By Josh Brown
TROY — Troy Christian’s seniors haven’t had many chances to wrestle in their home gym.
The Eagles are making up for lost time for the next week — and they started off with an impressive showing.
The Troy Christian wrestling team honored its four seniors Tuesday during a Senior Night dual match against Urbana in the Eagles’ Nest, winning six straight matches after the Hillclimbers tied the score early and cruising to a 47-18 victory.
It had been three seasons since Troy Christian last hosted the Eagle Invitational, when coach Steve Goudy returned. And it hadn’t hosted any duals during that time, either.
“We don’t,” Goudy said when it was pointed out that the Eagles don’t get to see their home gym often. “We travel a lot. And, you know, I love dual meets, and I know the fans do, too. The average fan, they want to come, watch somebody win, watch somebody lose and go get on with their life because everybody’s so busy. The hardcore fan will go sit 10 hours at a tournament all weekend, but I think we’ve lost fans that way over the years.
“Getting back to more duals, I think, is healthy for our sport. So we’re trying to do more and more of this. And the state helped us out this year by making duals only worth half a point on your schedule, so they are encouraging it, too. And it’s a good thing, I think. We’ll definitely have our share of duals this year.”
Senior two-time state placer Michael Sergent (138) got things started on the night and set the tone, scoring an early takedown and near-fall points before turning Urbana’s Cameron Miley to his back again and sticking a pin with 17 seconds remaining in the first period.
“Michael has the tools to win a state title his senior year if he can find more consistency,” Goudy said. “Only Mike can do that. It’s in there. If he can show up for six minutes every match, good things are going to happen for him. And he’s already proven that he can beat some of the best kids in the state.”
Only one of the nine matches wrestled on the night made it to the third period, and none of them went the distance.
Jared Ford (145) was leading 13-2 in the third and had the near-fall points he would need to score a tech. fall, but he kept fighting and was able to score the pin over Damian Williams instead with 1:18 to go in the final period to give the Eagles a 12-0 lead.
Senior Caleb Hoskins (152) ran into a tough competitor in Urbana’s Braeden Lehman, though, trailing 5-0 after the first period and falling by pin in the second round. Urbana’s Luis Ramirez then picked up a forfeit at 160, tying the match at 12-12.
“I think Caleb will get another shot Thursday, when we’ll be back in the home gym,” Goudy said. “I tell you, 152’s been a bear weight class this year, and he just happens to be in that weight class. He’s got a good attitude and keeps working hard in practice. He’s a good kid, too.”
After a pair of double forfeits, Damon Beatty (182) scored a 16-1 tech. fall over Urbana’s Isaac Craft to put the Eagles back on top and kick off a winning streak that would put the dual out of reach. Nick Baker (220) scored a pin with 20.2 seconds left in the first, then senior Seth Douglas (285) picked up a forfeit to make the score 29-12 Troy Christian.
Ethan Turner (106) scored another first-period pin with 15.1 seconds remaining over Lucas Chess, then Jacob Edwards (113) pinned Austen Murray with 1:10 left in the first to make the score 41-12. Senior Drew Whaley (120) scored a pin with 1:25 left in the second period, then Urbana’s Gavin Grimm (126) pinned Lear Current with 29.6 seconds left in the first to finish the night.
“Drew, he’s getting better every match,” Goudy said. “He’s doing what I’ve been asking him to do and has really stepped it up in the practice room and recommitted. He’s realized that this is it for him, and that’s starting to set in. I’ve challenged him, told him he’s one that we’re going to need to get to Columbus — and not just get there, but get there and win some matches.”
And the Eagles will be right back at home Thursday night, too, hosting more duals with a tri-match against Willamsburg and Versailles. They will then go to the Greeneview Duals on Saturday before hosting the opening round of the OHSAA State Dual Tournament on Jan. 25 before heading to the Sandusky duals that weekend for 10 more head-to-head matchups.
“We just wrestled nine duals at Napolean this weekend,” Goudy said. “I’m happy with the effort we’ve been giving in the practice room, and it’s starting to carry over onto the mat. And our young guys aren’t as young as they used to be now. And we’re going to wrestle 27 duals in just under three weeks, so it’s going to be a busy three weeks — but then things will slow down and we’ll heal up and get ready for sectionals. But we’ve got one day off, and then we’re right back at it here on Thursday.”
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.