Knights varsity handles Clear Fork for first dual win

Knights varsity handles Clear Fork for first dual win

Image Credit: Justin Smith

The West Holmes High School varsity wrestling team ripped off four straight wins Friday, Dec. 30 and never looked back, posting a 43-27 victory over Clear Fork at West Holmes Middle School.

Knights senior heavyweight Elisha Baldridge set the tone with a fall win (2:59) to start off the dual. That was followed by three consecutive WHHS victories: freshman Peyton Martin (106 pounds) with a 13-2 major decision, senior Mason Taylor (113) with a fall at 1:38 and sophomore Macin Miller (120) with a fall at 3:47.

Those wins put the Knights up 22-0, and they never looked back.

“Is there a better way to start a dual than putting Elisha Baldridge out there first?” Knights coach Scott Vaughn said. “He set the tone for the dual. Peyton followed that up with a major decision over a very solid 106. Mason Taylor dominated his match before putting it away with a pin, and Macin Miller did the same with a workmanlike match before pinning his opponent.”

The Knights and Colts split the next six matches as freshman Louden Dixon (138), junior Blake Strouse (144) and senior Blake Norman (157) all picked up wins for WHHS. Dixon stopped his opponent at 4:06, Strouse also scored a pin (3:28) and Norman earned an 11-6 decision in a battle royale. Junior Grant Miller (215) closed out the meet with a fall win at 1:07.

“It was nice having Louden back, and he is looking like himself after being very sick last week,” Vaughn said. “That was a very good kid he pinned. Blake Strouse looked great on his way to a pin. Blake Norman had a nerve-racking, back-and-forth match, and Grant closed it out with a solid match.”

Strouse stood out to Vaughn as the junior was lauded with the Knights Varsity Wrestler of the Meet Award.

“That arguably was Blake’s best match of the season,” Vaughn said. “It was a back-and-forth match, but towards the end, Blake got control of the match and finished it with a pin. His movement and positioning was better, and it was all clicking for him. I am hoping that he takes this momentum and keeps working towards his limitless potential.”

The Knights improved to 1-1 in dual meets with the win. After a disappointing dual meet loss to rival Waynedale a week earlier, Vaughn was much happier with his team’s performance against the Colts.

“Clear Fork always has a tough team,” he said. “We talked about that as a team this week. This is not a team that will back down. They showed that in the matches tonight. The team (West Holmes) that showed up tonight was much closer to the team that I believe this team can be. I attribute that to a much better week of practice. They were more detail-oriented. They focused on their intensity and sealed the deal tonight. That all went a long way to a good performance under the lights.”

Knights middle school scraps hard but falls
to Colts

The West Holmes Middle School wrestling team fought the good fight when it tangled with Clear Fork on its home mat on Friday, Dec. 30 but fell 48-34 to the Colts.

The loss dropped WHMS to 1-6 in dual meets this season.

“There were a lot of positives and negatives to take away from the dual,” Knights coach Justin Wilcox said. “There were a lot of challenges heading into this dual, but that does not change the fact that it was a winnable dual. I know we had a lot of kids out for unforeseen circumstances. I also know that the kids that were out were out through no fault of their own. However, I still believe it was a winnable dual. It always stings losing a winnable dual.”

Seventh-graders Liam Angle (80) and Oliver Roberts (86) both received forfeit wins to put the Knights up 12-0 to open the dual. The Colts then reeled off two straight wins to tie the team score. Ian Daugherty (eighth grade, 110) put the Knights ahead 15-12 after a decision win, but that was the last time WHMS had the lead.

The Knights only won four of the next 10 matches, giving up three forfeits during the stretch. Oliver Hiller (seventh, 128) and Christopher Williams (eighth, 134) both scored fall wins while Cohen Wilson (eighth, 172) and Maddax Graham (eighth, 205) pocketed a major decision and a decision win, respectively.

Wilcox was pleased with his team’s effort despite the loss.

“Grady Jones went out and gave his best effort,” he said. “The same can be said for Bronson Myers. Ian wrestled a great match and squeaked out a victory against a good wrestler. Noah Grassbaugh did his best but wrestled someone who was more technical than he was. Hiller had a good night and was able to get a much-needed pin for the team. Williams finally got out and wrestled a great match with another fall win for the team. Easton Ross unfortunately faced a very strong kid. Cohen looked great tonight and scored a lot of points on his way to a win. Maddax also looked great at 205 today, winning his match as well.”

The Knights will compete this weekend at the two-day 47th WABC Kaderly Classic Tournament at Waynedale High School. They finished fifth out of 15 teams in last year’s tournament.

High school varsity

What: Mustangs Super Duals

Where: Claymont High School in Uhrichsville

When: Saturday at 10 a.m.

Participating teams: Sandy Valley, Minerva, Claymont and West Holmes

Competition format: duals

The 2022 results: second of six teams, 4-1 — West Holmes at 72, Sandy Valley at 7; West Holmes at 63, Claymont at 13; Minerva at 40, West Holmes at 28; West Holmes at 58, Bloom-Carroll at 19; and West Holmes at 48, Solon at 25.

Elementary Attack Team schedule

What: OYWA Mid-Ohio Division Duals

When: Sunday at 9 a.m.

Where: Waynedale High School in Apple Creek

Participating teams: Attack Team versus Ontario at 9 a.m., Smithville at 10 a.m. and Waynedale at 11 a.m.

Competition format: duals

The 2022 results: Attack Team at 109, Smithville at 30; Waynedale at 90, Attack Team at 46; and did not wrestle Ontario.