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Knight moves

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Connersville’s Blake Bushey, right, attempts to bring down South Dearborn’s Cade McClanahan in a match at 160 pounds, Wednesday evening inside the CHS gymnasium. Bushey defeated McClanahan by a score of 8-6.
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Connersville freshman Jarred Barrett goes for a pin against South Dearborn’s Cooper Barker in a match at 138 pounds, Wednesday night inside the CHS gymnasium. Barret defeated Barker by a 9-3 margin. South Dearborn wound up winning the team dual by a 53-24 score.
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Connersville’s Evan Shafer rolls South Dearborn’s Kenneth McGill in the opening match of a dual between the two teams inside the CHS gymnasium on Wednesday evening. Shafter scored a pin in the match at 182 pounds, but McGill and the Knights escaped Connersville with a 53-24 team victory.


Pins were aplenty inside the Connersville High School gymnasium on Wednesday evening.

In fact, you could say that they were the norm, as Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference wrestling units Connersville and South Dearborn battled into the night.

Nine of the 12 weight classes up for grabs between the two teams never reached their time limit, all of them ending with a pinfall. Add in another match that ended in a technical fall, and the number of bouts ending early rose to 10.

Oh, there were two exhibition matches held as well, and both of them ... well, you know where this going.

In the end, the Knights wound up with six of the varsity pins, and added the the technical fall, to secure a 53-24 win over the Spartans.

"We're going through a few growing pains right now," Connersville coach Mac Taylor said, following the loss. "We are a very young team right now, so there is a lot of room to get better."

Connersville's Evan Shafer and South Dearborn's Kenneth McGill kicked off the evening with a battle at 182 pounds, and the two grapplers set the pace, with Shafer pinning his opponent 44 seconds into the second period.

The next five matches would end the same way, the Knights collecting pins from Grant McClane (over Blake Beaver at 195), Zach Dick (over Alex Fox at 220), Rave Foster (over Carson Boulware at 106), and Isaiah Otto (over Gavin McGuire at 113).

Connersville's Zach McQueen prevented the Knights from sweeping those five matches, breaking things up with a pin over Adam Bushhorn, 37 seconds into their heavyweight tilt. The win lifted McQueen to a 14-0 record this season.

"Zach has really bought in to the style and philosophy that I am trying to teach, which is to believe in yourself and to fight for every point," Taylor said of his heavyweight. "Last year, he faced this same kid in the sectional, and got handled by him a little bit, before eventually turning him over and earning the pin. You look at how he handled him this time, however, and you see a totally different outcome. He dominated him and pinned him quickly."

While pleased with the efforts from Shafer and McQueen, Taylor and the Spartans were still trailing 24-12 through the first six matches.

Forfeits, due to having no wrestlers at the following weight classes — 120 and 126 — didn't help.

Following the two freebies for South Dearborn, CHS' Austin Wenta suffered the technical fall (16-0) at 132 pounds, giving the Knights their largest lead of the night at 41-12, with five matches to go.

A pin or forfeit in Connersville's favor through the remainder of the match would have given the Spartans the match.

But that didn't happen.

Spartan grappler Jarred Barrett did earn a 9-3 decision in the ensuing match over Cooper Barker to pull the score up to 41-15, but the Spartans would split the final four matches, creating the final margin in favor of the visitors.

"South Dearborn is a better team than we are right now," Taylor admitted. "I feel like we have the drive, but we're not quite there with our commitment yet.

"Their kids are bigger than we are, frame-size. When they walk on the mat, many of them have cut weight, and are wrestling down from higher weight classes. That means that they have more muscle and less body fat."

In addition to Shafer, McQueen and Barrett, winners for the Spartans included Blake Bushey (160) and Colton Massey (170). With the wins, Bushey improved to 12-2 and Massey pushed his 2018-19 mark to 13-1.

Baylee Lawrence wrestled in a pair of exhibition matches on the evening and the Lady Spartan competitor suffered a pair of pins from Jacob Leder and Caleb Hughes.

The loss to the Knights dropped the Spartans to 5-9 on the season.

CHS won't have long to reflect on the defeat, as the team is back in action Saturday, traveling to the Rushville Super 5 on Saturday. The team will then travel to the Franklin County Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 15, before returning home for the Spartan Classic on Dec. 28 and 29.



(at Connersville High School gymnasium)

Match started with 182 match

182 — Evan Shafer (C) pinned Kenneth McGill (SD), 2:44 (6-0)

195 — Grant McClane (SD) pinned Blake Beaver (C), 1:38 (6-6)

220 — Zach Dick (SD) pinned Alex Fox (C), 0:21 (6-12)

285 — Zach McQueen (C) pinned Adam Bushhorn (SD), 0:37 (12-12)

106 — Rave Foster (SD) pinned Carson Boulware (C), 0:30 (12-18)

113 — Isaiah Otto (SD) pinned Gavin McGuire (C), 1:04 (12-24)

120 — CHS forfeit (12-30)

126 — CHS forfeit (12-36)

132 — Austin Boggs (SD) defeated Austin Wenta (C), 16-0 technical fall (41-12)

138 — Jarred Barrett (C) defeated Cooper Barker (SD), 9-3 decision (41-15)

145 — Bryer Hall (SD) pinned Dillon Sparks (SD), 1:48 (47-15)

152 — Zach Otto (SD) pinned Michael Hudson (C), 1:26 (53-15)

160 — Blake Bushey (C) beat Cade McClanahan (SD), 8-6 decision (53-18)

170 — Colton Massey (C) pinned Sean Sohmer (SD), 1:15 (53-24)

Exhibition matches

Jacob Leder (SD) pinned Baylee Lawrence (C), 0:34

Caleb Hughes (SD) pinned Baylee Lawrence (C), 1:08