ERIE -- The stay was short, but what the Sherrard wrestling team accomplished will last forever.|
A 36-31 victory over Orion on Wednesday night at the Erie-Prophetstown Triangular allowed the Tigers to clinch at least a share of their third consecutive West Central Conference title. A home win over Rockridge tonight would make it an outright championship in their final dual as a West Central member.
"That's awesome, especially the team we had this year," said Sherrard coach Jeff Garrett, whose program joins the Three Rivers Conference next season. "We graduated eight seniors from last year's team. Those guys carried us from the Olympic (Conference) to the West Central. To continue it with such a young squad, I'm proud of them."
Since joining the West Central, the Tigers now have won all 26 league duals. Counting its run in the now-defunct Olympic Conference, Sherrard has not lost in its last 31 conference matches.
One more win completes an unblemished three-year run through the West Central.
"God willing, we will beat Rockridge (tonight)," Garrett said. "That'd be awesome."
On a night where the they were without three starters because of illness, the Tigers still found a way to persevere in order to get the title share. Receiving four forfeits helped, but Sherrard had just enough to ensure the record stood.
"These guys have stepped up," Garrett said. "We made some mistakes and some of the kids didn't wrestle real well, but kids stepped up."
Sherrard, which suffered a 45-24 loss to Erie-Prophetstown in its second dual, received two wins from Chance Teel (113 pounds), Jacob Hast (120), Dylan Mizaur (160/170) and Ben Corlett (285).
"Our goal with this young team was to be conference champs again," Garrett said. "We're right on course. I'd couldn't be happier for these guys."
Panthers get two wins: One night after securing its first Three Rivers Conference title in two years, Erie-Prophetstown earned wins over Sherrard (45-24) and Orion (41-30).
"You take the two wins, but I'm not happy with the way we wrestled tonight," Erie-Prophetstown coach Tod McCullough said. "We had kids who were being tentative. We were flat."
Brandon McCullough (106/113), Dylan Binion (152) and John Butts (195) earned a pair of wins for the Panthers. Take away the seven forfeits received, and Erie-Prophetstown (16-4) won nine bouts.
"We're going to correct things," Coach McCullough said. "This is a talented team. There's heart in these kids -- I just have to get it out."
Orion stayed close in both duals, getting two wins from Jacob DeVolder (132), Mike Dierikx (138/145), Joe DeVolder (152/160), Payton Loete (182) and Jon Nicholson (220). But the Chargers could not overcome nine forfeits it surrendered.
"That's not an excuse anymore," said Orion coach Dan Diamond. "I wasn't really happy with the way we wrestled against Sherrard -- our kids didn't come to fight much. In the second one, we did."