Wildcat wrestlers storm to Senior Night winJanuary 16, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER — Six Jasper seniors got to wrestle in their home gym one final time Thursday night. They all got an introduction before the dual meet against Heritage Hills, and each one received a gift from Jasper coach Jace Brescher. Not everyone wrestled on varsity, and not everyone won, but they all got to experience a win in front of a gym with increased turnout. The Wildcats (12-2) used a five-match win streak to propel them to a 48-29 dual win, their 11th straight against the Patriots (15-13).
“It’s been the best four years of my life, for sure,” Kole Terwiske said.
“It was an amazing experience,” Cameron Eckstein said. “We usually don’t have a crowd like this. It’s usually our close family and stuff like that, but everyone had their own fan section. Each senior had their family here, their friends, and we had that entire left side of the bleachers filled with fans, and it was an exciting experience.”
Eckstein endured a calf strain during the second period of his match with Heritage Hills freshman Brenden Chew. Jasper coaches attended to him with 1:29 to go in the period. Eckstein felt good prior to the injury, and kept wrestling, trying to block the strain out of his mind. Chew evened the match, 4-4, to end the second, and Eckstein drew loud applause when he took a 6-4 lead in the third. But Chew again tied it, and he secured the win against the Jasper senior.
“It was hard to get an escape with that strain, because I couldn’t put a lot of pressure on it,” he said. “I got the reversal, but I ended up getting reversed to my back off of that reversal, and I knew that, if I got the escape — I was dominating neutral the entire time — that I would’ve been able to win that match.”
Chase Mehringer competed in junior varsity in the 145-pound class, getting a 20-4 technical fall win against Pats freshman Dakota Boerste.
“It still means a lot,” Mehringer said.
Ivan Serrano also competed in JV. This was his only year coming out for wrestling, and he wished he had done so earlier. But the encouragement of senior teammate Sam Bies and friend Ronnie Monje inspired him to give wrestling a shot. Serrano had his hand raised also after pinning Heritage Hills freshman Dylan Coleman.
Jasper won the first match of the evening, with freshman Jeb Prechtel getting the better of junior Wyatt Adkins, but the next two matches belonged to the Pats. Jasper got in cruise control after that, winning each of its next five matches. Sam Bies got it going, prevailing in the 152-pound match against freshman Nathan Hedges. Kole Terwiske kept it going against sophomore Quentin Tempel in the 160-pound class, and Ayden Wigand only needed 33 seconds to put away junior Hermes Joos in the 170-pound class for the Wildcats’ fourth straight win.
“My freshman year, I wrestled with my brother (Ethan) on the team,” Wigand said. “Just having that leadership role, and just wrestling with my family, that was the best feeling of my life.”
Heritage Hills senior Phoenix Rodgers broke the run with a win against sophomore Ashton Schuetter in the 195-pound class. The Wildcats won three more matches in a row before Heritage Hills grabbed the final two.
Brescher was happy for the six seniors who got to compete on their night.
“We just really are excited for them to step into that leadership role and set an example for the underclassmen, and show them that it’s a team effort, and whenever the team comes together, good things can happen,” Brescher said. “We won our division at the Spartan [Classic, Dec. 27-28 in Connersville]. We won the Brown County Invite [Saturday]. Slowly, we’re getting to where we want to be at tournament time, and hopefully there’s more wins in our future.”
Heritage Hills will get eight days off, starting today, before Jan. 25 when it hosts the Pocket Athletic Conference meet. The senior trio of Phoenix Rodgers, Sam Scott and Beau Heeke have all wrestled at semistate before. Heritage Hills has a lot of young wrestlers who hadn’t wrestled before. Coach Adam Zollman wouldn’t have believed it if someone told him the Pats would have 15 wins with so many wrestlers who are new to the sport. But he likes what he sees from his team, and thinks it would be good to get top three at conference.
“I think we’re doing pretty well,” Zollman said. “Our three seniors should win it, and that’s been a goal. It’s a stepping stone at the conference level for those guys. They’re looking ahead in sectional, regional, semistate and state level for those three. So, Sam, Beau and Phoenix, they’re ready to roll. They’ve won it multiple times. So, they’re excited. The new guys, it will be a new experience. We've got a ton of new guys that have never wrestled in the PAC individual. So, they’re going to learn. They’re going to learn. It’s a little different environment.”
It’s getting to be that time for Jasper as well. The Wildcats will travel to Vincennes Lincoln on Jan. 25 for the Big Eight Tournament, and sectionals are Feb. 1 at Southridge. But the Wildcats won’t have to wait until the new month to wrestle in Huntingburg. They’ll be there Tuesday to face the Class 1A Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association state dual runner-up Raiders.
“We’re going to have to fight off pins as much as we can,” Brescher said. “We’re going to have to get pins and scrap for as many team points as we can in each individual match. I think it’ll be a battle, and we look forward to that challenge.”
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