(Top) Eric Hamblen tightens his grip against a South Vermillion opponent on Thursday. Hamblen recorded a 28 second pin. (Above) Carson Craft keeps his opponent on the mat on the way to a 5-2 victory.
There was plenty of action in the dual Western Indiana Conference wrestling match on Thursday night. In a match that came down to the final match of the evening, the crowd had plenty to cheer about and that they did in a scene more like a high school sectional than a junior high match.
The match came down to the wire as South Vermillion fought themselves off the mat, down by 25 points midway through the match and won the final three matches of the night to tie North Clay 55-55.
The Knights got out to a seemingly comfortable 40-15 lead after a 10-0 major decision by Brandon Mikesell, but South Vermillion came roaring back.
Pins at 125, 135 and 145 put the Wildcats within striking distance at 43-37.
The biggest decisions might have been by Aaron See at 140 pounds who got behind 6-1 in the second period and was nearly put on his back. However, See scrapped his way out of the situation and, despite losing 9-1, saved the Knights two key team points.
"That really kept us in it in a couple of matches, not getting pinned," commented coach Chris Walker. "(South Vermillion) beat us last year and we beat them the year before so this tied things up pretty even," he said about the budding rivalry between the teams.
Broc Potter won an exciting 11-8 decision at 130 pounds, going up 11-3 as he had his opponent on his back late in the third period, but the Wildcat reversed the situation in the waning seconds and nearly earned the fall. The South Vermillion grappler pressed Potter, but the North Clay competitor held off the advance, giving up five points, but not the victory.
Brady Silvers went toe-to-toe with his opponent in the early going, fighting his way off his back in the first period and getting within 5-4. The Wildcat would quickly add a couple of points heading into the third period. In the final period, Silvers would struggle to control his opponent, closing the gap to 7-6 and after giving up two more points, put his opponent on his back to tie the score at nine-all.
In overtime, Silvers simply ran out of gas and lost a wild 11-9 overtime decision at 155 pounds.
The Wildcats had closed the gap to 43-37, but Tommy Holifield and Brad Powell were clutch in earning aggressive pins over their opponents to bump the gap back to 55-37.
From there, the Wildcats stepped up in getting a pin at 220 pounds and got a forfeit at 245. In the final match at 275, Beau Judd fell behind 2-0 in the first period but battled back to take a 3-2 lead with both sides fans going wild on their feet.
Judd would slip in attempting to control his opponent to the mat and give up two more points and fall down 4-3 heading into the second period.
Both competitors earned quick two point moves and Judd knotted the score at six-all heading into the final period. In that third period, South Vermillion's wrestler gained control and won a 12-6 decision that gave them the 55-55 tie.
In the early rounds for the Knights, Luke Pingleton and Austin Bell stuck their opponents for quick pins with Caleb Nicosin and Austin Sciotto getting forfeits.
Carson Craft also helped the Knights build the lead with his 5-2 decision and Eric Hamblen put his Wildcat opponent on the mat for a 28 second pin to help the Knights to their 40-15 advantage.
Afterwards, Walker commented on the crowd support at the match.
"It was a great match, having a crowd like that really helps pump the kids up."
Next up for the Knights is a trip to the Western Indiana Conference tourney on Saturday at South Vermillion beginning at 9 a.m.
North Clay Wrestling
At North Clay
70 -- Caleb Nicosin win by forfeit
75 -- Austin Bell win by pin
80 -- Skyler Hall wins by decision, 4-0
85 -- Austin Sciotto win by forfeit
90 -- Collin Richards loss by pin
95 -- Luke Pingleton win by pin
100 -- Carson Craft wins by decision, 5-2
105 -- Tony Cooksey loss by decision, 4-0
110 -- Eric Hamblen win by pin
115 -- Cole Dickison loss by pin
120 -- Brandon Mikesell win by major decision, 10-0
125 -- Chris Payne loss by pin
130 -- Broc Potter wins by decision, 11-8
135 -- Conor Strain loss by pin
140 -- Aaron See loss by 9-1 major decision
145 -- Kody Brattain loss by pin
155 -- Brady Silvers loss by decision, 11-9 OT
165 -- Tommy Holifield win by pin
180 -- Brad Powell win by pin
220 -- Brandon Pleake loss by pin
245 -- North Clay loss by forfeit
275 -- Beau Judd loss by decision, 12-6
Seth Lunsford and Chris Funk each won by pin