Wrestlers Top Maconaquah

Posted on December 5, 2019 in Winter Sports, Wrestling

By Chuck Landis – clandis@chronicle-tribune.com

CONVERSE — Oak Hill, with a young wrestling team, appeared vulnerable halfway through Tuesday evening’s home-opening meet against neighboring rival Maconaquah.

The Braves started off with back-to-back wins and led 19-13 after seven weight classes. Then, the Golden Eagles asserted themselves, winning the last seven matches and pulled away 47-19 for their 46th-consecutive dual meet victory.

“I thought we wrestled well and I’ll give our team a B-plus,” Oak Hill coach Andrew King said of the Eagles’ performance. “A little bit above average and we’ve got room for improvement.”

Maconaquah lost its second-straight dual meet to a state-ranked opponent according to indianamat.com, having debuted with a loss against Wabash. The Eagles are ranked third in Class 2A and the Apaches are No. 6 in Class A.

“There were some real good bouts at the beginning and then (Oak Hill) hit some of their better guys and had good matchups on us,” Maconaquah coach Bob Freije said. “We’ve wrestled two ranked teams on back-to-back weekends so we know what progressions we need to work on and we’ll keep working at it.”

Yet, King is having none of the lofty state ranking — at least not yet. After fielding one of its most successful teams ever last winter, the Eagles start anew with just two seniors filling the 14 weight classes, and heavyweight Isaiah Drake is wrestling for the first time.

“You can’t believe the rankings at all if they got us ranked at No. 3,” King said. “We can be, but it takes a lot of time to get there.”

The meet started promisingly for Maconaquah when Mason Taylor pinned Oak Hill’s Wyatt Strange just 2:40 into the 182-pound match and then Lane Wagner recorded a 10-1 major decision over Silas Jones at 195. Strange and Jones were among three freshmen competing for Oak Hill, with Austin Lawrence (a winner at 126 pounds) the third.

Fred Durben, the Eagles’ only senior letterman, was next and pinned the Braves’ Corey Jones at 1:31 of the 220-pound match. The partisan Oak Hill crowd kicked up its enthusiasm to another level when Drake grappled with Alex Ringeisen in a highly entertaining heavweight match that Drake won 12-7 in overtime.

Ringeisen scored a two-point takedown of Drake in the final 10 seconds of regulation, only to have Drake wiggle out for a 1-point escape and tie the match 7-all as the buzzer sounded.

“Heavyweights going to overtime is always exciting,” King said. “Drake brings great enthusiasm … and he’s going to get better and better and better.”

Peyton Bowland’s 11-0 major decision of Maconaquah’s Tyler Stapleton at 106 pounds put the Eagles on top 13-10 but then the Braves followed with their final two match wins. One was Macie Green by forfeit at 113 pounds, and Blake Kinney wrestled up and scored a 5-2 decision over the Eagles’ Julian Perez at 120.

“Kinney normally wrestles at 113 and moved up to 120 and won that match,” Freije said. “Mason Taylor with a pin starting off at 182 and Lane Wagner following up with a win at 195, those were key wins for us.”

Among the Oak Hill winners to close out the meet were 2019 state finalist Harper Dedman and semistate qualifier Aidan Hardcastle.

Dedman medaled with a seventh-place finish at state in the 113-pound class and moved three rungs Tuesday to post an 18-2 major decision over the Braves’ Cory Bockover. Hardcastle grew six inches over the summer, precipitating a five-class jump to 152 pounds, where he pinned the Braves’ Haydon Chance in 43 seconds.

“I think they’re solid where they’re at it and won’t change their dynamics,” King said of Dedman and Hardcastle.

Other Oak Hill winners were Brody Arthur at 138 pounds (10-2 major decision); Tyler Miller at 145 (pin in 1:16), and Jett Thompson at 170 (10-0 major decision). JC Hernandez won at 160 by forfeit.

Maconaquah hosts its super duals invitational meet Saturday and the field will include five girls’ teams competing in a separate tournament.

“We’ll keep on striving to get better going into our tournament this weekend and try to win it,” Freije said.

Oak Hill has another dual meet Thursday at Northfield before competing in the Elwood Super 8 on Saturday.

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