PORT BYRON — Sherrard wrestling coach Jeff Garrett’s primary goal on Saturday was for his team to repeat as champions of the Jim Boyd Invitational at Riverdale High School.
The Tigers racked up three weight class championships, two second-place medalists, four medalists for third place and three fourth-place medalists to outpoint Seneca, Dubuque Senior and the host Riverdale Rams in the nine-team field.
“Our team works very hard in the wrestling room, and we pride ourselves on being in better shape and more mentally prepared than the majority of our opponents,” said Garrett. “We only have three seniors on our team, and our younger kids are starting to embrace the work ethic needed to consistently win.”
Sherrard was 7-1 in dual meets heading into the Riverdale Invitational, and Garrett is hoping their championship will pay dividends as the season progresses.
“The Jim Boyd Invitational gave us a chance to see how we compare to a variety of teams throughout Illinois and Iowa, and also showed us where we need to focus for improvement, individually and as a team,” Garrett said.
Riverdale coach Myron Keppy was satisfied with the performance of his team, earning a fourth place finish.
“We earned three individual championships, and some of our younger guys were also able to pick up medals,” said Keppy. “I pretty much expected Bryan Caves to win at 195 pounds, and Colton Reiman at 145, but Andrew Walker winning the heavyweight championship was a nice bonus for us.”
Walker credited his coaches for preparing him for the day-long competition.
“Preparation is the key for me, I needed to remain focused on each match and not get ahead of myself, and getting the pin in the championship match was exciting, I have to admit,” said Walker.
Sherrard and Riverdale went head-to-head in two marquee championship matches, with Sherrard’s Jacob Hanson pinning Riverdale’s Carson Ebenroth at 138, and Caves returning the favor by pinning Sherrard’s Gavin White at 195.
Sherrard’s other weight class champions were Carson Caldwell (152) and Josh Bynum (182).
Riverdale athletic director Guy Dierikx pointed to the long tradition of the wrestling invitational.
“A few years ago, the invitational was named in honor of Jim Boyd, our former coach and principal who is a hall of famer, and it gives us a chance to showcase the strong wrestling tradition in our region of the state, and at the same time, expose area wrestlers to competition from programs we would not normally face,” he said.