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A loss to a state-ranked opponent is the only blemish for the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher wrestling squad so far this season.
The Falcons took a 6-1 record into their home match against Reed-Custer on Tuesday night (results unavailable at press time) after a busy opening week.
GCMS/Fisher went 4-1 on Saturday at the Litchfield Duals, beating Roxana 51-30, Petersburg PORTA 41-27, Auburn 58-16 and Pinckneyville 70-6. The Falcons’ only setback came against the host Panthers, the 12th-ranked Class 1A team in the state, according to Illinois Best Weekly.
“I knew there was going to be some tough competition down there, and there was, but the kids wrestled really well,” GCMS/Fisher head coach Josh Carter said. “We almost came away with five wins, but just fell shy of that. It was a nice weekend.”
The solid showing in Litchfield came after GCMS/Fisher won 68-12 at home on Thursday against Bismarck-Henning and 54-30 at St. Joseph-Ogden in its season opener on Nov. 27.
“I felt we came out and worked hard and wrestled with some intensity,” Carter said. “We kind of carried that over from the practice rooms.”
The Falcons cruised to the win against Pinckneyville with six forfeit victories at 106, 113, 138, 195, 220 and 285 pounds, but that was the only match on Saturday that saw significant forfeits.
Senior Dylan Donner won by pin in 54 seconds at 120 to improve to 6-1 on the season while freshman Aaron Carter (5-2) won a 13-3 decision at 145. Freshman Tristan Smith (6-1) won pin by in 58 seconds at 152, junior Austin Rosenbaum (4-3) won by pin in 1:41 at 160, junior Michael Cler (2-5) won by pin in 31 seconds at 170 and senior Jake Shubert (4-1) won by pin in 1:41.
In the win against Roxana, junior Hunter Lowry (7-0) won by pin in 1:26 at 106, sophomore Gage Adams (2-1) won by pin in 2:23 at 113, junior Cameron Schwing (7-0) won by pin in 3:54 at 120, Donner won by pin in 2:19 at 126, senior Chet McClure (7-0) won by pin in 2:25 at 138, Smith won by pin in 3:10 at 152 and Rosenbaum won a 7-6 decision at 160. Junior Josh Wallick (7-0) won via forfeit at 285.
The 14-point victory against PORTA, which came in ranked ninth in 1A, featured no forfeits at any weight class.
“That is nice because then everybody gets an opportunity to wrestle,” Josh Carter said. “The kids do the hard work in the practice room, and they want to wrestle instead of taking the forfeit. I think most of our kids got at least four matches (on Saturday).”
Lowry at 113, Schwing at 120, Rosenbaum at 160, Shubert at 182 and Wallick at 285 all won with pins. McClure won at 138 with a technical fall in 5:53 while Aaron Carter won a 9-3 decision at 145 and Smith won a 12-5 decision at 152.
“Tristan Smith did a really good job (all day on Saturday),” Josh Carter said. “He had some good competition there, and I like his approach right now. He’s competing with mental toughness and not letting the fact that he’s going against older kids affect him.”
Lowry at 106, Schwing at 113, Donner at 120, McClure at 138, Smith at 152, Shubert at 182, sophomore Jacob Franklin (2-5) at 195, freshman Jeremy Smolek (3-4) at 220 and Wallick all won by pins against Auburn while Aaron Carter added a 10-2 decision victory at 145.
The Falcons won by forfeit at 106 and 120 against Litchfield, with Schwing at 113 (pin), McClure at 138 (8-3 decision), Shubert at 182 (pin) and Wallick at 285 (pin) picking up the other wins.
The much-anticipated match at 285 between state-ranked wrestlers Wallick and Bismarck-Henning senior Morgan Supergane (the duo wrestled each other at the regional, sectional and state meets last year, with Wallick winning each match) didn’t transpire. Supergan was sick and did not make the trip.
“We wanted to see that match, and there were a lot of people in town (who did),” Josh Carter said. “We were trying to hype that up and get some more support from the community. We had a lot of people come out, and they were a little disappointed.”
But Josh Carter wasn’t disappointed in the outcome, which saw the Falcons win by pins at 113 (Schwing), 126 (freshman Austin Dill), 152 (Smith), 170 (Cler) and 285 (Wallick). The Falcons received forfeit wins at 106, 132, 138, 160 and 220, with Donner winning by technical fall in two minutes at 120 while Aaron Carter won 2-0 at 145.
In the season opener at SJ-O, the Falcons picked up 18 points from forfeit wins at 106, 152 and 285. Lowry at 113, Schwing at 120, Donner at 126, Dill at 132, McClure at 138 and Aaron Carter at 145 all won by pin.
The Falcons will have a difficult test on Thursday at Prairie Central before heading north again on Friday and Saturday for the Reaper Invitational at Plano. Josh Carter said about 10 Falcons would wrestle in Plano because a junior varsity tournament in Ottawa is on Saturday.
The Falcons head coach is eager to see if his squad can keep up the solid start against the likes of Prairie Central and the other talented wrestlers they’ll see this weekend in Plano.
“We’ve done it the last couple years, and it hasn’t seemed to affect us too much,” Josh Carter said. “I think, one, the guys like to live wrestle. They’d rather do that than practice, so that motivates them. It is one to make sure they have to take care of themselves just with recovery and their weight issues. They’ve done real well with it.”
The four returning state qualifiers GCMS/Fisher has — Schwing, Donner, McClure and Wallick — are a combined 27-1 so far, but the improvements of Lowry, the squad’s only other unbeaten wrestler at the start of the week, has impressed his coach.
“Those are guys that we can count on to wrestle well and get us some team points,” Josh Carter said. “Hunter is not giving up so much weight to the guys that he’s wrestling, and he’s pretty motivated right now. He has some high aspirations, and it being really his first year on the varsity level full-time, he’s going to surprise some people that really don’t know what he’s capable of. I’m expecting a big year from him.”