Grapplers hitting stride at right time
By Kyle Salomon
Momentum going into the postseason is a coach’s dream, and the Mustang wrestling team is making that dream come true.
The Bronco grapplers put a colossal beat-down on the Putnam City North Panthers Feb. 4 at home with a 48-16 drubbing.
It was the final regular season dual of the year for Mustang as the senior night dual with Putnam City was canceled due to inclement weather on Feb. 6.
It will be two and a half weeks off from live action for the Broncos as their next competition is the regional tournament at Southmoore Feb. 21.
Mustang and Putnam City North competed in 13 matches in their dual instead of 14 because neither squad had a healthy 113-pounder available.
The Broncos won nine out of the 13 matches, and seven out of the nine victories were falls by Mustang.
“We are hitting our stride at a very good time,” Mustang head coach Dave Rankin said. “All of the hard work the guys have put in this season is starting to really pay off. We are definitely wrestling the best we have all season as a group.”
In the 106-pound weight division, Jason Clark competed for the Broncos. Clark got his first fall of the season. The scrappy Bronco pinned his Putnam City North counterpart in the first period of their match.
“We are really happy for Jason,” Rankin said. “He is such a hard worker, so it was really good to see him get a fall for us.”
In the 120-pound weight class, Trey Edwards took the mat for MHS. Edwards earned a fall of his own as he pinned his opponent in the first period of the bout.
In the 126-pound weight division, Gage McBride suffered a 6-4 loss in his battle with his Panther opponent.
Gareth Ballard continued his strong season for Mustang in the 132-pound weight class with a second period fall against his opponent.
In the 138-pound weight division, Jordan Kalmeyer earned a first-period fall against his counterpart from PC North.
Robert King got back to his winning ways in the 145-pound weight battle with a first-period fall against the 145-pounder from Putnam City North.
In the 152-pound weight bout, Zac Julian has been battling injuries throughout the season, but he got a third-period fall against his PCN counterpart.
Redmon Wilkerson competed in the 160-pound weight class and posted a 12-8 victory against his opponent.
In the 170-pound weight battle, Zach Butler fell to his Panther counterpart 7-4.
Normal 182-pounder David McCright was out with an illness against Putnam City North. Dylan Watz took the mat in place of McCright. Watz was pinned by his PC North in the third period.
In the 195-pound weight class, Mark Casteneda competed for MHS, falling to his counterpart from PCN 15-5.
Clay Feland competed in the 220-pound weight bout and made quick work of his opponent with a first-period fall.
In the heavyweight division, Dylan Needham earned the victory against his Putnam City North opponent 5-3.
Rankin said they are going to use the time off wisely.
“We are going to use these few weeks off to get healthy and try to stay sharp on the mat,” he said. “We are going to do a lot of running for a few days and try to work out some of our injuries, then we will get back on the mat and start preparing for regionals.”