GOSHEN — When its not broken, don’t fix it.
An aggressive approach instituted by Goshen wrestling head coach Jim Pickard heading into the Wawasee matchup Thursday night profited the Redskins seven pins and a whole lot of momentum in a 57-15 victory.
A pin in just 20 seconds by Josh Bustos over Ronny Shortt in the opening 126-pound matchup was just what Pickard ordered, whose team was dominated by Elkhart Memorial just two days ago. Goshen had two other pins come within the first minute of a matchup, with Travis Pickard taking care of Zach Ford in 52 seconds at 152 and an impressive 12-second whiplash by Hayden Schmucker over Rodrigo Hernandez at 285.
“We were more aggressive,” Pickard said. “Against Memorial, we got more aggressive. We weren’t there, we lost to a better team, but we got more aggressive. Today we stayed aggressive.
“I told the kids, I can’t teach heart. But if you go out and battle, good things happen eventually.”
Pickard was just as happy with a pair of swing matches, that while not affecting the bottom line of the dual, still had its merit.
A gutty performance by Christian Horton at 138 had the Goshen freshman rally to beat Wawasee junior Michael Pena, 3-1, in overtime. With 20 seconds left in the third period, Horton registered an escape to tie the match. After a lengthy sparring session, Horton took a shot and got Pena to the ground for the takedown and the two points.
At 220 pounds, Wawasee’s Chad Eppley looked like he would cruise to a big win over Tyler Beasy. Leading 10-1 in the second period, Eppley nearly had Beasy pinned twice, but Beasy rallied with a pair of takedowns and barely missed a pin as the clock ran out in the second period.
After Eppley was assessed a pair of unsportsmanlike penalties to pull the score to 13-12 Eppley, Beasy gave up a penalty point of his own and ran out of time. Both coaches had their own take on the importance of that match.
“That situation you hate to see, Eppley leading 10-1 and then all of a sudden he’s nearly pinned and going into a third period barely ahead,” said Wawasee head coach Paul Meyer. “You look at that match, with how it played out, and add that to the match that (Nick) Rozow had at 160 and (Doug) Corl had at 132, we just can’t walk into mistakes like they did. Eppley got out of his, Rozow and Corl didn’t.”
Pickard added, “Our biggest thing is to work harder in the room and just get after people. They have some good kids over there. They battled, and their younger kids battled. You can’t teach heart and desire. I can deal with a loss as long as you battle and get after people.”
Wawasee scored a pair of pins to go with Eppley’s three points. Brian Clark ended Goshen’s 42 unanswered points to open the night with a pin of Derek Paz at 3:40 of the 195-pound match. Tristan Ponsler held firm control of his 113-pound pin at 3:25 of Corbin Harrison.
Goshen’s dominance had Wawasee score just 10 technique points in the 57 team points Goshen racked up. Five of Goshen’s seven pins came on a clean slate where Goshen allowed no matchup points to Wawasee wrestlers.
Also scoring pins for Goshen (10-3, 1-2 NLC) were Mr. Wilcher over Harvey Lopez at 120, Victor Flores over Corl at 132, Evan Smith over Stephen Possell at 170 and Ramiro Hernandez over Devann Lilly at 195.
Scotty Huff beat Josh Matthews, 6-0, at 106 and John Treshaw took care of Rozow, 6-3, at 160.
Wawasee (7-5, 0-2 NLC) will move to the weekend and another trip to the Region for Saturday’s Merrillville Duals. The Warriors have a very tough draw, facing Merrillville, Penn and Kankakee Valley in pool duals. This is the third weekend of four Supers in a row for the Warriors, which will face 23 teams by the time the Wawasee December Duals conclude on Dec. 15.
“To be the best, you have to beat the best, and that’s the message I have to get into their heads,” Meyer said of the upcoming weekend in the 219. “They have to step into the circle and tie their shoes just like I do. I have to go to war and make them earn everything. We are going to see some teams I certainly think have great programs traditionally, we just have to go in there thinking we can beat them.”