PLYMOUTH — It was a good night for Rockies wrestling — good turnout, good performances and a good result.
Plymouth grapplers got off to a fast start with four first-round pinfalls and a major decision to jump out to an early lead against visiting NorthWood, coasting to an eventual 61-9 Northern Lakes Conference victory in front of a lively home crowd on a special Alumni Night at The Rock.
“At this point I think the best thing that’s going on is our kids are battling,” said Plymouth wrestling coach Bob Read. “We’ve got some kids that lost some takedowns early on and battled back for wins. Those are the things that we look for that are really huge for us. Right now we’re scrapping and we’re battling.”
All total, the Rockies won six bouts by fall and notched wins in 12 of 14 weight classes against the Panthers.
Vicinte Vasquez and DeAndre Pickford recorded first-round pins over opponents at 220 and heavyweight, respectively, and John Mills and Cody Allmon also finished out their matches by first-period fall at 106 and 113. Kam Markovich earned a second-round pinfall victory at 132, and John Stillson earned a quick stoppage at 160 with a 46-second pinfall.
Osman Solis won a 19-9 major decision at 120, and Stephen Abair recorded a 15-0 tech fall at 138. Triston Rodriguez claimed an 8-3 decision at 126 after entering the second period trailing 2-0, and Nolan Wright was another 8-3 winner at 145.
Thursday night’s victory was made all the more impressive by the fact that just a week ago, the Rockies had to postpone their NLC meet with Warsaw due to illness with 10 of the team’s varsity wrestlers sidelined by sickness.
“The kids are working hard, and that’s where we’ve got to be. I was concerned about where we would be coming off as sick as we were, and the kids wrestled well clear to the end,” said Read.
The young Panthers lineup didn’t break onto the scoreboard Thursday until Derek Weldy’s pinfall midway through the second round of the 152-pound match-up with the visitors already trailing 45-0. NorthWood’s only other victory was a 10-3 decision at 182 by three-year letterman Zack Telschow, one of a handful of Panthers with meaningful varsity experience listed in the team lineup at the dual meet.
“We’ve been plagued a lot with injuries. We have about six varsity kids injured right now. We’re trying to throw young kids in there and give them a chance; that’s about the only thing you can do,” said first-year NorthWood head coach Damon Hummel.
“Tel was a semistate qualifier as a sophomore… He’s a good hard worker, all around great kid, pretty good athlete. He’s got a very unique way of wrestling. Weldy is a sophomore who finally got down to weight tonight. He’s a good kid, a good, hard worker. Practice partners, and it showed tonight.”
The Rockies made a good showing at Thursday’s NLC contest, and it was a good night for it as several past Plymouth wrestlers turned out to watch their alma mater and the team paid tribute to them prior to the varsity meet.
“Our Alumni Night, it was really nice to see some of those guys who’ve been part of Plymouth wrestling. You take a look at the different ones and the different things that they accomplished, and it was neat,” said Read.
In addition to the alumni, Plymouth’s wrestlers also honored their four upperclassmen on Senior Night Thursday.
Pickford and Mills celebrated the occasion with early pinfalls, and Abair added five points to the cause with his 15-0 tech fall.
The only bad news for the Rockies was the fact that Braxton Moore remained a casualty of the recent rash of illness at PHS and was unable to wrestle on a night set aside to honor him and his classmates.
“All three of those guys in the lineup, you really do look to them. DeAndre had a sort of tough start, got sort of tossed, came back and put the kid on his back and got a fall. That’s the type of battling that we’re doing, and that’s good,” Read said.
“Braxton Moore, he was sick today, he’s another senior, but he comes to practice, he’s working hard and he’s pushing people, and that’s what we need out of the kids.”
NorthWood slips to an 0-3 conference start with the loss at Plymouth.
The Panthers are undergoing something of a transition in Hummel’s first year at the helm, but the first-year NorthWood boss sees his team coming along.
“First year it’s a big learning curve for the kids getting them to know me,” he said. “Numbers from last year, we’re up almost 20 people. We’ve got a lot of newbies, lot of rookies, so it’s one of those things where they’ve got to learn the way to wrestle, the way I want them to wrestle. It’s going to be a lot of work, but they’ll do alright. They’re learning and they’re doing.”
Plymouth moves to 10-2 overall on the year and remains unbeaten in the NLC at 3-0. The Rockies will resume their conference schedule with a meet next Wednesday against Warsaw after illness forced them reschedule last week’s meet with the Tigers.
“We’ve talked to the kids; each conference dual is a championship match because you’ve got to win it. Memorial’s hanging out there. They’re the ones to beat, they have been for years, and if we want to even think about having a shot at them we’ve got to get better,” Read said.
• PLYMOUTH 61, NORTHWOOD 9
106: John Mills (P) pin Lucas Hostetler 1:41; 113: Cody Allmon (P) pin Mathew Pippenger 1:33; 120: Osman Solis (P) Maj. Dec. Ryan Price, 19-9; 126: Triston Rodriguez (P) dec. Cody Pippen 8-3; 132: Kam Markovich (P) pin Tanner Fervida 2:38; 138: Stephen Abair (P) Tech. Fall Tyler Kinney 15-0; 145: Nolan Wright (P) dec. Caleb Reeve 9-7; 152: Derek Weldy (NW) pin Michael Garrity 3:14; 160: John Stillson (P) pin Nick Skwarcan 0:46; 170: Jacob Pearson (P) Maj. Dec. Scott Kern 12-1; 182: Zack Telschow (NW) dec. Aaron Houin 10-3; 195: Vicinte Vasquez (P) pin Karol Keller 1:16; Hvywt: DeAndre Pickford (P) pin Dan Guevara 1:41.
Records: Plymouth 10-2 (3-0 NLC), NorthWood 0-3 NLC.
JV score: Plymouth 39, NorthWood 3.