By Nick Goralczyk
AKRON – It was a rivalry renewed Wednesday night at Tippecanoe Valley High School as the Valley wrestling team took to the mat against Three Rivers Conference foe Rochester. Despite a few good showings from the Vikings, the Zebras maintained on track for a TRC title with a 51-19 win.
“I told the guys we were going to give (Rochester) a match, and I believe we did that,” explained Valley head coach Kyler Kearby. “Did every outcome go the way we wanted? No. But we tried to put ourselves in the best position to win some from (Rochester) which is why we had a few lineup changes tonight.”
The match started in the 220-pound class with Rochester’s Brady Beck taking a 7-2 decision over Bazle Owens. The Zebras followed that up with a win by fall for Marshall Fishback over Ian Becker in the heavyweight class. That was the first of five pins on the night by Rochester. Also picking up wins by fall for the Zebras were Joey Spencer (120), Wade Shafer (152), Kaleb Shaffer (170) and Eli Swango (195).
“The second half of the season doesn’t get easier, it gets tougher,” Kearby stated. “I told the guys that because they need to figure out if they are ready for what’s coming up in conference and sectional.”
The wins that Valley did pick up in Wednesday’s match were decisive. The wins for the Vikings began with Galvin Shambaugh at 106. The sophomore pinned Tyler Wolfe in the second period to get Valley on the board. Drake Montelongo was the next Viking to earn points for the home team as he took a 9-2 decision over Aaron Swango at 126. Jacob Manns was a winner by fall at 138 for Valley, defeating Nathaniel Beck. The last Valley victory of the evening came by way of major decision, a 12-2 win for Brandon Hammer over Alex Deming.
“The guys that won for us,” Kearby stated, “They did as expected. They worked their stuff. It will be a confidence booster for them as we move forward, especially for Jake Manns. (Manns) is a kid that has come a long way and for him to get a big pin against Rochester is good for him individually. And (Manns) isn’t the only one, but he’s come a long way and he’s turning it on at the right time of the season.”
One of the most interesting bouts of the night happened at 160 pounds with Noah Swango earning the win over Jadyn Virgil. Virgil faced a 16-8 deficit with a minute left in the third period before a reversal and near fall put the freshman down only 16-13. Swango would regain control and closed out Virgil for a 20-14 decision.
Rochester’s other victories came at 145 with Greyson Gard earning a 6-2 decision over Branson McBrier and the Zebras also accepted forfeits at 113 and 132.
In the evening’s junior varsity matches Rochester’s Parker Wallace (145) and Joel Hensley (170) were both winners by fall over Jacob Kats and Noah England, respectively.
The Vikings and Zebras will cross paths again next weekend at the Three Rivers Conference Championships.