MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon High School wrestling team is in “midseason form,” as the saying goes.
In reality, the Yellow Jackets are getting better every week, gearing toward a peak come tournament time.
On Thursday, they hosted Ohio Capital Conference rival Big Walnut, cruising to a 53-18 team victory in the dual under the spotlight in the Pleasant Street Elementary gym.
“We came out and we won,” said Mount Vernon head coach John Brown. “We came out and took the match to them. We stayed focused. We wrestled really hard. It was a great step up for us. I was real pleased.”
Brown had reason to be pleased. The Jackets won five of the eight head-to-head matchups against a team that looked to contend for the OCC title. With a glut in the lower weight categories, the Eagles had to forfeit five times. It would have taken a Herculean effort on their part to overtake Mount Vernon.
However, Mount Vernon nearly fell into that trap earlier this year.
“We had a lot of forfeits at Watkins,” said Brown. “I thought we’d have a lot of easier matches. And we just came out flat. We won but, to me, it didn’t look like we did.”
The Yellow Jackets wouldn’t allow that on Thursday.
Every Mount Vernon wrestler came out aggressively. All eight participants went for early shots and, in almost every case, earned early points. Not every match was a winner, but Brown was pleased with the effort.
“That’s what we’ve talked about all year is attacking, getting the first attack,” said Brown. “We want to be out there before they do. If we take the match to them, we feel we can get ahead.”
Alex Gamble (160 pounds) and Jordan Crabtree (195) each earned pinfall victories, while Matthew Lybarger (182) won by technical fall.