By Anthony Jones
A visit to the Morton Invitational paid off for Triad wrestling last week, as the team took third place out of sixteen teams. The only units that outperformed them were Geneseo and Normal Community, who are ranked sixth and twelfth in the state, respectively.
“We are wrestling pretty decent for the most part but are facing weekly battles with illness and Covid which is hindering our overall improvement as a team,” Coach Witzig said and continued, “All things considered, I feel pretty good about our team and where we are at. We’ve got about three weeks to get it all together before conference in the postseason starts.We have a few wrestlers in the rankings as well. Colby Crouch is ranked number one in the state at 126, Chase Hall is ranked fourth and state at 138, and our 4 honorable mention ranked wrestlers are Aidan Postma at 145 Sam Wheeler at 160 Jordan Clines at 182 and Nate Engler at 220.”
During last week’s action, three Triad grapplers finished as meet champions. Both Colby Crouch(120) and Aidan Postma(145) finished with three pinfall victories.
In the 138 pound division, Chase Hall also went 3-0 on the day. He finished with two pinfalls and a 14-0 major decision.
Coach Witzig commented on his team’s trio of champions, “Crouch earned outstanding wrestler again and pinned two ranked opponents in the tournaments. Hall is continuing to wrestle extremely well and had a dominant performance in winning his championship. Postma continued his winning ways & came from behind in the finals pending a kid who is honorable mention ranked.”
Falling one win short of a championship, Landon Tourville put together another solid performance for the Knights at 170 by finishing in second place. Other top outings were produced by Nate Engler(220) and Matthew Hobbs(285), who finished in fourth and third, respectively.
Some lower finishes were also key to the Knight’s strong finish.
“We had a number of other wrestlers earn some very valuable points in the wrestle backs and placed sixth. The kids that grind their way through the wrestle backs are the unsung heroes that nobody thinks about. They score a lot of valuable team points but seem to get overlooked at times,” Coach Witzig stated.
The trio of sixth place finishes included Alex Milam(106), Ben Baumgartner(126), and Braden Carlson(152). Milam finished with three wins and Carlson tacked on two of his own.
Last week’s competition also featured a battle with the Belleville West Maroon. In a battle where every match mattered, Triad took home a 42-40 win.
Baumgartner, Hall, Postma, Carlson, Tourville, and Engler all recorded victories by pinfall to help the team’s efforts.A forfeit victory earned by Crouch also proved to be helpful as well.