Seniors help send Raiders to victoryJanuary 10, 2019
By JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — It was senior night for the Southridge wrestling team as they went up against conference rival Forest Park on Thursday night. Only three of the team’s four seniors were able to participate due to Forest Park’s limited numbers but Patrick Sander (132), Derek Brunsman (220), and Wyatt Kramer (285) all displayed their veteran savvy and technical skills with all their wins coming via pin as the Raiders defeated the Rangers 72-12 on Thursday night.
“I thought we fared pretty good,” said Brunsman. “I thought we were ready and excited for this match. We do it every year, and I think (wrestling) against this team is pretty exciting.”
The moment was bittersweet for the Raiders as last night marked the last home meet for Brunsman, Sander, Kramer, and Tucker Schank. The seniors were all honored before the meet as they took the center of the mat to be presented with their parents before the fans in attendance.
All of them said they’ll remember the friendships they forged as they took turns beating each other up in practice and will hold their time on the Southridge wrestling team in a special place in their hearts.
“The friendships are awesome,” said Sander. “We all bust our butts. It’s definitely the hardest sport I’ve ever done, and doing it with all these guys since sixth grade, it’s been a ride for sure.”
“With any sport I’ve been in at Southridge I’ve made great friends,” said Schank. “I’ve always had a good time with a lot of good people. I’ve spent a lot of time with my dad having him in my corner all four years, so that’s been pretty special.”
Southridge coach Dave Schank has enjoyed his time teaching the boys the sport of wrestling and watching them grow and get better over the years as they’ve lined up for the meets. He wishes he could have just a bit more time with all four of them, but he is proud to that he had the opportunity to coach them and watch them achieve all they have been able to accomplish as individuals.
“It’s been amazing,” he said. “Most of those guys have been wrestling for a long time. Watching them has been a blast, and it’s just amazing to me that it went that fast. Here we are 10, 12 years later and they’re almost finished. They’ve had great careers, worked hard, and have been the face of Southridge wrestling for a pretty good while now. I’m proud of them for what they’ve done.”
As for the rest of Thursday night’s action: Tanner Kane (120), Cayden Andrews (126), and Carson Niehaus (138) also earned pinfall wins for Southridge. Patrick Recker (106) and Isaac Brosmer (113) were able to pick up two wins by pin for Forest Park, however the Rangers forfeited the matches at 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, and 195.
Schank wishes that more of his wrestlers could have competed, but he liked what he saw from the guys who were able to perform and feels that the team is in a good place as they head into the PAC and sectional tournaments in the coming weeks.
“The kids wrestled hard,” he said. “I wish we had more matches. You work all week and you want to come out and show what you’ve learned, but the kids wrestled hard. We’re wrestling well right now, which is good. You want to be doing your best stuff at tournament time.”
Forest Park coach Craig Recker called it a “50-50” match in terms of the grading for team during the meet.
Due to the youth of his team, he was not so concerned about the final win-loss tally but he wanted to see his wrestlers go out there and get after it against the more experienced Raiders.
“About half of us showed up and the other half...not quite what we wanted,” he said. “We picked up a couple of wins out there. It wasn’t a total loss, but we're still in that learning part. Hopefully we can learn from a night like tonight, we know we got room to get better. I think we can pick out what we can get out of it and work on it.”
Both squads are going into the final stretches of their schedule and are looking towards the conference and sectional tourneys that are coming up in the near future.
Dave Schank said last night’s win was important not only for seeding purposes, but also to prepare the boys to get in peak condition physically and mentally so they can take whatever comes their way in the high-stakes tournament atmosphere.
“We've got to get in wrestling shape where we go hard for six minutes,” he said. “There are times when we have to toughen up a little bit. There are times where our guys don’t wrestle with tenacity and toughness, and that’s something we’ve been working on. You can’t just mention mechanical things, we have to work on being tough and aggressive.
Despite the result, Recker has a positive outlook for the Rangers, whom have grown by leaps and bounds since the beginning of the season. Most of the boys will be green in the ears when it comes to their first tournament experience, but Recker hopes Thursday’s meet gives them a bar to work towards as they get ready to account for themselves at PAC and sectional.
“I feel like the season is going the right way,” he said. “The kids have something to work for. When you wrestle a team like Southridge, it gives you something to work towards because you know that’s a sectional opponent. We've got a lot of work to get done in a short time, but that’s part of it.”
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