Rochester wins TRC wrestling title
Gard, Beck, Fishback join Valley’s Montelongo, Hammer as individual champs
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
BUNKER HILL – Rochester wrestling coach Clint Gard said after the Three Rivers Conference tournament at Maconaquah High School Saturday that there is always something in his wrestlers with which he can find fault.
“Listen, I can find something about every kid,” Gard said.
The meet that had just occurred was no different.
But it might be worth noting the 30,000-foot view of what had just happened.
Last year, Rochester finished sixth in the TRC.
This year, they are TRC champions.
RHS won the title with 203 points. Peru was second with 187. Peru had gone undefeated in dual meets against other TRC teams, including a 40-39 win over RHS on Zebra mats on Dec. 22.
But no team matched Rochester’s six finalists or three champions.
Individual champions included Greyson Gard (145), Brady Beck (220) and Marshall Fishback (HWT).
“It’s fun, and I’m going to try to enjoy it,” coach Gard said. “I’m a perfectionist, so I’;ll do my best to enjoy this. Obviously, with Greyson winning, it’s a little extra special for me, but gosh, I just hate wrestling bad. And we just didn’t wrestle well. We left a lot of wrestling out there today.”
Tippecanoe Valley, the other area team, placed fifth with 132 points. Drake Montelongo won the title at 120, and Brandon Hammer won at 182. The most thrilling of the championship matches might have been Hammer’s 7-5 win in overtime over Rochester freshman Alex Deming.
Deming got a single-leg takedown of Hammer with one second left in regulation to tie the match 5-5. At some point in the final seconds, Hammer started bleeding.
After a timeout to stop the bleeding, Hammer worked his way around Deming for the takedown and sudden victory. Hammer had beaten Deming 12-2 in a dual meet back on Jan. 13.
“We haven’t had a conference champ in six years,” Valley coach Kyler Kearby said of Hammer. “It’s nice to finally get over that hump. … To get a championship always feels good, and they’re very deserving of it. I want to keep those titles coming. … For them individually to carry over and in future seasons because we’ve got kids on this team who are definitely championship-caliber wrestlers.”
Greyson Gard began his day with a 12-0 win over Peru’s Kayden Gee and a 7-1 win over Manchester’s Jordan Ayres.
His match with Maconaquah’s Cory Bockover was scoreless after one quarter before he got a near fall from the top position in the second period. Bockover was able to get his shoulders off the mat once but not twice.
Gard then gained control of Bockover’s right elbow and turned him on his back and won by fall in 3:54. He said he had never seen Bockover wrestle in person.
“I knew that I either needed to tilt him up, which I did that once, or half-(nelson), and I had the bottom leg in a half, and I just felt it, so I just ran it,” Greyson said.
Gard’s half-brother Drew Sailors is a former state qualifier. Sailors started at 113 when he was a freshman but eventually made state at 160 as a senior in 2019.
Greyson Gard has had a similar growth spurt, moving up from 126 last year to 145 this year.
“I think we’re pretty close in the way we wrestle,” Greyson said. “I think we’re pretty close to the way we wrestle. We liked to hold on. We like to snap, tie and then once we put it together, we like to go. I think that’s just how we like to do it.”
As for Beck, his only loss remains to South Bend Riley’s Commander Jenkins six weeks ago. The most impressive part of his TRC tournament is that Beck, a freshman, beat three seniors on Saturday. He pinned Peru’s Sam Makowski in 1:05, won a 17-5 major decision over Manchester’s Gavin Mize and then a 10-3 decision over Northfield’s Micah Higgins in the final. Beck had beaten Higgins 2-1 in a dual earlier in the season, but this was more lopsided.
Higgins got three escapes against Beck but couldn’t handle a low shot that Beck turned into five insurance points in the final five seconds.
Fishback, a junior, dismantled Maconaquah’s Cameron Montgomery in 56 seconds and blanked Manchester’s Trevor Dill 11-0. In the final, Northfield’s Mason Osborn offered feisty defense in the first minute before Fishback got a takedown and whipped Osborn on his back for the fall in 1:47. Fishback improved to 24-0.
He might not be tested until he faces Western’s No. 2-ranked Brayden Erb in the regional.
“Talk about Marshall,” coach Gard said. “The kid was terrible last year. I wouldn’t say terrible, but he wasn’t very good. … I had a ton of coaches come up to me today, and that’s the one kid they talked about. We know him from football, but that kid’s just a different kid.”
Ethan Holloway (113), Wade Shafer (152) and Deming (182) lost in the finals. Wabash’s Jared Brooks, a 2020 semistate qualifier whose 28-1 record was marred only by a loss to Holloway on Dec. 3, avenged that loss with a 10-6 win. Brooks led 9-0 after two periods.
Shafer didn’t see the second period in wins over Valley’s Jacob Kats and Peru’s David Schulte that got him to the final. But in the final, counterattacking Manchester sophomore Zach France used a shooting Shafer to get a four-point throw and then hooked in a cradle to get a fall in 3:34.
As for Deming, he waited until literally the final second to get his first takedown of the match.
Other RHS wrestlers finishing in the top four of their weight class included Noah Swango, who was third at 160; Joey Spencer, who was fourth at 120; and Aaron Swango, who was fourth at 126.
Tyler Wolfe (106, fifth), Mitchell Shafer (132, fifth), Nathaniel Beck (138, fifth) and Eli Swango (195, fifth) also placed.
Still, coach Gard said the Zebras didn’t wrestle their best and he said he felt “fortunate.” Afterwards, he emphasized the themes of “one more takedown” and “one more getting off bottom.” Holloway and Wade Shafer were No. 1 seeds who didn’t end up on top of the podium at the end of the day.
