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Wrestling newbie Cougs nip Corydon

Wrestling newbie Cougs nip Corydon
Wrestling newbie Cougs nip Corydon
North Harrison's Drew Kuerzi scores a win by fall over Corydon Central in the first period Thursday. Photos by Brian Smith

Lore of the rivalry between Corydon Central and North Harrison have stories to tell on the field, court and beyond in many sports.
New to the rivalry is wrestling, where North Harrison has hit the mat in its first season with good numbers and a willingness to gain knowledge in the sport. On Thursday, the two teams were joined by Tell City for a triangular dual meet at Corydon Central.
Pitted against one another in the opening dual, North Harrison scored a narrow 42-36 team victory over Corydon Central.
A former wrestler at Jeffersonville, North Harrison coach Wesley Koch said the rivalry thus far weighs more to the friendly side.
‘Corydon was talking to our guys before hand and were helping set up the mats together,’ Koch said. ‘The guys from both teams were already talking about getting together over the summer to train and wrestle. It’s competitive but a friendly rivalry so far.’
Corydon Central coach Regan Gusler has not only coached the Panthers through the years, but also wrestled for the black-and-gold team.
‘I thought we wrestled pretty good against North as far as the matches on the mat,’ Gusler said. ‘Give North credit. They have gotten better since the last time we saw them. They have some athletic and strong kids. It’s going to be a fun rivalry I think.’
Form fitting for the second meeting of the season between them (the first won by North Harrison at the Mid-Southern Conference duals), the final result came down to the later matches.
Avery Blocker had a tight opening period with Corydon Central’s Chris Ratcliffe at 195 pounds. Each wrestler scored a take down in the first, with Blocker holding a one-point advantage. In the second, Blocker put Ratcliffe on his back with a single-leg transitioning into a near fall. Blocker went on to win by pin to even the team score at 36-all.
The final bout came at 220 between North Harrison’s Brett Rudolph and Corydon Central’s Chase Straub. As soon as both were hit with a stalling warning about 90 seconds in, Rudolph used a hip toss to score back points for a 5-0 lead.
It was Straub with the early advantage in the second period, taking Rudolph to his back and also scoring three points for a near fall. Arching his back to get off the mat, Rudolph reversed Straub and eventually won by fall.
‘It went down to the final match,’ Koch said. ‘It could have went either way. We are happy with the win, but it could have went the opposite direction.’
‘(Straub) had me convinced he was going to get him this time,’ Gusler said of his freshman. ‘I’m sure he’s going to see him again. Coming from junior high to high school wrestling is a big adjustment for a while. He’s made a lot of strides the last couple of weeks. Wrestling guys like Rudolph definitely helps him.’
North Harrison was able to take advantage of forfeits to gain points. Forfeit wins for North Harrison against Corydon Central were had by Jayden Skaggs (106), Isaiah Dawson (170), Kohana Wilks (182) and Lakota Wilks (285).
Corydon Central had Devin Murphy (113) get a forfeit win versus North Harrison. Neither team had a 132-pound wrestler.
On the mat, Corydon Central ripped off five-straight live-match wins in front of a solid crowd.
John Ray (120) of Corydon Central scored a first-period take down of Zach Brown and rode him to a 4-0 lead. Continuing with the upper-hand, Ray closed the match with a pin in the second period.
At 126, Corydon Central’s Lukas Faith held advantage for much of his match against Gavin Brunner. Locked in a series of tight cradles, Faith eventually stuck the final one for a pin at the midway point of the second period.
Corydon Central’s Dylan Raisor and North Harrison’s Nate Berryman were caught sprawling for position until Raiser ended up on top, securing a pin to take 138. At 145, Colin Smith returned to the mat for his first match of the season for Corydon Central, needing only 1:36 to stick North Harrison’s Skylar Mann.
A regional qualifier a season ago, Corydon Central’s Tyson Trumpower (152) gave his team another win with a pin over Isaiah Lawson. It was a close opening period with Trumpower scoring with a take down but giving the points back when Lawson executed a reversal. With just 1.7 seconds left in the second, Trumpower saw the ref’s hand hit the mat for a pin.
‘He’s frustrating to watch at times,’ Gusler said of Trumpower. ‘He’s a charming kid, but we talk to him about wrestling a little more conventional. I think he is trying. Until you get to really good competition, you can get away with it. He really hasn’t been pushed much, but, as we go on, we will have to monitor him.’
Koch said Lawson is one of the promising kids within the program, especially among the freshmen.
‘He’s real scrappy,’ Koch said of Lawson. ‘With him, he’s not going to give (his opponent) a win. It was a tough match to officiate because neither guy had control.’
North Harrison started to get going with Drew Kuerzi sticking Dalton Jenkins to take 160. Blocker and Rudolph kept the momentum going to land the Cougars the team victory.
‘It was a good crowd. I was pleasantly surprised at that being the last day of school,’ Gusler said. ‘It was an exciting match; it came down to the last match again. It played out a little different, but we had our chance again.’
As for the future of the rivalry, individually Corydon Central and North Harrison wrestlers may see one another at the MSC meet and the postseason.
‘We talked about having some kind of traveling trophy before next year,’ Gusler said, since, in football, the schools vie for the Big Cat Classic trophy. ‘It’s something we will work on. I’m glad they have wrestling now. It will be nice to have a rival that’s much closer than our others.’
