The St. James wrestling team hosts Potosi for Senior Night on Tuesday, Jan. 22. While Potosi didn't have matches lined up for all the St. James seniors, the Tigers were able to find exhibition matches against teammates to make sure all the seniors had the chance to wrestle under the spotlight, as St. James cut the lights in the gym to add some extra flair on Senior Night.
"It was nice to have everyone come set it up and have a special night for these guys that have worked so hard for so many years," said head coach Beau Moreland. "Spotlight matches like that are always fun. For these guys to get to wrestled in front of their home crowd one last time in their high school career, it was nice to see."
Ty Lewis kicked things off at 126. The St. James senior trailed 2-0 early, but got a reversal at the end of the first period to tie the match at two. Unfortunately, Potosi's Noah Juliette was able to get a takedown in the third period that helped give him a 6-4 win over Lewis. St. James came right back at 132 where fellow senior Mikey Crocker gave the Tigers a 6-3 lead with a pin of Jordan Shaw.
The senior streak kept rolling at 145 after both teams were open at 138. Thomas Henderson had a tough matchup against Trenton Balderson and was down 4-1 after the first period. The Tiger senior came back strong in the second with eight straight points in the second period, before finally earning the pin in the third.
Zach Achterburg was up next for St. James at 152, where he took a 6-3 loss against Jaydee Vick. Sage Gibson then took the reins for the Tigers at 160, where he had a back and forth match against Thomas Gamble. Gibson was able to get a throw and a takedown in the first, but Gamble was able to get the reversal to turn the tides of the match. Gibson led 6-5 through two periods, but Gamble opened the third with a reversal and a pin, which tied the match overall at 12.
Potosi was open at the next two weights, which put St. James out in front 24-12 before Cort Petty wrestled at 195. Petty went for a quick takedown, but overcommitted and was caught for a pin by Ben Turnbough. St. James was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after the match, so a point was take from that score. The Tigers still led 23-18.
Drake Ortiz was the final official senior wrestler for St. James at 220, where he cruised to a pin over Kalub Evans. St. James was open at heavyweight, which brought the score to 29-24 heading into the final varsity match of the night. Kaylynn Crocker wrestled for the Tigers at 106 and wrestled a solid match against Hayden Gaston but was pinned in the second. That pin gave Potosi a 30-29 lead, but they were open at 113 and 120, so St. James won the match 41-30.
St. James capped off the night with two exhibitions. Seniors Cole Petty and Nick Wilson both needed matches, so Jaden Finch faced off against Petty, while Gibson stepped in to wrestle Wilson. The seniors both got pins in their matches to end the night.
This senior class has been crucial to the St. James wrestling program for the last four years. When coach Moreland started three years ago, they were basically the entire program. They've helped bring more wrestlers in, but they continue to be the heart and soul of this lineup.
"This group of guys, I love working with them. They're a great group of guys, they're a bunch of characters that's for sure," said coach Moreland of his senior class. "They're close, they're like a group of brothers and it's been really really fun...they are a great group of guys and they're gonna be missed, I can tell ya that."
The Tigers will wrestle a tri against Pacific and Owensville on Thursday, Jan. 25, before wrestling in the Kyle Thrasher Tournament on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 26-27.