WARSAW – Nobody enjoys losing, especially to a conference rival at home. But, there were peaks in the words of Warsaw wrestling head coach Kris Hueber Tuesday night that showed there were roots growing inside of a 52-27 loss to Plymouth.
“We’ve got a whole lot of inexperienced guys, especially in our upper weights,” began Hueber. “When you are dealing with being physically outmatched at times, and then you add the inexperience to it, it can be pretty brutal. They are making progress, and haven’t backed down from the challenge, and with some of the teams we’ve gone up against, they could have. I’m happy with the progress that they are making.
“Realistically, we are dealing with up to 11 spots in our lineup that have little to no varsity experience.”
Mat experience was what Hueber kept going back to, and a seasoned Plymouth squad provided some valuable lessons. After Kyle Hatch opened the night for Warsaw at 160 pounds, almost toying with Blake Davis before closing out a pin at 1:59, the Tigers would go four duals without scoring a mat point, and then another four duals before scoring a head-to-head win.
Plymouth’s Micah Calhoun and Colten Schuler both scored first-round pins over Brady Stout and Grayson Drudge, then Nate LaFree got a second round fall on Jesus Gomez. All three falls came without Warsaw scoring a point in combat. Dillon Estepp would finally break the string, getting a pair of second-period escapes in the heavyweight tilt with Graham Chapman, but the Plymouth man-child broke through in the final two minutes, scoring a takedown and near fall, making a 4-2 lead an eventual 10-2 major decision over Estepp.
Warsaw claimed a pair of forfeits in favor of Isaiah Owens and Gustavo Cartegena in the lightweights, making the team score as close as it would be heading into the second half at 28-18 Pilgrims.
Warsaw found a pair of wins from Jose Grimmett at 132 and Christian Taylor at 138. Grimmett was in total control of his matchup against Hardy Chapman, scoring a pair of near falls in the first period, then using his fourth takedown to control and eventually get the mat slap at 5:55. Taylor got himself a 7-3 decision over Aaron Milton, using an escape and takedown in the second period to run out to a four-point lead and not letting Milton turn him over in the final period to secure the three points.
Plymouth got back-to-back pins from Zane DeVault and Jordan Howard over brothers Brock and Riley Hogenson, and saw the feat repeat to close the night with Graham Calhoun and Gavin Banks pinning Max Bradley and Danny Zamora.
“We’re taking baby steps,” Hueber said. “Obviously, we’re not happy taking a loss tonight in the conference match. But Plymouth is likely going to contend for the conference championship. I thought we fought against one of the best.”
The night saw seniors Hatch, Taylor, Stout, Gomez and Riley Hogenson all wrestle their final home matches.
The JV matches had Plymouth win four of the six by pinfall. Warsaw’s two wins came from Andrew Owens in a 22-7 tech fall over Israel Martinez and Gavin Truex got a pin over Cody Filson. Tanner Medina, Bo Meadors, Antony Hernandez and Matthew Sharp all got pin victories for the Pilgrims.
Warsaw drops to 8-9 overall in dual contests and 0-3 in the NLC. Up next for the Tigers is entry in Saturday’s Northridge Raider Super Duals then a couple weeks off before heading to the Cave to compete in the Al Smith Invite hosted by Mishawaka the 29th and 30th of this month.
“Northridge will give us two conference matches, and that will give us some more experience with familiar competition,” Hueber said, where Warsaw will see NorthWood and Northridge among the lot. “Of those 11 spots I mentioned before, most are first-time wrestlers or only have a little middle school experience. So in the room, these next couple of weeks will be big for them. From going back to our home tournament (in November) to here, to this weekend at Northridge and then Mishawaka, this is going to be an important stretch to continue that progress.”