Tell City 42, North Harrison 31
Against Tell City, North Harrison had forfeit wins by Skaggs, Brown and Rudolph.
In mat action, Isaiah Lawson needed to go the distance to defeat Tell City’s Ross Wilgus 11-9. A lift and throw of Wilgus landed Lawson a five-point edge in the second period. Wilgus came back within one point, 9-8, but Lawson was able to ride it out for the decision.
At 182, Kohana Wilks was in control versus Kyle Hagedorn. Using a variety of take downs, the unbeaten Wilks won by majority decision 14-6.
‘He is maintaining his weight and I don’t know if he didn’t replenish himself well enough, but the Tell City guys were working some things Kohana hadn’t seen this year,’ Koch said of Wilks. ‘Down the road, I have high expectations for him come conference and tournament time.’
Blocker notched his second win of the night by pinning Mason McCallister. Locked in a cradle, McCallister was saved by the bell to end the first period. Sticking with his game plan, Blocker was able to execute another cradle to stick McCallister in the second.
‘If you watch Avery, he hit a cradle and beat a guy with a technical move,’ Koch said. ‘Our bigs have a lot of strength, but they are starting to hit the technique as well. All that muscle takes a lot of oxygen, so some of our guys are learning to breathe on the mat. It’s not a conditioning issue; it’s a breathing issue.’
Koch said he was impressed with the Tell City match, performing better against a team that had its way with the Cougars earlier in the season.
‘It’s rewarding to see our men go out there, perform and use what they’ve been learning,’ Koch said.
Tell City 48, Corydon Central 24
Devin Murphy (113) and John Ray (120) picked up forfeit wins for Corydon Central against the Marksmen on Thursday.
In matches, the Panthers landed a pair of wins with Trumpower (152) and Straub (220).
Trumpower wasted no time getting the advantage against Tell City’s Wilgus, eventually pinning his foe early in the bout.
For Straub, it was a similar path. He was able to get McAllister down, pinning his shoulders to the white mat in the first period. Tell City, however, went on to win the match, 48-24.
‘We are hoping to fill nine or 10 weight classes the rest of the way,’ Gusler said. ‘That makes a big difference. It’s still tough to win when you are giving up 24 points every time.’
Corydon Central is slated to host the annual Old Capital Classic on Saturday, Jan. 6.
‘We always look forward to Old Cap,’ Gusler said. ‘We get to see better competition. Some of our top kids can really test themselves and see if they are regional, semi-state quality. It’s a big event to put on, but it’s good to see some different people come in for it.’
North Harrison 42, Corydon Central 36: 106 ‘ Jayden Skaggs (NH) by forfeit; 113 ‘ Devin Murphy (CC) by forfeit; 120 ‘ John Ray (CC) pinned Zach Brown; 126 ‘ Lukas Faith (CC) pinned Gavin Brunner; 132 ‘ forfeit; 138 ‘ Dylan Raisor (CC) pinned Nate Berryman; 145 ‘ Colin Smith (CC) pinned Skylar Mann; 152 ‘ Tyson Trumpower (CC) pinned Isaiah Lawson; 160 ‘ Drew Kuerzi (NH) pinned Dalton Jenkins; 170 ‘ Isaiah Dawson (NH) by forfeit; 182 ‘ Kohana Wilks (NH) by forfeit; 195 ‘ Avery Blocker (NH) pinned Chris Ratcliffe; 220 ‘ Brett Rudolph (NH) pinned Chase Straub; 285 ‘ Lakota Wilks (NH) by forfeit.
Tell City 42, North Harrison 31: 106 ‘ Jayden Skaggs (NH) by forfeit; 113 ‘ forfeit; 120 ‘ Zach Brown (NH) by forfeit; 126 ‘ Tavor DuPont (TC) pinned Gavin Bruner; 132 ‘ Shane Braunecker (TC) by forfeit; 138 ‘ Trey Mucker (TC) pinned Nate Berryman; 145 ‘ Joe Craig (TC) pinned Skyler Mann; 152 ‘ Isaiah Lawson (NH) dec. Ross Wilgus 11-9; 160 ‘ Tyler Hawhee (TC) pinned Drew Kuerzi; 170 ‘ Alec Stanley (TC) pinned Isaiah Dawson; 182 ‘ Kohana Wilks (NH) maj. dec. Kyle Hagedorn 14-6; 195 ‘ Avery Blocker (NH) pinned Mason McCallister; 220 ‘ Brett Rudolph (NH) by forfeit; 285 ‘ Chance Bolin (TC) pinned Lakota Wilks.
Tell City 48, Corydon Central 24: 106 ‘ forfeit; 113 ” Devin Murphy (CC) by forfeit; 120 ‘ John Ray (CC) by forfeit; 126 ‘ Tavor Dupont (TC) pinned Lukas Faith; 132 ‘ Shane Braunicker (TC) by forfeit; 138 ‘ Trey Mucker (TC) pinned Dylan Raisor; 145 ‘ Joe Craig (TC) pinned Colin Smith; 152 ‘ Tyson Trumpower (CC) pinned Ross Wilgus; 160 ‘ Tyler Hawhee (TC) pinned Dalton Jenkins; 170 ‘ Alec Stanley (TC) by forfeit; 182 ‘ forfeit; 195 ‘ Kyle Hagedorn (TC) pinned Chris Ratcliffe; 220 ‘ Chase Straub (CC) pinned Mason McAllister; 285 ‘ Chance Bolin (TC) by forfeit.