By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
TROY — Typically, the Troy and Piqua rivalry takes center stage anytime the two get together.
But with the Miami Valley League tournament in one week and the postseason kicking off right after that, the Trojan and Indian wrestling teams knew there were bigger things at stake.
Troy played host to a quad with Piqua, Greenville and West Carrollton Thursday at Troy High School, with the Trojans and Indians not taking each other on at all, rather using the Green Wave and Pirates to prepare themselves for the stretch run to the end of the season. And they both wrestled well despite dropping both duals, with Troy losing to Greenville 41-32 and West Carrollton 55-16 and Piqua losing to the Pirates 52-18 and the Wave 36-18.
“They’re right on target,” Troy coach Doug Curnes said. “We wrestled well tonight.”
“I thought they wrestled well,” Piqua coach Scott Kaye said. “There was a lot of good action and movement. We just got caught sometimes, a few of them got caught in some good moves.”
For Piqua, the goal was to get Lance Reaves-Hicks (285) — the current favorite at heavyweight in the MVL — two tough matches against the two wrestlers right behind him
“We were looking forward to him getting a couple of solid matches in tonight,” Kaye said of Reaves-Hicks. “He kept himself in good position and out of trouble for the most part, gave up a few points, got pushed and had some good victories.”
First, he took on West Carrollton’s Bobby Shaw, pinning him 37.6 seconds into the second period. Then, he stuck a pin against Greenville’s Colton McCartney with 0.8 seconds left in the third period. Shaw and McCartney are currently ranked second and third behind Reaves-Hicks in the MVL.
And every time Reaves-Hicks scored a takedown Thursday, he took his opponent straight into a pinning situation, either scoring near-fall points after or finishing the match right there. McCartney put up a fight in the second match of the night, with Reaves-Hicks only leading 9-5 going into the third, but a late takedown straight into a pin sealed that match, too.
“They’d better be moving quickly, or it’s not going to be good for them,” Kaye said with a laugh. “He (McCartney) wanted to play around with the upper-body stuff, and Lance has a lot of good experience there. He’s willing to try to force some things, and he countered and scored on them. (McCartney) was nice and aggressive, but Lance is good on defense on throws.
“There’s a few other guys in there, but these are the two top guys behind him. Knowing what he’s looking at with these two, he looks to be in good shape.”
Against West Carrollton, there were only two other matches wrestled: Peyton Offenbacher (106) lost by pinfall, and Isaac Bushnell (152) dropped a 12-3 major decision. Piqua picked up a pair of forfeits, and the Pirates picked up seven of them.
Against Greenville, Bushnell stuck a pin with 35.7 seconds remaining in the third and Piqua picked up one forfeit for its other score. But Greenville scored four forfeits and Brady Mikolajewski (113) and Andru Hollopeter (145) were both pinned.
For the Trojans, the night was all about settling into their end-of-the-season training routine.
“We had a nice, long break between competitions, and I implemented the plyometric program that I use every year toward the end of the season to peak their bodies out,” Curnes said. “It’s about a 28-day program, and in our progression, they’re on about day 19 or 20. So they’re right in the peak of the strength part of it where they’re going to be fatigued deep in a match, but as we taper off over the next week, they’ll be lighter, faster and in better shape.
“I didn’t expect many high-energy deep-push matches tonight. And we wrestled exactly as I expected.”
And those efforts showed, too, as when and if matches went to the third period, the Trojans seemed to slow down a bit — but Curnes saw it coming.
“To my eyes, that’s expected. To everyone else, they may have looked gassed or tired,” he said. “They can say what they want, though. I already know what’s in store the next couple weeks. It’s a good primer, and this was a good time for this quad because of the time frame. Now we lead into the week before league, and the kids are going to start coming into their own.”
Carlos Quintero gave something of a preview of what’s to come, too. Wrestling up a weight at 170 against Greenville to start the night, he led Zane Mancillas 8-4 in the first period after four easy takedowns and let-ups before Mancillas defaulted due to injury. And in his second match against West Carrollton’s Sean Garvey at 160, Quintero led 8-3 after two periods and, needing a takedown in the final 10 seconds to score a major decision, found the energy reserves and nailed it to win 16-7.
“He opened up and started to dominate that kid, and he was going to shut down anyhow,” Curnes said of Quintero’s first match. “And in his second match, you could see where he pushed for that major decision in the end. Two weeks before this and two weeks from now, you see a different kid. His energy level is right where I expected it to be.”
Zach Evans (126) also had an impressive showing in his only match of the night against Greenville’s Logan Thatcher, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after one and 11-0 lead after two before finally putting away a 16-2 major decision.
Gabe Cusick (152) scored the Trojans’ other win against the Wave to start the night, leading 7-1 early and 10-3 after two before scoring a 14-3 major decision. But Nolan Fox (113) dropped a 17-1 tech. fall to Drayk Kallenberger, Tyler Plunkett (145) and Joe Cusick (182) were both pinned and Greenville scored four forfeits to Troy’s three for the final margin.
And against West Carrollton, Quintero’s victory was the only one on the mats as Troy picked up a pair of forfeits but gave up five. Gabe Cusick (152) and Noah Leach (182) were both pinned late in the third period, Joe Cusick (170) lost a narrow 6-3 decision and Zach Abdulkassim (195) was pinned in the first.
All four teams will meet again at the MVL Tournament, which will be held at 5 p.m. Feb. 21 at Butler High School.
Contact Josh Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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