Wildcat grapplers peaking at correct time
By John Estridge, Sports Editor
Franklin County wrestling continues to improve with the evidence in the performances.
Within the last several days, several wrestlers performed well at the two-day Spartan Classic, defeated Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference Greensburg in a dual meet and went undefeated in the two-day annual Wayne County Wrestling Tournament held at Northeastern, winning the trophy.
Wayne County Tournament
Franklin County went undefeated in the annual Wayne County Wrestling Tournament held Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-5.
The Wildcats opened up with New Castle in the first round on Friday, Jan. 4. The Wildcats defeated the Trojans 59-10.
Wildcats winning by forfeits included: Andrew Merritt (106), Evan Seal (113), Adam Crouch (138), Grant Suding (160), Trent Robertson (170), Gage Tucker (182) and Levi Sanders (220).
Winning matches on the mat for FC were Jacob Lee (126) via a pin in 0:53; Tommy Ratz (132) with a pin in 3:01; and Austin Bohman (145) with a 9-5 decision.
In the second round on Friday, the Wildcats defeated Tri High 65-18.
Winning via forfeit for FC were Tucker (182), Robertson (170) and Crouch (138).
Winning on the mat for FC were: Merritt (106), a technical fall at 18-2; Seal (113), a pin in the first period; Garrett Condo (120), a pin in :35; Lee (126), a pin in the first period; Ratz (132), a pin at 1:44; Austin Bohman (145) pin at 2:27; Jordan Eversole, a pin in the second period; and Suding (160), a pin at 1:24.
In the final round on Friday, Franklin County defeated Winchester 53-22.
Winning by forfeit for FC were: Seal (113), Ratz (126) and Crouch (138). Winning on the mat for FC were: Merritt (106) with a pin in 20 seconds; Condo (120) with a pin in 1:46; Lee (126) major decision 10-2; Bohman (145) pin in 5:47; Suding (160) major decision 17-5; Robertson (170) with a pin in 52 seconds; and Tucker (182) with an 18-12 decision.
Saturday's first round was against host Northeastern. FC defeated the host school 48-30. Winning by forfeit for FC were Merritt (106) Condo (120), Lee (126), Bohman (145), Jordan Eversole (152), Suding (160) and Robertson (170).
Winning on the mat was Crouch (138) with a pin in 2:55.
In the second round on Saturday, FC defeated Hagerstown 54-30. Winning via forfeit for FC were: Condo (120) and Bohman (145).
Winning on the mat for the Wildcats were: Merritt (106) with a pin in 3:58, Seal (113) with a pin in 1:14, Lee (126) with a pin in 25 seconds; Crouch (138) with a pin in 26 seconds; Eversole (152) with a pin in 29 seconds; Suding (160) with a pin in 1:39; and Robertson with a pin in 55 seconds.
Union County was the opponent in the third round on Saturday. FC defeated the Patriots 57-18. Winning by forfeit for the Wildcats were: Merritt (106), Seal (112), Condo (120), Eversole (152) and Sanders (220).
Winning on the mat for FC were: Lee (126) with a pin in 2:44; Ratz (132) with a pin in 33 seconds; Crouch (138) with a pin in 32 seconds; Bohman (145) with an 8-6 decision; and Suding (160) with a pin in 2:00.
The next to last round on Saturday was a 52-13 victory over Richmond.
Winning via the forfeit for the Wildcats were: Condo (120) and Ratz (132). Several Wildcats won on the mat. Among that group were: Seal (113) with a pin in 55 seconds; Lee with a major decision with a score of 11-1; Crouch (138) with a pin in 3:30; Bohman (145) with a pin in 2:33; Suding (160) with a pin in 1:36; Robertson (170) with a pin in 23 seconds; and Tucker (182) with a pin in 59 seconds.
Finally, on Saturday, the Wildcats defeated Cambridge City Lincoln 40-39.
Seal (113) won his weight class by a forfeit with the six points putting the Wildcats in the lead and winning the match.
Others who won by forfeit include: Merritt (106), Eversole (152) and Suding (160). Winning on the mat for the Wildcats were: Condo (120) with a pin in 17 seconds; Lee (126) with a pin in 4:35; and Crouch (138) with a pin in 3:02.
Franklin County benefitted with several forfeits in different weight classes, but the Wildcats also turned in good performances on the mat against their EIAC foe, winning 60-18.
