• Val T.

Rochester wrestling beats North Miami, Whitko …

… but COVID issues force postponement of Peru dual


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC

SOUTH WHITLEY –- The Rochester wrestling team earned dual meet wins over North Miami and host Whitko Wednesday.

But as it turned out, those were the only teams they faced. In what was originally supposed to be a four-way dual, Peru backed out earlier Wednesday, citing a positive coronavirus test within their team.

RHS beat North Miami 57-21 and Whitko 84-0. The 84-0 score against Whitko is the most lopsided possible margin in a wrestling dual.

“The kids are working hard,” RHS coach Clint Gard said. “The kids are wrestling hard. They

Alex Deming

don’t always wrestle great, and that’s OK, but they’re wrestling hard.

“And I’m sure every coach, maybe they’re looking at me and saying, ‘Duh, you dummy,’ but getting kids to compete hard nowadays is tough, and our kids are competing hard. They may not always compete smart or with great technique, but they're competing hard, and they’re wrestling hard, and they’re practicing hard.”

Ethan Holloway (113), Aaron Swango (126), Mitchell Shafer (138) Greyson Gard (145), Wade Shafer (152), Noah Swango (160), Alex Deming (182), Eli Swango (195), Brady Beck (220) and Marshall Fishback (HWT) all went 2-0 on the day.

Colin Weiand went 1-0 at 170.

Tyler Wolfe (106), Jadyn Geller (120) and Nathaniel Beck (132) all won a match.

The North Miami match was tied 12-12 when Gard won a 9-3 decision over Brayden Fennell in which Gard received two penalty points, including one for stalling.

Wade Shafer defeated Rhys Percy by injury default after Percy suffered an apparent left elbow injury.

North Miami’s Grant Wildermuth got a third period reversal to edge Kaleb Shaffer 4-3 at 170.

But Alex Deming won by fall in 3:15 over Austin Smith, and Eli Swango and Beck won by forfeit.

Fishback needed only 38 seconds to stick Zac Schori.

Spencer Flood pinned Wolfe in 29 seconds before Ethan Holloway pinned Aubrey Burns in 1:30.

Wolfe, Holloway, Geller, Aaron Swango, Nathaniel Beck, Deming and Eli Swango all won by forfeit against Whitko. The other seven matches ended in Zebras winning by fall.

The longest and most competitive of the seven matches contested was at 145, where Whitko’s Robert Werstler got a late reversal in regulation to tie the match 8-8 before Gard cinched in a finishing move with four seconds left in overtime.

“The biggest thing is you’re wrestling, you’re wrestling, you’re wrestling and then you stop,” coach Gard said of Greyson. “You wrestle, you wrestle and then you stop. So we’ve just got to be more fluid where we don’t have those pauses.”

Mitchell Shafer was down 3-0 before executing a side headlock and winning in 3:13 over Nathan Miller. Older brother Wade yielded the first takedown to Dean Boggs before getting an escape and a takedown and eventually putting Boggs away in 3:39.

“He set the kid up nice and hit that side headlock very, very well,” coach Gard said of Mitchell Shafer. “Mitchell, I think, improves every time he goes out there. But having very limited experience, he has to make up that with his athletic ability a little bit. He and Wade are very similar. The difference is – and I think Mitchell would agree with this – he’s not as competitive as Wade. He’s competitive, but the thing that makes Wade a little bit different … is he’s very, very competitive.”

Noah Swango beat Cody Adkins, who needed multiple timeouts for a bloody nose, in 2:39.

Weiand pinned Sam Lozier in 4:45 as he makes a bid for the 170 spot.

Brady Beck was winning 9-1 before finishing off Devin Ulshafer in 2:38.

Fishback’s improvement

Fishback got a near-fall at the end of the first period against Dalton Ousley to go up 4-0 and then immediately turned Ousley on his back with a half-nelson and got a fall nine seconds into the second period.

Fishback said he has lost 60 pounds. The most he has ever weighed is 315 at the start of his sophomore year. A junior, Fishback now weighs 255. He said he has added strength with his weight loss. His brother Dillon is his backup, and the brothers often spar. Marshall also said he has worked with his uncle, a former wrestler.

“Lost a lot of fat, gained a lot of muscle,” Fishback said. “I got a Wellness Center pass in town and hit the gym every day. … A lot of mass building, weight training, some cardio, not a lot.”

Fishback said it’s one of the hardest things he’s ever done.

“It took a lot of personal choices, dieting, making sure I had the motivation to get up every day and keep working,” Fishback said.

Fishback said he and Brady Beck wrestle each other every day in practice. Even though Brady Beck is two years younger, it’s often Beck teaching technique to Fishback.

Fishback also excels at speeding up the pace in his matches and not giving his opponents any chance to catch their breath.

“I don’t want the opponent to get the better of me at any point in the match,” Fishback said.

Needing technical improvements

RHS lost both matches in a three-way dual against Oak Hill and Cowan four days earlier. They had no practice Sunday, a light practice Monday and then a two-hour practice Tuesday where,. according to Gard, “we hit it hard.”

Then they had another practice Wednesday before traveling to Whitko.

“Technically, we’ve got to wrestle better, but we’ve also worked really hard this week,” coach Gard said. “So our kids were probably more tired than what I would like. And some of that’s mental. But we’ve got to get over that hump. We were a little flat.”

Still, coach Gard talks of improvement. He said the team does not make the same mistakes over and over and said that’s a good sign.

“If we can keep staying healthy and continue to practice and do what we’re doing, by the end of the year, we’re going to be where we need to be,” he said.


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