“That was our biggest struggle, I think, today with every kid,” coach Gard said. “Finish the match. Finish the match with what’s working. And we had a lot of kids not finish matches very well today. We'll have plenty to work on next week.”
He said the team will have to wrestle better when it returns to Maconaquah for the sectional this Saturday. Eight of the 10 teams in the Maconaquah sectional are also in the TRC.
“Peru will beat us next week if we come and wrestle like this again,” coach Gard said. “We’ve got to do a better job.”
With only five healthy wrestlers participating at 120, Montelongo had to wrestle only twice at conference. He won by fall in 2:58 over Spencer to get to the final and then sized up and sacked Peru’s Cole Sailors in 1:26 in the final.
He said he used a wing combined with a half-nelson to get him down.
Montelongo said he works out at a facility in New Carlisle during the summer. He was a semistate qualifier last year as a sophomore, but he had never won a conference title until Saturday.
“My strategy was to go out there and be dominant,” Montelongo said. “Not just to win but to be the dominant wrestler out there. … It’s my first time (winning conference), and I’m happy about it. I just want to carry it on into sectionals, keep going and see where I get from here.”
Galvin Shambaugh reached the final at 106 after beating fellow sophomore Spencer Flood of North Miami 9-6 in the semifinals. But against Peru’s Jalen May in the final, May traded takedowns for escapes in the first period before winning by fall in 3:29.
Valley wrestlers finishing in the top four in their weight class included Bazle Owens, who bounced back from a 7-6 loss to Manchester’s Preston Duffy in the semifinals to beat Southwood’s Bryce Wyatt and Peru’s Levi Strong and finish in third at 195; Branson McBrier, who was fourth at 145; and Ian Becker, who was fourth at heavyweight.
Dalton Alber (220, fifth), Barrett Heller (113, sixth) and Joel Cisneros (170, sixth) also placed.
Valley forfeited at 126 and 132.
“Today I’m not worried about individual placements,” Kearby said. “I’m worried about how they competed. … I’d like to have some more individuals place higher than they did, but right now, we’ve just got to compete and do the same thing going into next week.”
Kearby also singled out Alber, saying he had a “strong day.”
TRC WRESTLING RESULTS: Rochester 203, Peru 187, Manchester 164, Wabash 159.5, Valley 132, Maconaquah 131, Northfield 106, North Miami 75, Southwood 38, Whitko 15
ROCHESTER INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
106 – Tyler Wolfe – 5th, 113 – Ethan Holloway – 2nd, 120 – Joey Spencer – 4th, 126 – Aaron Swango – 4th, 132 – Mitchell Shafer – 5th, 138 – Nathaniel Beck – 5th, 145 – Greyson Gard – champion, 152 – Wade Shafer – 2nd, 160 – Noah Swango – 3rd, 170 – Kaleb Shaffer – 7th, 182 – Alex Deming – 2nd, 195 – Eli Swango – 5th, 220 – Brady Beck – champion, HWT – Marshall Fishback – champion
VALLEY INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
106 – Galvin Shambaugh – 2nd, 113 – Barrett Heller – 6th, 120 – Drake Montelongo – champion, 126 – forfeit, 132 – forfeit, 138 – Jacob Manns – DNP, 145 – Branson McBrier – 4th, 152 – Jacob Kats – 8th, 160 – Jadyn Virgil – 7th, 170 – Joel Cisneros – 6th, 182 – Brandon Hammer – champion, 195 – Bazle Owens – 3rd, 220 – Dalton Alber – 5th, HWT – Ian Becker – 4th
TRC INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONS
106 – Jalen May (Peru), 113 – Jared Brooks (Wabash), 120 – Drake Montelongo (Valley), 126 – Ethan Higgins (Wabash), 132 – Dylan Stroud (Manchester), 138 – Alex Legg (Peru), 145 – Greyson Gard (Rochester), 152 – Zach France (Manchester), 160 – Logan Farnell (Maconaquah), 170 – Chase Seifert (Peru), 182 – Brandon Hammer (Valley), 195 – Logan Cox (Northfield), 220 – Brady Beck (Rochester), HWT – Marshall Fishback (Rochester)
Tippecanoe Valley’s Drake Montelongo stands atop the podium after winning the title at 113 pounds at the TRC wrestling tournament at Maconaquah Saturday. Rochester’s Joey Spencer was fourth.
Rochester sophomore Greyson Gard stands atop the podium after winning the title at 145 pounds at the TRC wrestling tournament at Maconaquah Saturday. Valley’s Branson McBrier was fourth.
Tippecanoe Valley’s Brandon Hammer stands atop the podium after winning the title at 182 pounds at the TRC wrestling tournament at Maconaquah Saturday. Hammer defeated Rochester’s Alex Deming 7-5 in overtime in the final. (photo provided)
Rochester’s Brady Beck stands atop the podium after winning the title at 220 pounds at the TRC wrestling tournament at Maconaquah Saturday. Beck, a freshman, is 25-1 on the season. Valley’s Dalton Alber was fifth.
The Rochester wrestling team celebrates with the trophy after winning the TRC title at the conference tournament at Maconaquah Saturday. Rochester won with 203 points. Peru was second with 187. Rochester was sixth in the TRC last year.
Rochester’s Marshall Fishback stands atop the podium after winning the title at 285 pounds at the TRC wrestling tournament at Maconaquah Saturday. Fishback is 24-0 on the season. Valley’s Ian Becker was fourth.