GOSHEN — Regardless of what happens with the Wawasee wrestling team the rest of the season, the Warriors are going to wish they had a second chance at wrestling Goshen. The RedHawks welcomed in their rivals Thursday night for a Northern Lakes Conference meet and escaped with a 36-34 victory following a very competitive match between the two squads.
Goshen won the first bout of the evening as Rene Gutierrez picked up an 11-5 decision over Jeremiah Ponsler at 160. The RedHawks would not hold the lead again until late in the match. Xavier Ortiz (170 pounds), Alex Castro (195) and Jeremiah Dilley (220) all were winners by fall for the Warriors in three of the next four matches. Those wins built up an 18-6 lead for Wawasee. But Goshen was ready to make its move.
Erik Contreras pinned Elisha Tipping at 285 to give the RedHawks six crucial points in what felt like a turning point in the match for the home team. That was followed up by another Goshen pin, this time by Fernando Flores at 106 over Ricardo Romo. That win left things knotted 18-18 with seven classes done and seven still to go.
Wawasee’s Garrett Stuckman picked up a 17-1 tech fall at 113 to put the Warriors up 23-18. That lead grew to 26-18 after Braxton Alexander’s 5-3 decision at 120. Enrique Flores got Goshen’s bench fired up with a pin of Ashle Luttrell in just 21 seconds to bring the RedHawks within two at 26-24. Isiah Fourote swung momentum back towards Wawasee after he trailed 2-0 for virtually the entirety of his match at 132 against Colin Fletcher. But a late reversal gave Fourote life and he would eventually win 6-2 in overtime and give the Warriors a 29-24 cushion.
Staring at a 29-24 deficit, the RedHawks needed big time performances and they got them. Noah Cauette pinned Logan Baugh at 138 to give Goshen its first lead since the opening match at 30-29. That was followed up by a pin from Noah Shively at 145. Shively’s pin put Wawasee in a 36-29 hole, clinching the win for the RedHawks. Wawasee’s Raymon Torres won the evening’s final match with a tech fall, 20-5.
Wawasee and Goshen each won seven matches Thursday night but the Warriors were not tough enough to get the win, according to head coach Frank Bumgardner
“We didn’t wrestle Warrior tough, we just didn’t,” explained Bumgardner. “What I meant by that is we just didn’t wrestle our style, we wrestled their style and it was still a close dual. We just fed into their M.O. We weren’t stubborn enough to win the dual.
“We did what we expected in winning certain weights. We knew, at the lower weights, there would be some matchups and some shifting around. That’s exactly what happened, but you can’t give up that many bonus points. You lose seven matches, five of them by pin, that’s not good. We’re not going to win many duals that way.”
Bumgardner mentioned his team’s stubbornness, or lack thereof, several times after the meet. On the other side of the mat, Goshen’s Jim Pickard did not think his team did quite enough to win either.
“Actually, we were not stubborn enough,” said Pickard, who earned his 399th career win Thursday night. “We gave it away. We had two guys winning that dived at the end and lost matches. Wawasee wrestled great, not taking away from them, but it should not have been that close. We had at least two matches that we should’ve won, I felt, that would’ve put some more distance in the score. But, that’s part of wrestling.”
Goshen improves to 2-1 in the NLC while Wawasee sits at 1-1 in the conference and 11-4 overall. The Warriors will wrestle this Saturday at the Fort Wayne Luers Invite and return to NLC action next Thursday at home against Concord for senior night.