Winning via forfeit were: Merritt (103), Condo (120), Lee (126), Eric Schwab (152), Suding (160) and Robertson (170).
Winning on the mat for FC were: Seal (113) with a pin in 1:20; Ratz (132) with a pin in 1:13; Crouch (138) with a pin in 3:01; Ben Stern (145) with a pin in just 34 seconds; and Sanders with a quick pin in 16 seconds.
Four FC wrestlers stepped forward to place at the excellent annual Spartan Classic held in the Spartan Bowl on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-5.
As a team, the Wildcats finished 11th out of 32 teams with a score of 116.5. Indianapolis Roncalli won the tournament with 337 points. The top 10 included: 2. Ft. Wayne Snider 177; 3. New Palestine 162.5; 4. Greenfield-Central 160.5; 5. Shenandoah 154; 6. East Noble 142; 7. Fishers 134.5; 8. Southern Wells 128; 9. Charlestown 126; and 10. Triton Central 117.
Local teams which placed include: 15. Connersville 98; 19. Richmond 80.5; 20. Hagerstown 80; 22. Northeastern 74; 25. Rushville 65; 29. Union County 41; and 32. Greensburg 20.
Franklin County had four wrestlers place in the top eight of their respective weight classes.
Grant Suding (160) came one match shy of winning the championship in that weight class.
He was pinned in 4:52 by Hayden Lohrey of Shenandoah in the championship round.
Getting there, Suding defeated Deke Brown of Charlestown in a major decision, 13-2; Jed Perry of Southern Wells with a 14-9 decision, pinned Darin Johnson of New Palestine in 3:28, and scored a 6-1 decision over Danville’s Chandler Schubert to get into the championship round.
Coming in fourth with an excellent performance was Adam Crouch (138). Crouch was upset in his first match of the tournament by Shelbyville’s Jordan Vinson 7-5 and then had to enter the exhaustive wrestle-backs. He was able to win six matches in the two-day tournament before losing to Nick Walsh of Knights-town. Walsh was able to pin Crouch in 1:40.
In action up to the third-place match, Crouch won his second match with a 9-7 decision and then pinned his next four opponents in times of 34 seconds, 3:32, 4:33 and 3:40 before gaining a 9-2 decision over Carson Alfrey of Triton Central to enter into the match for third and fourth places.
Also finishing fourth for the Wildcats was freshman Andrew Merritt at 106.
He lost out in the third-place match in an 8-1 decision to Aiden Sprague of East Noble.
In the winner’s bracket, Merritt moved on via a forfeit in the first round, pinned TJ Fritz of Daleville in 3:43 and recorded a major decision, 20-7, over Shelbyville’s Jed Tillson before falling to Richmond’s Jake Necessary in another major decision 12-3.
In the wrestle backs, Merritt won via a major decision over Stefan Vitelb of Valparaiso, 12-4 to enter into the third-place match.
The final Wildcat to reach a podium was Garrett Condo (120).
He placed seventh.
Condo lost in the Classic’s opening round to Brayden Lowery of Roncalli in a 1:05 pin.
Lowery won the 120-pound championship.
Condo defeated Beech Grove’s Matthew Pettigrew with a pin in 53 seconds, pinned Eastern’s Nathan Teusch in 1:21 and then had a 7-2 decision over Dylan Parodi of Fishers.
However, Grant Owens of East Noble won a narrow 6-5 decision over Condo.
Condo then pinned Omar Omeis of Greenfield in 1:11 to take seventh.
FC coach Cody Phillips said at this time in the season, mat time is essential as the coaches have taught all there is to teach.
“Especially right now mat time is key,” Phillips said. “Kids are in the best shape they’re going to be in. You can tweak a little bit here and there but there’s not much you’re going to teach right now at this point of the season that’s going to make that much of a difference.
“You just want to get as much mat time as you can,” he continued. “And get ready for the end of January (the playoffs leading up to the state finals).
The conference meet is Saturday, Jan. 12 at Lawrenceburg.
Sectionals are slated for Jan. 26 at South Dearborn High School with regionals one week later at Richmond. The individual semistate is at New Castle Saturday, Feb. 9 with the state finals scheduled in Indianapolis for Friday night, Feb. 15 and Saturday, Feb. 16.