North Clay 130-pounder Broc Potter (left) locks horns with South Putnam's Justin Sanders on Monday. Potter came away with a 14-2 victory.
The Monday night matchup between the North Clay wrestling team and South Putnam continued long after the Eagles' team bus had pulled out of the parking lot.
The Knights were handed forfeit victories in six of the first 11 matches of the evening, cruising to a 59-3 lead by the time North Clay Brandon Mikesell recorded a 19-second pin against his opponent at 120 pounds. When the Knights had exhausted the last South Putnam grappler of the evening and secured an 84-25 victory, they commenced to wrestle each other in a series of exhibition matches.
North Clay Coach Chris Walker regularly stages these post-meet exhibitions when the opposition runs out of wrestlers, a fact of life in a sport competing with basketball for student participation.
"We usually have four, five, six, seven forfeits every night," Walker said.
A consistent lack of sporting competition-- Walker mentioned that several South Putnam wrestlers didn't even have wrestling shoes-- frustrates the coach, who believes those easy victories leave his team under-prepared for more capable foes.
"It kinda hurts," he said.
The Knights won eight of 14 contested matches. Carson Craft recorded North Clay's first non-forfeit victory of the night, a 27-second pin of the Eagles' Ryan Zigler. Eric Hamblen (110), Mikesell, Tommy Holifield (165) and Beau Judd (275) all recorded pins for the Knights. North Clay 105-pounder Tony Cooksey notched a 15-0 technical fall, Broc Potter scored a major decision at 130 and Brad Powell eked out a minor decision at 180.
Walker said he hopes the tone his grapplers set Monday and at last weekend's Super 13 tourney at South Montgomery-- where the Knights took three individual champions and five second-place finishes-- will continue at Saturday's Western Indiana Conference Tournament.
"We've got some momentum after the Super 13, and hopefully we'll carry it into Saturday," he said. "If we wrestle our best, we've got a great shot to win."