Saturday was a day of firsts for the Northview Knights' wrestling program. And they showed some talented teams that their program is on the upswing.
Northview garnered their best team showing ever at the two-day Martinsville Holiday Classic wrestling tournament, placing seventh out of 16 teams with 123 points.
Also included in their best ever team showing was their first ever titlist in Austin Staley and a second place from Jeremiah Allen. The pair were also the first Knights to ever make the finals according to coach Don Bryan. "Overall I'm really pleased with the way we competed. We only had 12 of our 14 wrestlers today and if you add in a couple of points here and there we could have been as high as fourth."
The Knights were led by Staley at 130-pounds who ripped through his competition for a 4-0 record over two days. Staley capped off his title with an overtime decision over top-seeded Joel Jeffries of Martinsville, 5-3. The win avenged a 3-1 loss to Jeffries that Staley received at the Bo Henry Classic last week. The win also gives Staley an 18-2 mark for the season.
Sophomore 171-pounder Allen came in as the fifth seed for the tournament and according to Bryan was a nice surprise.
Allen passed a second round test against Corydon's David Terhune who was unbeaten coming into the tournament. Allen pinned him before eventually losing in the final to take second place overall.
The Knights also got a fourth place finish on the second day from Doug Porter who lost only to Martinsville's Marc Bennett who won the 160-pound title on Saturday. The title was Bennett's third Holiday Classic title in his career.
Porter finished the tourney with a win over Jennings County's Tommy Franks. "I think that is the best that Doug (Porter) has wrestled all the way through this season," commented Bryan.
At 189, Justin Wilson came into the meet seeded sixth with a 9-4 record after earning a third place finish at the Bo Henry Classic in Bloomington last week. Wilson beat Josh Garrett of Martinsville before a decision over Castle's Joe Dillman. A loss to eventual champion Chad Hinshaw from Monrovia kept Wilson from a title shot, but Bryan was happy with Wilson's performance. "I was really pleased with Justin's tournament. He wrestled very well this weekend."
Wilson's win over Dillman in the second round at Martinsville was his second over the Castle junior. Two of only three losses on the year for Dillman.
Derek Mroczek garnered a fifth place tourney finish at 140-pounds after a close loss to Castle's Jeff Ausenbaugh, 5-3.
In the 119-pound class, Cory Grigsby earned a seventh place finish after going 3-2 in the tournament. He lost his consolation match 9-5 to Cody Tappan of Anderson.
Travis Harmon earned an eighth place finish at 152 by going 2-3 in the tournament as did Austin Nicosin at 103 pounds.
"I think that our team is doing pretty well at this point," said Bryan. "We've got a couple of kids out at the moment with illnesses but we have a week off to get better. We're still pretty inexperienced if you look at our kids' classes."
The Knights will have a week to prepare for their first home dual meet on January 9 versus Terre Haute South beginning at 6:30 p.m.