By Anthony Jones
TROY — As the postseason continues to draw near, Triad wrestling marched through a full slate last week.
Starting on Jan. 17, when the Knights traveled to Alton. There, they competed in duals against the hosting Redbirds and the Springfield Senators.
In action against the home team, Triad scored a 48-24 win. The Knights won nine of the 14 matches in the dual.
Triad’s quickest victory came from Landon Busch, who pinned his Redbird foe in 45 seconds. Camden Wise and Bobby Patterson both added first-round pins, while Shane Seip tacked on a late round pin.
Two Knights, Ben Baumgartner and Brody Smith, produced decision victories in the effort with respective scores of 5-3 and 5-2. Will Kelly, Glen Henry and Colby Crouch brought home forfeit wins over Alton.
Against Springfield, Triad emerged with a 46-26 victory.
With pins from Kelly, Seip, Henry and Crouch, the Knights earned first-round wins over the Senators in the four lowest weight classes. Busch contributed another Triad pin from the 285 pound division in the second-period of his bout.
With a 16-7 major decision, Baumgartner added a 132 pound victory for the Knights. Decision wins from Jacob Perez and Patterson plus an Alec Gilomen default rounded out the team’s victories.
Two days later, the Knights found themselves in much more competitive duals when they traveled to Collinsville. In addition to the host Kahoks, they also faced off with the Murphysboro Red Devils.
Triad would win their dual against Collinsville 39-37, in spite of a one point penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Knights won seven of their 14 watches against the Kahoks but six of their victories came via pin. Pearce Goodfield, Kelly and Crouch headlined that group with falls in less than a minute.
Two more first-round pins came courtesy of Henry and Patterson. Perez, who scored the team’s latest pin, did so with just 20 seconds remaining in regulation.
With a 10-1 major decision, Smith secured the team’s other win of the dual.
By a tally of 34-33, Triad came up short against Murphysboro. Their 1-1 dual record on the day moved the squad to 10-6 on the year.
The Knights landed four more pins in their defeat to the Red Devils. Crouch and Patterson did so in the first minute of their matches, while Kelly and Smith finished with pins as well.
Seip, Henry and Wise rounded out the teams wins with decisions against Murphysboro.
“We’re starting our year end push and preparing for conference this weekend and regionals the following week. We have continued to see some improvement, but we are going to have to improve this week to reach our goals. Despite a few setbacks, our kids have continued to work hard,” Coach Russ Witzig reflected on the team’s current standing.
Lady Knights wrestling saw action later in the week, with a Jan. 20 trip to Vienna for the Blackcat Brawl. Triad finished in 11th place out of 27 teams at the competition.
Triad’s top-finisher of the event was 145 pound runner-up Harmony Martin. Following two 63 second pins, she won her semi-final bout with a 41 second pin before losing in the final.
At 115, Kelsey Davis finished in fourth-place. After being sent to the consolation bracket by eventual champion Sutton Fuller, she would score consecutive pins before falling in the third-place match.
Claire Crouch, who competed at 105, tacked on another fourth place-finish for the team. Her lone victory, a 62 second pin, was the second-fastest scored in her weight class.
Girls wrestling postseason action begins on Jan. 26, when the Knights will head to the West Frankfort Individual Sectional.