SYRACUSE – In recent years, Goshen has dominated Wawasee in the Northern Lakes Conference dual season. Thursday night was no different on the scoreboard, a 61-10 final, but the Redskins didn’t win the same way it has become accustomed to in recent vintage.
Just a year ago with a Wawasee team loaded with experience, Goshen rolled up seven pins and a whole lot of gusto in a 42-point victory. Fast forward 370 days, with just 10 wrestlers Wawasee made Goshen work for just three pins and a tech fall.
“I was really, really surprised tonight mostly because of the commitment coach (Jim) Pickard has with this Goshen program with pinning,” said Wawasee head coach Paul Meyer. “It’s kind of a two-way street in regards with how Goshen is.
“Our kids are about fight, they don’t want to be pinned. We are encouraging each other to fight, to keep battling. But some of our kids just don’t have the smarts to get pins yet. The muscle memory to retain. It is going to just have to come with time. Goshen doesn’t look as strong as in years past, but they still held us to just two wins.”
Goshen would get its pins, led by a 57-second map slap for 160-pounder Miguel Navarro over Jeremiah Dilley. At 182, Evan Smith was well on his way to a huge victory, leading 14-0 over James Hobbick in the second period, before registering a pin with 21 seconds left in the period. Goshen’s third pin happened at the 1:22 mark of the first period in the 126-pound dual between Mr. Wilcher and Harvey Lopez.
Goshen’s Josh Bustos at 138 also looked very strong and commanded a 16-0 tech fall over Zac McKee.
The Redskins earned a 10-2 major decision win from Scotty Huff against Josh Matthews at 113 and another major decision at 132 where Joel Byler outlasted Logan Bowers 9-1.
John Trenshaw scored takedowns in the first and second period to build a 5-0 eventual win over Stephen Possell in the 170 match and Victor Flores closed out the night with a 13-6 slugfest over Michael Pena at 145.
Wawasee opened the night with a little unexpected oomph, watching Zach Ford command the 152-pound match with a near fall in the second period that turned into an eventual pin on Christian Horton. Ford’s toughness caught Meyer a tad off-guard, but pleased just the same.
“Zach has really blossomed this year,” Meyer said of his junior. “It’s the mat sense and controlling what he can do. He is gaining confidence in himself. That is going to help him big time going forward.”
Tristin Ponsler provided the other Wawasee mat win, 16-5, in the 120-pound card against Logan Maynard. Ponsler looked capable of scoring a pair of pins in the first period, but Maynard kept active enough on the mat to avoid the whistle.
Goshen earned forfeits with Ramiro Hernandez at 195, Derek Paz at 220, Jose Montanez at 285 and Jaron Katzer at 106.
For Meyer, the ability to battle through matches without the results of constant pinfalls was a plus, notably for his lineup that had just one senior in Pena and one junior in Ford.
“It’s kind of intimidating for our kids when they go to weigh in and they see 50 Goshen kids there to weigh in,” Meyer stated. “But we have to get them to understand they put their shoes on just like you do. They have to go out and they have to battle you. But it is tough. We don’t have some of the kids at Wawasee that have the leadership and experience like the kids from Goshen do. All I really want our kids to do right now is battle.”
In the one JV matchup at 126 pounds, Skylar Rodriguez of Goshen put together a good performance, ending in a pin of Wawasee’s Marcos Mejia.
Wawasee will hit the road for the Tom Cameron Invite at Merrillville High School this Saturday morning.