SPARTA — Mike Sheppard (135 pounds) and Jordan Ammons (145 pounds) each placed first in their weight classes for the host Highland Scots to lead them to a fifth-place finish in a field of a dozen schools participating in the 2009 Highland Invitational on Saturday.
“I just came out and tried to do a lot of offense and get a lot of points early,” said Sheppard, who also won the previous three years. “I just wrestled hard. I like being in front of our home crowd. Our team has gotten better. We’ve learned a lot. Our younger guys have stepped it up.”
For Ammons and the other winners, these matches are won in the training room as much as they are won on the mat.
“I just had to work hard in practice and just keep pushing myself,” said Ammons. “The last match (against East Knox’ Trent Simmons) was close. I beat him earlier in the season. This time, I was nervous, then I finally pulled it off. Our team is really looking good. Everybody is working hard in practice.”
Luke Clemmons took third for the Scots at 112 pounds.
The Scots’ 173 team points trailed winner Thomas Worthington (239 points), Lexington (204), Mansfield (203) and South Central (190).
Also placing first locally was Fredericktown’s 119-pounder, Nolan Dilts, who was one of four members of his team to walk away with a medal.
“I just tried the best I could,” said Dilts. “I did some dumb things in one match, but I got out of it. Our team has more people and we’ve filled up the weight classes better. Most of us have more experience wrestling since we have been doing it for longer. A lot of us just started last year. We did a lot better in this tournament.”
The Freddies (sixth, 166 points) finished strongly in the higher weight classes, getting a second-place showing from Mark Van Houton at 189 pounds. Cody McGuire (171) and Josh Neff (285) were both third for the Freddies.
East Knox’ Josh Beltz was the individual winner in the 125-pound weight class.
“I had a pretty good day,” said Beltz. “I wrestled hard the first couple of matches, then I got complacent. Then, I had to pick it up in my last two matches, which were real tough. I went up against a kid from Lexington, who was tough. That went three periods. I realized I was getting lazy and I had to pick it back up. In my finals match, I just tried to hang in there until the end.”
Baxter Westover (140) and Simmons (145) each placed third for the Bulldogs, who finished 10th as a team with 98 points.