In the 19th annual HCIWT, the Harrison County Thorobreds did what they have done seven other times and that was win the event.
The tradition of placing first or second began in 1996 and has been carried out in 13 of the 19 tournaments.
The invitational has been both a dual tournament and an individual event with this year being a dual clash.
There were 10 teams scheduled to compete with the competition broken up into two five-team pools.
This year Dixie Heights did not come and only notified tournament officials after the meet was nearly over so an all star team of wrestlers from several of the teams competed as the fifth team in pool B. The majority of the “all star team” was made up of Harrison County wrestlers, which gave more tournament experience to Coach Russ Riegel’s fairly inexperienced squad.
The first opponent of the day for the Thorobreds was the Paul Laurence Dunbar Bulldogs. Cody Doyle got the home squad off on the right foot as he pinned his opponent in 1:24.
This was followed by co-captain Anthony Shirley winning in a forfeit and Joey Faulconer battling Dunbar’s best wrestler before losing in a decision.
The Breds really got rolling after the 119 pound match winning the next nine weight classes before losing the last two for a team victory 66-14 over the Bulldogs.
Besides winning in good form over the Bulldogs, Thorobreds 145 lb wrestler Clay Arthur took the fastest fall title by pinning his man in 34 seconds.
Match number two was a more contested contest as the Pike County Central Hawks were the opposition.
Again, the young Doyle started the match off with a bang as he pinned his man in 34 seconds. Shirley then followed with a 1:53 fall of his own and the Hawks forfeited to Joey Faulconer giving Harrison County an 18-0 lead.
During this day several of the Thorobreds wrestled up a class in weight in order to help their team win.
Coach Riegel pointed out, “The individual wrestler, if he is a team player, will sometimes have to move up a class and even take a defeat in order to help his team. This is what Noah Mitchell and Mason Fryman did in the meet today.”
Middle school student, varsity wrestler Terrell Roberts wrestled at 125 pounds to take Mitchell’s place and lost a 10-5 decision while wrestling well.
Mitchell then took a forfeit and Jeff Faulconer lost in a fall.
Fryman then dropped a match in a fall and the score was 24-21 in Harrison County’s favor after eight matches. Sophomore Justin Williams won the 152 lb class in his first venture at that weight class by a fall at 1:32.
The two teams each forfeited a class and then the Breds won two of the last three to secure the win 48-32.
Eric Kiskaden took the 189 lb class in a fall and Dwayne Moore took a forfeit for the two wins.
The next match was the easiest of the day as the Breds pounded Bryan Station by a 70-9 score. This match did start out close as after Doyle and Shirley won their third matches and Joey Faulconer his second the Defenders rallied winning the next two to make the score 16-9.
The score never got any closer as the Thorobreds took all of the remaining matches, heavyweight Moore his in 14 seconds. This gave Moore the fastest fall for this contest and the Breds took an easy win.
Match number four was to be the match with Dixie Heights. The all star team was made up of seven Harrison County wrestlers so the weight classes they were in were forfeited.
The Thorobreds did not wrestle against their own teammates in the competition. The Harrison County youth continued to wrestle well as both Doyle and Fryman won their matches. One of the best matches in this pairing was the 152 lb match won by Harrison County’s Justin Williams over J. Whalen of Bourbon County in a 7-5 decision.
The final score was Harrison County 69 and the All Stars 12.
This set up the championship match as well as the other pool A vs. pool B match ups.
The battle for third and fourth was won by Danville of pool A 48-30 over Pike County Central.
The fifth and sixth place contest was won by Sheldon Clark as they bested the All Stars 42-34.
Bryan Station took seventh place handling Bourbon County 47-30 and Scott County took ninth place 48-30 over Dunbar. The championship match was between the Thorobreds and Ashland Paul Blazer of the 16th region. Paul Blazer also went through the pool 4-0 so the Breds had a tough match ahead of them.
To stay undefeated in their pool the Tomcats won the match with Danville on a criteria No. 8 ruling, which is most takedowns during the match and the Paul Blazer squad was the winner.
The Breds took the Tomcats in much easier fashion than anticipated as Doyle and Shirley led off with wins by falls.
The eighth grader Doyle won all five of his matches by falls during the competition. Also undefeated for the day were juniors Shirley, and Shawn Tobin with three falls each, senior state champ Brandon Barnett who was 3-0, freshman Chris Bourassa who was 4-0 with three falls and seventh grader Nathan Lopez who was called up from the middle school team a few weeks ago and stands 6-0 for his varsity career. Lopez was 3-0 on Saturday.
Barnett is not full time yet, but was 2-0 on the mat, both falls and had one forfeit.
The Harrison County team members who participated on the All Star team were Lopez (3-0), 112 lb 8th grader Taylor Bourassa (3-1), 125 lb 8th grader Colton Mott (3-1), 135 lb Chris Bourassa (4-0), and heavyweight freshman Jonathan Pierce (4-0).
For the day, the Thorobreds came away with their fifth championship in the last eight years and learned a lot while doing so.
The extra experience of the “All- Star” team was very valuable to the Thorobreds.
“We learned how to be good winners and gracious losers,” noted Riegel. “It was a truly good day for the teams and the individual grapplers.”
In a fitting conclusion, Doyle won the most falls in the shortest period of time trophy. He had five falls in six minutes and 20 seconds.
The next wrestling action will be Wednesday as the Breds battle the Braves of Grant County on the Hilltop. They then travel on Saturday to the Montgomery County Duals in Mt. Sterling beginning at 8 a.m. Harrison County Invitational Wrestling Tournament win for Thorobreds