Wildcats finish strong in season opener loss

Kaiti Sullivan/The Herald
Jasper's Jeb Prechtel wrestles Floyd Central's Gavinn Alstott in the 126-pound weight class during Thursday's match in Jasper. Floyd Central defeated Jasper 49-24. For more photos from the match, click here.


JASPER — Jasper took a 49-24 dual loss to Floyd Central Thursday, but managed to turn things around near the end.

The Wildcats (0-1) welcomed the Highlanders for their 2019-20 season opener, and for a while, their only win of the night came when freshman Alex Hardin picked up a victory via forfeit in the 120-pound class. Grapplers such as freshman Xavier Lopez in the 113-pound class and junior Luke Ruckriegel in the 170-pound class managed to put up fights, but both fell to their respective opponents. Jasper did not break through until the final three matches of the evening. Sophomore Ashton Schuetter in the 195-pound class got off to a fast start against Floyd Central junior Jackson Early, and that broke the mold. Schuetter finished Early off early with a 54-second pin.

That started a trend of three consecutive quick victories, as 220-pound class junior Will Collon scored a fall against freshman Seth Kaiser in 75 seconds, and it took  junior Quade Popp just 44 seconds to score a fall against sophomore Jackson Emerson in the 285-pound class.

“It did feel good to end on a good note with a few pins in a row at the end,” Wildcats coach Jace Brescher said.

Brescher said Jasper had already lost as a team later on in the evening, and the focus turned to the individual wrestlers and how to make them better. He was hoping some of them stayed out longer to work on technique, but said they did a nice job in securing points for the Wildcats.

He said the team needs to look at every match this season as an opportunity to get better before the postseason rolls around. Brescher knew the Highlanders were going to be a difficult opponent. He called them a big team, and said Jasper knew what the Highlanders had in their lineup. Junior Gavinn Alstott in the 126-pound class, sophomore J. Conway in the 138-pound class and senior Jonathan Kervin in the 152-pound class all went to state last year.

Brescher noted that the Highlanders compete in the same sectional the Wildcats do.

“We’ve got some good wrestlers,” he said. “It may not have looked like it in some of the matches tonight, but Floyd Central’s got some studs on their team.”

Jasper's Ian Giesler  wrestles Floyd Central's Codie Khawaja in the 145-pound weight class during Thursday's match in Jasper. For more photos from the match, click here.

Brescher told the Herald back in November that it wouldn’t be until the end of this month that the team was likely to get into complete wrestling shape, and said after Thursday’s duel that the Wildcats still aren’t in full wrestling shape. He thought that proved costly in some of their matches, and added some could have gone the other way if Jasper was better conditioned.

He planned to tell his wrestlers after the duel that they had a good baseline of things they need to improve on. Brescher is hoping Jasper will start working on that Saturday at Evansville F. J. Reitz in the Hill Classic. He’s looking for the Wildcats to clean up on their technique and is hoping his wrestlers have more movement on their feet, move more when they’re on the bottom to get escapes and have good breakdowns.

Brescher said Friday’s practice would focus on getting ready for Saturday, and how to maintain a good attitude when the wrestlers are behind in a match or after they lose a match. He said his wrestlers were going to wrestle five matches in an eight-team meet on Saturday. Brescher said the Wildcats will roll out much of their same lineup, but added sophomore Reece Fromme will represent Jasper in an extra spot in the 138-pound class. Freshman Victor Peter competed for the Wildcats in that class on Thursday. Brescher said Fromme looked solid when he won his junior varsity match on Thursday.

The other teams scheduled to compete, along with the Wildcats and host Panthers, are Mt. Vernon, Pike Central, Tell City, Fort Campbell (Ky.) and Owensboro (Ky.).

“You’ve got to face the best if you want to be the best and tonight, we faced potentially one of the best teams in our sectional,” Brescher said. “We hope by the end of the season that we’re the one that finishes on the top.”

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