ROCHESTER – It’s two days before Christmas but it felt like the end of January. In an impressive collection of talent just ahead of the break, wrestlers from all over the area descended upon Rochester Wednesday for the John McKee Invite. Among the 16 teams were Triton and Tippecanoe Valley, which had partial squads on display.
The sectional-like atmosphere had the lightweights in the main arena, the heavyweights in the more practice-like annex gym. The 16-wrestler weight classes did move along, however, like a sectional tournament pace, giving the feel of a bigger tournament rather than a grinder super dual. That seemed to suit Triton head coach Ron Brown, who didn’t bring his entire squad to the Invite, but wanted some of his heavy hitters to get in some work before the State Invite in two weeks.
Triton would place three in semi-final matches, with Gage Waddle breaking through to the finals. Waddle used a decision and a pin to reach the championship match of the 170-pound class. Against Fairfield’s Jake Krause in the final, Waddle would suffer his first defeat in 22 matches after a 5-2 decision.
Malachi Greene moved to 20-2 on the season with a third-place finish in the 120-pound division. After losing to Lafayette Jefferson’s Jon Anderson in the semifinals, Greene rallied to pin Caston’s James Keil at 1:47, the third pin Greene registered on the day.
Nick Harker went 2-2 to place fourth in the 152-pound class.
Adonic Salinas was sixth in the 126-pound class, and the trio of Lee Mullet, James Snyder and John Salinas were all eighth in their respective classes.
“The kids are doing pretty much what I thought we would do,” stated Brown. “This is a great barometer to show us where we would be in a sectional setting, even a regional setting with some teams like Plymouth and Rochester here. We don’t have everyone here, but there are a few we are looking to see how they do.”
Tippecanoe Valley had three wrestlers crack the top eight Saturday.
Josh Back would end up fourth overall in the 195-pound class after an impressive start to his day. Back would pin both Sheldon Rolston of Fairfield and Collin Silvers of Maconaquah before falling to eventual champion Tanner Collins of Jeff in the semis. Back (12-7) would lose by decision, 11-4, to Lane Eckrote of North Miami in the third-place match.
After losing to Matt Potthoff of Knox in the first round, Viking 132-pounder Chevy Teeter reversed course and won his final four matches, including a pin of Wyatt Dyson of North Miami in the fifth-place match. Teeter moves his personal mark to 12-8 on the year with the 4-1 day.
Mariah Owens locked up eighth place in the 113-pound card, going 1-3 in matches.
Triton finished with 92 points to finish tenth among the team standings, Valley at 44 points was 16th. Jeff won the tournament with a resounding 293 points with runner-up Plymouth well back at 188 points.
John McKee Invitational Team Standings
1. Lafayette Jeff 293.0
2. Plymouth 188.0
3. Fairfield 183.5
4. NorthWood 169.0
5. Rochester 138.5
5. South Bend Clay 138.5
7. Manchester 108.0
8. Knox 107.0
9. South Bend St. Joseph’s 99.0
10. Triton 92.0
11. Caston 81.0
12. Maconaquah 69.0
13. North Miami 67.0
14. Rensselaer Central 60.0
15. Culver Community 47.0
16. Tippecanoe Valley 44.0