 on the mat for the night.

Joey Spencer led the entire way before notching a 9-2 win over Riley Kling at 132.

Shafer (145) and Shaffer (182) won by forfeit.

Rochester’s next two events are multi-team tournaments – the Nicholson Invitational at Elkhart on Saturday and the Rochester John McKee Memorial Invitational on Dec. 18.

Their next dual is on the road against defending regional champion Western on Dec. 22.

Wrestler spotlight: McKee caps day with win

McKee has been wrestling since he was a sixth-grader. He said he started loving it as an eighth-grader “when I started having a good season not losing every match.”

He said Greyson Gard and Ethan Holloway got him started in wrestling, and assistant coach Bryce Roberts “talked me into it.”

It was McKee’s win over Brandt Gamble in 1:31 with a tight headlock that put Rochester ahead for good at 12-10. He credited Eli Swango, against whom he wrestles in practice. He calls Eli Swango more of a technical wrestler and himself more of a physical wrestler.

“He knows moves better than I do,” McKee said. “So I mess up a lot, and he always adjusts and helps me correct those moves.”

It was a bounce-back win after a loss to North Miami’s Bradyn Fennell.

“I had a desire to win because the match before that I lost,” McKee said. “I wanted to get after it and secure that for us.”


Rochester 66, Whitko 12

Rochester 63, North Miami 15

Rochester 57, Peru 22


106 – Cooper Winn – 2-1, 1 fall

113 – forfeit

120 – Ethan Holloway – 3-0, 2 falls

126 – Aaron Swango – 3-0, 2 falls

132/138 – D.J. Basham – 2-1, 1 fall

138/145 – Mitchell Shafer – 2-1

145 – Braydn Furnivall – 0-1

152 – Greyson Gard – 3-0, 2 falls

160 – Gavin McKee – 2-1, 1 fall

170 – Eli Swango – 3-0, 2 falls

182 – Kaleb Shaffer – 3-0, 1 fall

195 – Alex Deming – 2-1, 2 falls

220 – Brady Beck – 3-0, 3 falls

HWT – Marshall Fishback – 3-0, 3 falls

Rochester’s Greyson Gard (152) went 3-0 Rochester’s Marshall Fishback (HWT)

with two falls and a forfeit in a four-way went 3-0 with three falls during a

dual against Whitko, North Miami and four-way dual against Whitko, North

Peru Wednesday. He spent just 4:01 on Miami and Peru Wednesday. He spent

the mat in his two matches. 5:32 on the mat in his three matches


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