The St. James wrestling team made the trip to St. Louis to face off against MICDS, Principia and St. Clair at MICDS on Tuesday, Jan. 10. The Tigers went 2-1 on the day, beating MICDS and Principia and losing to St. Clair, despite being down two of their best wrestlers in Mikey Crocker and Nick Wilson.
The quad at MICDS was a bit of a mess. It was the first meet that MICDS has hosted this season and it had an array of problems. The scorers table regularly messed up the clock and the scoring therefore inconsistent. Full results weren't available online, as most wrestling meets have, but the teams pushed through. St. James was also dealt a rough hand by being short two key wrestlers. Mikey Crocker was sick going into the quad and Nick Wilson needed the day off to help heal some bruised ribs. With all of that, the Tigers charged ahead and had one of their most interesting duals of the night right off the bat against St. Clair.
Some of the most notable matches in the dual against St. Clair came from the replacements for Crocker and Wilson. Dayton Lynch filled in for Crocker at 132, who wrestled up from 126, and Tyler Bass wrestling up from 160 to fill in for Wilson at 170. Nick Halbrook also tried to fill a gap by wrestling at 152, despite being 12 pounds under the weight class. All three of those wrestlers were first year wrestlers at the varsity level that put in a lot of effort to try to help fill things out for the Tigers.
"Dayton Lynch, he stepped up and I would say this is probably the most notable match of the night," said head coach Beau Moreland. "We fell short again, Mikey is was out and Dayton stepped up and has really been there for us several times throughout the season whenever he wrestled for us at the 126 spot. He weighed in at 126.0 and wrestled up to 132 against Bailey (Gardner) from St. Clair and Dayton's a freshman with just raw talent and just went out there and wrestled this kid. He ended up losing six to eight, but it came down to the third period."
Coach Moreland also liked the fight in Halbrook, despite also taking a loss at 152 to Lucas Davis.
"(Halbrook) got a take down and was doing what he could, but he's 12 pounds lighter than these guys, maybe a little more," said coach Moreland. "He got out there, got the take down and wrestled that kid real well, but in the end, St. Clair, they've got a tough lineup and that guy was just a little bit more than Nick could handle and he ended up getting pinned in the first. But good things to see whenever you're talking about a true freshman who's never wrestled before and he was able to step up two weight classes heavier than he is and get takedowns and stuff like that."
Logan Saxbury got the Tigers' first win of the night in a tough match at 113, earning a pin and six points. After a forfeit at 120 for Ty Lewis, who made scratch weight at 120 for the first time this season, Garrick Lonning had a solid match at 126 against Jason Landing. Lonning ended up rolling himself into a pin, but it was an important match for the Tigers, as they'll see Landing in Districts, but he was one of the St. Clair wrestlers they hadn't had the chance to wrestle yet this season.
"I think Garrick could probably have (Landing)," said coach Moreland. "He also made scratch weight at 126 officially, so he was feeling a little weak, so he wasn't himself. That kid is a very good wrestler and that will be a very good match come District time."
The St. James stalwarts that were able to wrestle, Thomas Henderson and Drake Ortiz, took care of business with pins and their other top wrestler, Cole Petty, had an open slot for another six points to keep things close, but they fell just a little short. One thing that made things interesting was a switchup that St. Clair made at 220 and 195. Ortiz wrestled Josh Richards from St. Clair at the Kinloch Classic at the end of December and it was his sole loss of the tournament. He was hoping for a rematch, but heard Richards was going to drop to 195 by Districts. Despite holding out hope that he would stay at 220 for the dual, he dropped to 195 and wrestled Cort Petty. Cort, another freshman, wrestled well, but couldn't pull out a win. He was working the edge of the mat, thought he was out of bounds and Richards got a reverse and eventually pinned him.
Despite missing two of their top wrestlers, the Tigers kept the match tight, but lost 45-30.
There wasn't much intrigue in St. James' dual against the host school MICDS, because they were open at most of the weight classes. The Tigers were guaranteed a win from the start, though a couple of matches stand out. Lonning got a great first period pin of Rohit Siddabattula at 126, which help offset a tough loss by Henderson at 138. Henderson got behind by a couple of points early after rolling onto his back in the first period and went into the third period down 8-6. He tried to work his way to some points, but his opponent, Richard Harmon, stalled for the final minute of the match. He was given two warnings for stalling, but Henderson was never awarded any stall points, leading to an 8-6 loss.
"Thomas was as frustrated as he could be," said Moreland. "He had an arm bar set on him and he's trying to get anything and he's lifting the kid straight off the mat, he was belly down, legs spread wide, being as big a tree trunk as he could be to try not to get rolled over and just say in there. The ref warned him twice and time ran out. We couldn't get any points off of that, but Tom was controlling him the entire third period."
Ortiz was the only other big gun for the Tigers who had a match in the dual and he won after his opponent, Hunter Vrabely, was injured and not able to continue. Tyler Teague also got a great win with a third period pin of Morgan Niven. In the end, St. James ran away with a 60-15 win.
St. James also got a win over Principia, but the exact score was up for debate. To the best of Moreland's knowledge, they snuck away with a 34-31 win. The Tigers faced Principia earlier in the season, but both teams had openings where the other had wrestlers, so there weren't a ton of matches. Principia made some adjustments and had a few more matches.
Some of the standout matches as far as interesting matches for Moreland were Lonning taking a tough loss by pin to Josh Aleman at 126 and Dayton Lynch reaching the third round against Garrett Sheets. They were open at a lot of the major slots, so it came down to a few matches. St. James got their actual wins, rather than open slots, from Henderson by major decision at 138, Cort Petty got a major decision win at 195 and Ortiz got a pin at 220. The other points for St. James came from openings at 113, 120 and 182.
"It was one of those ones where it wasn't a really interesting dual to watch," said coach Moreland. "I actually think it ended up being a really close score by the time you added it all up."
St. James followed that with a match at Principia for a rematch, while also facing North County and Desoto. Desoto is the dual that they'll really be keeping an eye on, because they're a great full lineup that they haven't faced yet this season. The Tigers were scheduled to travel to the Owensville Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 14, but that event was cancelled, so next up is a trip to Sullivan on Tuesday, Jan. 17.