MOORESVILLE -- The Northview wrestling team made its annual foray to the Mooresville Holiday Classic Tourney to reach the halfway point of the 2012-13 season. Despite being a bit shorthanded, the Knights came away with a ninth-place finish in the 16-team field. Yorktown captured the team title with 283.5 points in the strength of five individual titles and nine total top-three finishes.
Northview coach Dan Mikesell came away from the tourney pleased with how the Knights responded against good competition.
"I wasn't too upset with our finish as a team. We were short handed as Cale McCoy had the flu and didn't make the trip," Mikesell said. "Had he been there I am confident he would have earned 12 team points and that would've put us in the top half of the field."
Senior 285-pounder Justin Sampson continued to make a name for himself and live up to his No. 7 ranking in the class by going 4-0 and grabbing the title in his weight class. With a 21-0 mark, Sampson is off to one of the best starts in school history.
"Yes, I believe Justin is off to the best start in the time that I have been here," Mikesell noted. "I have to double check the record books, but I believe being 21-0 to start the season is the first time it has happened in school history.
He wrestled very well at Mooresville. Going in as the top seed it puts some pressure on you if your not use to it," Mikesell added. "He was the top seed in sectional last year as well and conference so he had some experience, but the field was so deep it was a very nice accomplishment for him to make the run and prove his seed."
Sampson reached the champonship with a pair of pins in the first three minutes and earned a finals trip with a pin of Mooresville's Zac Newkirk.
The battle with Newkirk also earned Sampson a bit of satisfaction as the Pioneer heavyweight defeated him in the tourney last season. Sampson moved on to the title tilt with a pin in the third period (5:48), which gave him a slot across from Seymour's Adam Wolka (16-4), a competitor that knocked him from the postseason last year.
Wolka upset the number two seed in the semi-finals who was also the returning champ to set up a re-match in the finals. We really wanted to wrestle him," Mikesell said. "It was a real test, Wolka is very hard to score on so we knew we had to be patient and wait for our openings."
The match lived up to its billing as both wrestlers earned escapes during regulation to send the match into overtime. Both competitors once again gained escapes as the match reached the ultimate tiebreaker OT. Wolka chose the bottom and only had to escape to gain the win, but Sampson kept Wolka on the mat for 30 seconds to gain a 3-2 victory.
"Justin's experience and smarts really paid off. He had a nice strategy in regulation and made a nice adjustment in OT to ride him out for the victory," Mikesell said. "His attitude and determination are his biggest assets right now."
In the 195-pound class, Jesse Miller advanced to 17-5 this season with a forfeit win, a pin of Evansville Central's Caleb Hart (5:03) and a decision over Plainfield's Tristan Southwood (5-1) in the semifinal. Miller came up short against the top-seed in the title bout, falling to 20-1 Randy Scott of Mooresville via fall.
"Jesse Miller also had a nice tournament. He battled his way to the finals beating some really good wrestlers," Mikesell said. "He upset the No. 2 seed in semi-finals but couldn't quite muster a win in the finals. But second place in this tournament is nothing to be upset with. I was proud of his effort."
The Knights' 220-pounder, Zach Williams, also had a strong tourney after advancing through the consolation bracket to claim fourth and improve to 15-6 this season.
At 145 pounds, Trey Boor also moved through the consolation bracket after winning his opener and dropping a match to the top-seed in round two. Boor (13-9) won two matches via pin before eventually placing sixth.
"Trey Boor and Zach Williams also placed. I thought Zach wrestled pretty well," Mikesell said of the senior. "He got fourth and lost to the same kid twice. He gutted out a couple of really close matches to get to the consolation finals.
Trey continues to show improvements and a sixth-place finish for him is much better than last year," the Knights' head coach added. "He is emerging as future leader for our team."
Northview competes on Saturday at the Brown County Invite beginning at 9 a.m.
Northview tourney records
120: Shane Ryan, 1-2
126: Stephen Gibson, 1-2
138: Jackson Copper, 0-2
145: Trey Boor, 3-3
152: Coan Williams, 1-2
170: Levi Brown, 1-2
182: Mike Miller, 1-2
195: Jesse Miller, 3-1
220: Zach Williams, 4-2
285: Justin Sampson, 4-0