The Harrison County High School wrestling season got off to a good start last Wednesday with a convincing 51-21 win over host Dixie Heights in a dual match.
Harrison County got off to a shaky start and trailed 21-0 after losing its first four matches of the meet, but didn’t lose another match on the way to a team victory.
Harrison County captain Cody Ward righted the ship for Harrison County, pinning his opponent in 1:03 of the first round.
“You couldn’t tell much about his opponent in that match, it all happened so quick,“ said HCHS coach Russ Riegel of Ward’s easy win. “I do know that Cody should be one of our most consistent winners this year.”
At the 135 weight class, junior Chris Brunker won a close, hard-fought match with a 6-5 win. He earned the win with a reversal with only seconds left in the match.
Caleb Berry won at 140 with a third period pin. “Caleb flipped and flopped around for five minutes before he finally pinned his guy,” said Riegel. “He has to settle down a little and be more confident.”
Junior Josh Moss won at 145 with a fall in 1:03 and Coty Berry followed that up with a forfeit win at 152 that gave the Breds the lead for good at 27-21.
At 160, senior Seth Coy, finally out of the shadows of graduated seniors Beau Sanders and Josh Ashbrook, was able to show off his skills. Coy had a pair of near falls in the first period and pinned his opponent in the second period.
“Seth backed up Sanders and Ashbrook the last two years,” said Riegel. “But has proved to be a varsity wrestler himself now … he is a very important part of this year’s squad.”
Brandon Barnett, a sophomore, earned the fastest fall of the night with a pin in just 13 seconds of the first round. “Again, that match was over so quick, there really wasn’t much time to evaluate Brandon,” said Riegel. “I just hope he keeps up the good work.”
After Shawn Lenz earned a forfeit win, Dan Kiskaden won by a fall in the second period at 215 for the final margin.
“Dixie Heights is rebuilding and has half its team or more as just ninth graders,” said Riegel last Thursday. “This match was no real indication of our team power. We’ll find out more about how we stack up a little later.”
It didn’t take the veteran wrestling coach long to find out how his team did stack up against quality foes.
On Saturday, the Breds competed in the Oldham County Super Duals with a total of 16 teams competing.
Harrison County was placed in Pool D along with John Hardin High School, Oldham County and Louisville Moore.
In their first pool match, the Breds wrestled well but were narrowly defeated by John Hardin, 35-30, when Kiskaden was pinned in the final match of the dual.
“That was a mistake on my part holding Dan back to the end. It was a gamble on my part that didn’t pay off,” said Riegel.
The best match of the first dual with John Hardin was Coy’s overtime win at 160. He scored a take down in the first 10 seconds of overtime to earn the victory.
In the second pool match, Harrison County overwhelmed Moore, 66-12. Harrison County took advantage of five straight forfeiture wins by Moore in the first five matches, plus forfeit wins in four more matches. On the mat, Moss and Barnett both won, Moss by an injury default in the second period and Barnett by a second period pin.
The highlight of the day for the Breds came in their third, and final pool match, when Harrison County handily defeated Oldham County, 58-24.
“We were not supposed to win this one, but we did big time,” said a happy Harrison County coach. “Oldham County had just defeated John Hardin and John Hardin had beaten us.”
After forfeiting at 103, Andy Lenz got the Breds rolling with a major decision, winning 9-1. Eighth-grader Jackson Sanders then set the tone for the rest of the match, pinning his opponent in just 34 seconds.
After another forfeit by the Breds at 125, Harrison County earned three straight wins by fall. Ward pinned his opponent at 130 in 3:37, Brunker earned a fall in 3:42 and Moss pinned his foe even quicker, at 1:18.
After Caleb Berry lost at 145 when he was pinned, he was redeemed by his twin brother, Coty, who won by fall in 4:45.
Coy continued his stellar mat work with another win, again by fall, in 3:44. Barnett followed with another win by fall at 171 in just 1:27.
Shawn Lenz followed that up an unexpected win by fall at 5:54.
With a 2-1 record in pool play, Harrison County advanced as the pool winner, based on a tie-breaker, as John Hardin and Oldham County each finished at 2-1 as well.
In the championship round, Harrison County lost to Larue County 52-21.
“I think we were out of this one before we started,” said Riegel. “We got off to a slow start and it just snowballed from there.”
Andy Lenz, Ward, Moss, Coy and Barnett registered wins by Harrison County, all by decision.
In the consolation match for third place, Harrison County was defeated by North Oldham, 48-30, and had to settle for fourth place.
“This was a match we should have won,” said Riegel.
Harrison County won one of the first four matches against North Oldham and couldn’t dig itself out of the hole.
“Our first four weight classes are our biggest problem right now,” he explained. “At 103 we have a kid new to wrestling in Anthony Shirley. He’s gonna be a really good one down the road, but he is inexperienced right now and is paying his dues. At 119 we have Jackson Sanders who is an eighth grader. He’s gonna be a really good one too, but isn’t quite ready yet. We don’t have anyone at 125 right now, so that is always a forfeit. Andy Lenz at 112 is the only sure thing that we can count on match in and match out right now in those first four weight classes.”
“All in all, it was a long day for the Breds, I just hope we learned a lot and will be a better team down the road.”