Monroe brings four ‘Stangs to gold

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by Kinsey Phipps

For Mustang wrestlers and fans alike, all were looking forward to Jan. 7 when PCM would host their first and only home invitational of the season. The day went well with the ‘Stangs placing fifth as a team with 127.5 points and sending four wresters to the top of the podium. Those four were senior Xavier Miller, sophomores Lucas Roland and Jarron Trausch and freshman Payton Drake.

The Mustangs would’ve likely been the champions of the home invitational if it weren’t for seniors Leevi Telfer and Jakeb Fenton and sophomore Wes Cummings having to sit out of competition for differing reasons.

Freshman Payton Drake was champion in the 106-pound weight class for the first time this season. Drake started off in a nail-biter win over Knoxville’s freshman Gabe Gordon, winning by decision, 5-4. Next, Drake prevailed, pinning freshman Brady Brown of Westwood in 2:27. Finally, in an exciting championship match, Drake pinned freshman Peter Comer of Carlisle in four minutes.

How did it feel for Drake to win his first high school tournamet? “It felt awesome.”

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Head Coach Cory Waddell watches as freshman Payton Drake claims victory in the semifinals round on Jan 7./by Kinsey Phipps

The next victory came from Miller in the 145-pound weight class. Miller sailed to the finals round when he won by fall, then tech fall. In the finals, Miller faced opponent Joe Hollinrake, a junior from Knoxville. Miller won in a decision, 5-0.

Next to wear black in the finals was Roland, wrestling in the 160-pound division. Roland had a bye in the first round, then won by fall in the second. In the semifinals, Roland won by major decision over senior Jacob Martin of Moravia. In the finals, Roland faced senior Griffin McBride of Pleasantville. Going in to the tournament, McBride had two losses, one of which was handed to him by Roland earlier in the season. The match was a closely fought battle, with McBride being ahead 4-2 at one point in the match. However, Roland fought back; he won by decision, 5-4.

Finally, Trausch took the top of the podium at 170 pounds. Again, this Mustang had no problems wrestling his way to the top; he won in his first two matches by fall and technical fall, respectively. His semifinals round against senior Travis Johnston of Carslile was a close match up until the third period, and Trausch won by decision, 10-3. In the finals, Trausch grabbed a huge win over senior Ashton Messer of Pella. Messer was No. 10 ranked in 3A, but he was no match for Trausch. Messer fell to Trausch by major decision 13-1.

Among the other place winners were junior Caleb Peter and sophomore Clay Van Wyk, who both earned seventh place.

The next competition for the grapplers will be tonight, Jan. 12 at home. Wrestling begins at 6 p.m. versus Greene Co. and South Hamilton as the ‘Stangs will try to maintain their perfect conference dual record. Come support the senior wrestlers, managers and cheerleaders for senior night.