Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2018

Fairfield wrestling honors seniors

By Justin Webster | Jan 19, 2018
Photo by: JUSTIN WEBSTER/Ledger photo Senior Stetson Spees grabs the leg of the Panthers Dalton Smith during their 132 pound match. Spees pinned Smith 1:16 into the second period.

Head Coach Steve Miller and the rest of the Fairfield wrestling community honored seven seniors, five grapplers, a manager and a cheerleader Thursday night in the FHS gymnasium as they hosted SEC rival Mt. Pleasant in their final home dual of the season.

Mt. Pleasant won the dual 45-33, after jumping out to a 24-0 lead. The Panthers collected points in the first four matches behind forfeits by Fairfield at 170 and 220 pounds, and victories by fall by Brennen Bender over Carter Spalla in 3:54 at 182 pounds, and Zach Beason over Aidan Pohren in 1:56 at 195 pounds.

That’s when 285 pound senior Brendon Lunsford came to the soft circle to face Henry Lutovsky.

“I was excited for senior night,” said Lunsford. “I wanted to go out and have a good match in my last dual at home.”

Just over a minute and a half later, Lunsford improved to 28-2 with a pin in the opening period.

“I wish the dual came out differently, but I went out there and did all I can do. I just wish the score came out better for the team,” he said.

Mt. Pleasant then returned the favor with a pin by Corbin Broeker over freshman Cohyn Roach-Summers, returning the lead to 24 points at 30-6.

Jonah Cooper accepted a forfeit at 113 pounds, followed by a dominating win by fall for senior Gannon Courtright who pinned Conner Coleman in just 1:15 to make the score 30-18.

Junior Mason Allen also pinned his opponent, Dalton Moyle, in 2:58 to bring the Trojans within six points.

That allowed senior Stetson Spees to tie the dual when he reversed a near fall to Dalton Smith in the second and pinned Smith with :44 seconds remaining in the period.

“It felt really good to tie it up on senior night,” said Spees. “Obviously, that didn’t last long though.”

He’s referring to Mt. Pleasant winning three key matches from 138 to 152 pounds with seniors Zach Barnes and Saban Simons, along with freshman Peyton Cline, unable to collect any points for the Trojans as they fell behind 45-30 with just one match remaining.

Coach Miller talked about both the comeback and the inability to closeout the win.

“I still wasn’t happy because we moved our lineup around a little bit, and we expected some guys to do some things.” He continued, “We were outmanned, they were favored in 10 matches, we were favored in four, and obviously we closed that gap tremendously. We just needed some guys to step up bigger for us and that’ll come with some age and maturity. We gave up too many bonus points. Really, if you just take away six points away from them, we’re right back in there and win that dual.”

The final match of the night saw sophomore Caleb Heisel fight his way to a 4-3 decision over Garrett Boecker, and Miller liked what he saw.

“Caleb Heisel wrestled a kid that pinned him earlier in the year. That’s what I’m talking about, guys being able to forget what’s happened in a previous match, and come back and actually win against a kid that’s pinned him previously.” he said.

Miller was proud of his seniors on their night.

“Those guys did everything we asked them to do. Brendon came out and completely dominated and got the pin, same with [Gannon] Courtright, and [Stetson] Spees. Saban Simons got caught in a little front headlock twist move there and just kind of got caught. Zach Barnes wrestled one of their toughest wrestlers to a two-point match and if we wrestle that again, we’d beat him. Zach was just one move away from winning that.”

He also commending them on their commitment through high school.

“It’s better to have tried it than to have never done it, and it’s even harder to finish it. I have more respect for every kid that comes into that wrestling room and stays with it. A lot of people will try it for a little while, but not finish it and to finish this sport, you have to be really special. If you’re special in this sport, you’re going to have a special life, because there is no harder sport than this. Some of those seniors don’t have that much wrestling experience, two of them pretty much started in high school. I’m just proud of all of those guys for sticking with it and I’m honored to have been their coach.”

Senior Saban Simons had some gratitude for Coach Miller as well.

“The only person that really motivates me is [Coach] Miller. Miller is the one that really gets you going. You know, I didn’t really want to go out for wrestling this year, but Miller is the one that brought me back into it.”

Saban also talked about his match.

“I was feeling pretty confident, but I didn’t do the hottest. I definitely got caught by something I couldn’t get out of. It caught me by surprise, and I didn’t really know how to react.”

Even so, Simons knows wrestling has improved him as a person.

“Wrestling has helped me build a lot of character, especially in practice where we work so hard. It’s taught me to be a hard worker and one thing they’ve always told us is “no matter how you feel, you never show pain” and that’s one thing I’ve taken with me to life. No matter how people treat me, I don’t show pain.”

Barnes, Spees and Simons all expressed their excitement about their looming graduation, while Lunsford and Courtright still have some unfinished business.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” said Courtright following his win. “I want to do well in these remaining tournaments and get a good confidence booster for those sectional and district matches. I want to qualify for state.”

 

Saturday the Trojans will be one of 25 teams to compete in the Bob Lueders Invitational in Clinton, including four schools from Illinois, and Milton, Wisconsin. Matches will begin at 9 a.m. at the high school.

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