MARION — The Marion Wildcats swept the competition to win the inaugural Marion Dual Wresting Tournament on Saturday afternoon held at the Marion Field House.
“We had eight wrestlers go undefeated today,” said Marion coach Darren Lindsey. “Landon Wright at 126 wrestled the ninth ranked kid from Kentucky — who was tough as nails — but Landon hammered the kid. He pinned him. It was total domination. It was a great match. Every point was hard fought.”
Marion won its 11th straight match to improve to 11-2 on the season. The Wildcats defeated beating Red Bud, 66-18, Carlyle, 76-12, Gorevlle, 78-6, Paducah Tilghman, 78-6, and Kennett (MO), 65-18.
“We hosted our first tournament and we hope to have many more,” Lindsey said. “This year we did a six-team round robin, and we’ve had five or six teams say they want in next year, so we hope to keep growing and the competition keeps getting tougher. We still haven’t got into the heart of our season, with our toughest competition ahead of us, and our best lineup hasn’t been on the mat yet, so when it does I think we’ll be pretty good. Right now we’re just improving and getting there.”
Kennett and Goreville finished tied for second at 3-2, but the Indians broke the tie by edging the Blackcats, 35-27. Red Bud and Carlyle also finished tied for fifth at 1-4, with the Musketeers breaking the tie by beating the Indians, 36-18. Paducah Tilghman finished fourth and Carlyle sixth.
With the five wins, Marion freshman Matt Dampier and juniors Gaige Owens and River Flute improved to 12-0 for the season.
“I had only one match today, with the four others being by forfeit,” Owens said. “I wrestled Ethan Williams from Carlyle, and they told me it was going to be a tough match, but it ended up going quicker than I expected, because if you stick to Coach Lindsey’s training, you’re going to get better each and every day.”
In the match against Kennett that sealed the win for Marion, the Wildcats jumped out to a 12-0 lead after senior Drew Herremann pinned Alex Vazques with 1:29 remaining in the first period in the 152 weight class. Senior Noah James pinned Micah Welton with two seconds left in the second period at 160.
Kennett cut the lead in half when Lorenzo Thomas pinned freshman Clayton Tanner at 170 with 1:24 remaining in the first period. Marion scored 12 points on forfeit wins at 182 and 195 to up the lead to 24-6, but Kennett pulled back to within six points after Cirilo Tejeda pinned freshman Remington Randolph at 220 with 53 seconds left in the second period, and Kennett won by forfeit at 285.
However, Marion won the match with forfeit wins at the 106, 113, 120, 126 and 132 weight classes. In the final two matches, Dampier pinned Demarque Rowe with 1:10 left in the first period at 138 and junior Daniel Gilley won by an 18-1 major decision over Renaldo Guerrero at 145.
“Rowe was my toughest match today,” Dampier said. “He had very good hip position, which made it hard for me to lock up the cradle. Wrestling a guy like that just gives me more motivation to push harder and beat the odds. I won two matches by pin and the other two by forfeit. I now have nine pins and three by forfeit.”
In the match of the tournament White pinned senior Ray Hamilton from Paducah Tilghman with 10 seconds left in the second period.
White jumped out to a 2-0 lead on an early takedown, but Hamilton scored on a reverse before the junior retook the lead, 3-2, on an escape.
“I’ve never had a match that hard before — he wrestled hard the whole time,” White said. “It started out pretty rough. He was on top most of the period and definitely got a couple really good shots on me, almost getting me a couple times, but I ended up being able to spoil on most of them. I didn’t look at the clock much because I was so in tune to what he was doing.”
White chose to be on the bottom to open the second period and almost immediately increased his lead to 5-2 on a reverse. He maintained his advantage for the remainder of the period to improve to 11-1 on the season.
“A slight opening appeared after I got out from underneath him, so I ended up pulling a half on him and pinned him,” White said.