CENTERBURG — Some familiar wrestlers, along with several youngsters, lifted the Highland Scots over host Centerburg in Wednesday’s Centerburg Invitational.
Highland won, 42-30, despite giving up several key weight classes to the Trojans.
“I didn’t think we were very physical, especially coming off Saturday at the Granville Tournament,” said Centerburg coach Mike Linkenhoker. “There were 12 teams over there and we had a fairly decent showing; we ended up fourth there. To come in here tonight, not be very physical and lose some matches that I thought we had a chance to win, I’m kind of disappointed. We’ll just have to try to get people to be more physical.”
In an earlier dual, the East Knox Bulldogs doubled up on the Scots, 48-24. Both the Bulldogs and the Trojans notched easy wins against a small Elgin squad. The Bulldogs took down Elgin, 42-24, while Centerburg dumped them 60-17.
Highland coach Adam Gilmore liked what he saw from his squad against a pair of developing young teams.
“We have a fuller lineup, based on where our kids are,” said Gilmore. “We’re empty at 103, 119, 125 and 130, so we are giving up 24 points. Centerburg was missing their 103 as well. With all our freshmen and a couple of sophomores, that leadership still is down. As those numbers and excitement and that youth improves, we’ll get better as the years go on.”
Gilmore doesn’t fret about what he hasn’t got. The wrestlers he brought to Centerburg performed well.
“We ended up winning head-to-head,” said Gilmore. “The guys wrestled hard.”
“A couple of our kids made mistakes,” said Linkenhoker. “They missed some moves they should have had. Again, not being physical enough. I try to tell them — it’s something we can’t coach. Wrestling is a physical sport. You have got to reach down inside and become physical.”
Highland freshmen Jeremy Johnson (189 pounds) and David Fisher (152) won both of their matches against Centerburg and Elgin, which was a nice surprise for Gilmore.
“They got a couple of wins,” said Gilmore. “David is learning a lot. Some of our seniors and juniors won some close matches.”
Senior Mike Sheppard (135) looked strong with a pair of wins for Highland.
“Artie McAndrew (140) had a good match against (Baxter Westover of) East Knox,” said Gilmore. “He pulled it out at the last second. Jordan Ammons (145) had two good, solid matches.”
Ammons defeated Trent Simmons of East Knox and Jimmy Alexander of Centerburg.
“Jimmy Alexander always has a tough match with Ammons,” said Linkenhoker. “I thought that he wrestled a decent match against him. There’s a couple more things that he has to work on to get over the hump and beat him. Alex Hudson wrestled a good match, too. He has looked real good so far this season.”
Also for Highland, Cody Kucera (160) had a win in each dual. So did teammate Billy O’Keefe (171). At 215, Highland had freshman Richard Rhineholt, who fought hard, but lost.
“Highland has some good kids,” said Linkenhoker. “Sheppard is a two-time State qualifier. Ammons is a really good wrestler. Kucera is pretty good, too.”