MP evens SEC record with win over Trojans
The Mt. Pleasant wrestlers looked a little tired when they took the mats on Thursday night, but the Panthers worked hard enough to get the job done against a depleted Fairfield team, defeating the Trojans in the Southeast Conference dual, 50-21.
“Overall, we wrestled not too bad,” Mt. Pleasant Coach Anthony Blint said. “We ... weren’t as aggressive as we could have been on our feet. I don’t know if there’s a sickness going though or if we just need to focus more on conditioning, but we can take care of the conditioning aspect. We can get that out of them pretty quick.”
Fairfield (3-7 overall, 0-4 SEC) had its own troubles in the dual. Only nine wrestlers competed for the Trojans, leaving five weight classes open and giving Mt. Pleasant 30 points in forfeits. Mt. Pleasant (12-7 overall, 2-2 SEC) had to forfeit one match.
“We’ve got a couple out with illness, and some are working though some academic stuff, and that comes first,” Fairfield Coach Steve Miller said. “The few guys we did bring did a great job. Obviously we came up short, but I’m pleased with their effort.”
First up in the meet was the 195-pound match, and Mt. Pleasant’s Class 3A seventh-ranked Justin Dilks won by fall over Randall Pugh in what would be the fastest pin of the night, 49 seconds.
Mt. Pleasant took a 6-0 lead with the win, but Fairfield’s Jake Mineart, ranked 10th in Class 2A, fought back in the 220-pound match against Class 3A No. 5 Colton Aplara.
“Jacob Mineart had a good match — he had a tough opponent in Colton Aplara,” Miller said.
Mineart won the match by a 4-1 decision to half the Panthers’ lead.
“It was a good match for Colton (Aplara),” Blint said. “It’s good to get that out of the way before districts; hopefully, he’ll see (Mineart) again at (the Southern Iowa Classic).”
Mt. Pleasant took a win by forfeit in the 285-, 106-, 120-, 126- and 132-pound matches. In between, Conner Eads (113) defeated Fairfield’s Mitchell Burnstedt by technical fall, 15-0.
“Connor Eads wrestled real well with several takedowns,” Blint said.
With the win by forfeit at 132 pounds, Mt. Pleasant put the dual out of reach, leading by a score of 41-3. But the Trojans kept fighting, taking four of the last six matches.
Ammon Shaner won by technical fall at 138 pounds, defeating Rob Pohren by a score of 16-0, and Aaron Gevock (145) defeated Josh Larson by major decision, 12-3.
Then it was the Panthers turn for a pair of wins, as Michael Alderson (152) pinned Justin Leonard in just 53 seconds and Jayton Phillips (160) won by decision over Bryce Lunsford, 7-2.
It would be the Panthers’ last win of the night, as the last two matches went to the visitors.
Mt. Pleasant’s Noah Brown, who usually wrestles at 170, went up a weight class and left Fairfield’s fourth-ranked Seth Davisson to take a win by forfeit.
Brown fell by a 3-1 decision to Fairfield’s Brett Scott in a hard-fought 182-pound match to end the night.
“I thought we wrestled very well — they’re a tough team,” Miller said. “It’s good to see how we match up with them.”
With time running out on the regular season, both teams are now preparing for the path to the state tournament.
“We’ve got basically 10 days of practice left,” Miller said. “Now it’s a mental game. You’ve pretty much got what you’ve got, physically, though you can still tweak a few things with technique. But we’re just going to focus on winning every match from here on out.”
For the Panthers, preparing for postseason wrestling means taking advantage of every opportunity.
“We look forward to going to Williamsburg (this weekend), and seeing some teams that we haven’t seen before,” Blint said. “They’ve got some tough kids at Williamsburg. We won’t see them again after that, but every time you see a new opponent, you see a new style of wrestling, and there will probably be new opponents at the district tournament, too.”
The Panthers will be at the Williamsburg Tournament starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Fairfield will be competing at the Bob Lueders Invitational in Clinton on Saturday.