MOUNT VERNON — On Senior Night for the Mount Vernon wrestling team, it was the seniors who, appropriately enough, led the way to victory.
In its final chance to rack up points before Sunday’s sectional draw, Mount Vernon defeated Watkins Memorial, 51-26, under the spotlight before a packed gym at Pleasant Street Elementary.
The night was special for all the seniors on the team. And they took their emotions to the mat, scoring a pinfall in every official match on the lineup.
“They did a nice job. They’ve been good leaders this year,” Mount Vernon head coach John Brown said. “That’s what’s allowed us to have success in the OCC this year, the seniors stepping up and doing their job.”
Nick Yashnyk (130 pounds), Collin Riley (135 pounds), Jordan Montgomery (171 pounds) and Nate Fry (189 pounds) all scored falls.
But Montgomery didn’t want to win the way he did.
Montgomery scored six quick points on Watkins’ Mike Starner in the first period. Late in the period, Montgomery attempted another takedown, and Starner landed on his head.
Starner lay virtually motionless for several minutes until medics arrived. He was taken on a board to Knox Community Hospital for observation.
Montgomery had his arm raised, but was clearly bothered for the rest of the night.
Yashnyk, who looked to be fully recovered from a shoulder injury suffered weeks ago, took control of his match early with Watkins’ Chris Banks, scoring a quick takedown and staying ahead until he scored the pin at the 3:13 mark.
“It’s only the second match back from my shoulder injury,” said Yashnyk. “I’d get tired, so I wanted to win it a little early.”
Fry wasted little time with Damian George, scoring a near-fall in the first period, then getting the pinfall 27 seconds into the second.
“I tried to get up as much as possible in the first period,” said Fry. “In the second period, I just tried to keep up my stamina, and then put it away.”
Riley’s match was the most entertaining, though it too was one-sided. Watkins’ Josh Chism was not intimidated, but by the end of the first period, behind by five, he clearly was outmatched. Riley went on to pin Chism 1:30 into the second.
The seniors received some extra inspiration before the matches, when they each had a chance to greet their relatives on the mat.
“It feels good, but at the same time, it’s sad,” Fry said of Senior Night. “To know that you’re wrapping up, and it will be over.”
Also scoring victories for the Jackets were Ceth Miller (215 pounds), Dakota Riley (119 pounds) and Kyle Horner (140 pounds).