Times Sports Editor
If you want to be one of the best, you have to compete against the best and Northview's wrestling program has done just that the last several years when the Knights have opened against perennial power Bloomington South.
The Panthers own three semi-state team championships this decade alone and has won all but one of the sectional team titles as well. The lone loss was to the Knights, who are hoping to challenge the Panthers against this year after finishing second last year.
On Wednesday night, the teams squared off in the season opener for both with the Panthers edging the Knights by a 48-24 score that was closer than the final score might appear.
"I thought it was kind of an exciting match," Northview coach Dan Mikesell said. "The final score is a little bit deceiving, I think it was a lot closer than that, but we kind of ran into our inexperience there in the lighter weights and lost some matches that could have turned it around a little bit. All in all it's a step in the right direction, we're closer to (Bloomington South) than we've been in the past."
The Knights got off to about as good a start as they could have hoped for when 145-pounder, Baylor Girton and 152-pound senior, Brandon Mikesell, came up with big wins via fall.
The two bonus point victories got the crowd involved immediately and quickly created an atmosphere that is usually saved for the sectional.
Girton dominated his match to open the meet, quickly taking control of Reece Clark and putting him on his back just 51 seconds in for a quick 6-0 Knights' lead.
Mikesell's match was quite a bit more deliberate, but just as exciting as Sam Horrocks, third in last year's Bloomington South Regional, took an early 2-0 lead via a first period takedown.
Mikesell bided his time and climbed back within 2-1 in the opening period and that score stood into the third period when Horrocks battled free for an escape point and a 3-1 advantage as the clock became an issue for Mikesell.
With the match in its final minute, Mikesell turned the tables on Horrocks and spun him to his back where Mikesell was able to finish off a wild fall in 5:23.
Bloomington South got untracked at 160 pounds as Clayton Fiddler edged Larry Shaffer by a 5-3 score and Dakota Jackson pinned the Knights' Brody Girton.
Jesse Miller squared off at 189 pounds against South's Colton Bridges.
Miller barely missed a takedown at the first period buzzer as the match remained scoreless until Bridges was able to get an escape and take a 1-0 lead into the third period.
Miller battled to the end, but was unable to get free from the bottom position as Bridges earned the win and the Panthers tied the match at 12-all.
Aaron See gave Northview the lead back when he defeated Matt McCammon by fall in just 1:22 and Beau Judd followed by putting Colton Dixon on his back in 27 seconds for a 24-12 Knights' lead.
However, the Panthers were tough in the tight matches and their experience in the lower weight classes prevailed.
Jacob Boomsma, eighth in the state finals at 112 last year, pinned Ryan South at 103 pounds for the Panthers and the Knights' Caleb Nicosin fell at 112 to Zack Runyon by a 7-1 decision.
South continued their late match run by getting a fall at 119 from Ross Abram and Dru Spires held off Skyler Hall in another 1-0 match to put the Panthers up 30-24.
From there, the Panthers finished out the match with falls over first-year Northview wrestlers, Trey Boor at 130, Brandon Gillespie at 135 and getting a forfeit at 140.
Despite the loss, Mikesell found some good things to build on heading into the Westfield Great 8 Meet on Saturday.
"I think there are some positives to take out of it," Mikesell said. "There's some things to work on where we obviously need to get off bottom. Both of those (1-0) matches, if we get off bottom and tie it up and go into overtime, we might have gotten a takedown. Obviously we have some things to work on, but that's why we schedule (Bloomington South)."
Bloomington South 48, Northview 24
145 -- Baylor Girton (Nv) wins by fall over Reece Clark (BS), 0:51
152 -- Brandon Mikesell (Nv) wins by fall over Sam Horrocks (BS), 5:23
160 -- Clayton Fiddler (BS) wins by dec. over Larry Shaffer (Nv), 5-3
171 -- Dakota Jackson (BS) wins by fall over Brody Girton (Nv), 0:55
189 -- Colton Bridges (BS) wins by dec. over Jesse Miller (Nv), 1-0
215 -- Aaron See (Nv) wins by fall over Matt McCammon (BS), 1:22
289 -- Beau Judd (Nv) wins by fall over Colton Dixon (BS), 0:27
103 -- Jacob Boomsma (BS) wins by fall over Ryan South (Nv), 0:48
112 -- Zack Runyon (BS) wins by dec. over Caleb Nicosin (Nv), 7-1
119 -- Ross Abram (BS) wins by fall over Shane Ryan (Nv), 3:17
125 -- Dru Spires (BS) wins by dec. over Skyler Hall (Nv), 1-0
130 -- Bruce Vandivier (BS) wins by fall over Trey Boor (Nv), 1:52
135 -- Seth Seitzinger (BS) wins by fall over Brandon Gillespie (Nv), 1:35
140 -- Spencer Boyd (BS) wins by forfeit