MOUNT VERNON — It was quite a turnaround from one year ago.
At last year’s Wazie Wrestling Classic, not a single weight class was won by a Mount Vernon Yellow Jacket.
On Saturday, Mount Vernon made up for it — and then some.
The Jackets won five weight classes and finished in the Top 3 in four others on their way to a convincing first-place team finish at The Hive.
“For 2 1/2 weeks of practice, I couldn’t ask for more,” said Mount Vernon head coach John Brown. “I told them to be ready mentally. They were going to be rusty. But we challenged them. And they came out and did this.”
Out of 13 teams at this year’s 19th annual event, none was so dominant across the board. Dakota Riley and Matt Lybarger, both holdovers from last year’s state tournament, won the 113 and 195 weight classes, respectively. Tyler Zeller (120), Matteo Lybarger (126) and Lane Hinkle (132) also went a perfect 5-0 each to claim first place.
However, one of the biggest surprises came from another Knox County athlete.
Fredericktown sophomore Carson Mills, in his first Wazie tournament, won his first four matches in the 113 weight class with three pinfalls and one major decision. His finals opponent: Riley, the defending Division I third-place finisher in the 106.
Riley looked like a natural at 113. He handled his first four opponents easily until the final against Mills.
That match was anything but easy.
Mills and Riley traded advantages for most of the match, with Riley getting more frustrated as the match went on. Mills held a lead right up to the final seconds, when Riley scored a takedown to score two points and claim a hard-fought 7-6 victory.
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