Heavyweight puts exclamation point on senior night victory

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CCM/Carol McIntire Carrollton senior Levi Pidgeon(126 lbs.) (striped singlet) pinned Dominic Jezek of Salem on senior night last week.

By Carol McIntire
Carrollton honored nine senior boys and one girl prior to a much-anticipated wrestling match with Salem last week in the high school gym, including one who is no longer with them.
During the emotional ceremony, the parents of Aiden McNutt, who was killed in a tragic house fire last November, accepted his recognition items as well as hugs from the coaching staff and friends of their son and a standing ovation from the crowd that filled the bleachers.
The match lived up to its billing: two undefeated teams locking horns for the lead in the Eastern Buckeye Conference. The Warriors built a 34-0 lead in the lower weights and then watched the lead slowly slip away as the Quakers dominated the middle and heavier weight classes to pull within 34-27 with two weight classes to go. Fans were on their feet screaming when Carrollton junior Josh Rhiel, who got the nod over senior Owen Spilker, who is recovering from an injury, came from behind to post a 4-2 win over Salem’s Trenton McCoy. Senior heavyweight Aidan Shaw closed out the win when he battled back from a 5-2 deficit to tie the match at 6-6 with a takedown as time expired in regulation and pinned Quaker Caleb Cutlip in overtime for the 43-27 win.
Carrollton Coach Joe McGee called Shaw’s win “super exciting.”
“Aidan has always had to wrestle heavyweight and he’s somewhat undersized. He is actually smaller now than he has ever been, but he’s physical, moving very well and did a great job. He got in a bad place, he fought through it and look what happened.”
Likewise, he had words of praise for Rhiel, only a second-year wrestler.
“He is doing an amazing job,” McGee said. “He’s wrestled 90 (190) and 215 for us. I randomly picked him up. He’s in my weight training class. One day I asked him if he wanted to wrestle. He replied, ‘should I’. I said yes, you should and here he is.”
Seniors Landon Jenkins, Kail Snair and Levi Pidgeon were joined by sophomore John Childs and freshman Cael Lowdermilk in earning pins in the first five weight classes.
Lowdermilk (106 lbs.) put the first points on the board with a first period (42 seconds) of Tyler German. Jenkins (113) followed it up with a second period pin of Jacob Dumon. Snair (120) wasted no time in pinning Ben Kuboff in one minute, followed by Pidgeon’s pin at 126 of Dominic Jezek in 58 seconds. Childs (132) pinned Caleb Burt in the second period senior Josh Carman won an 11-3 major decision over Cyle Burt.
Salem then started chipping away at the lead, earning an 8-2 decision at 144; picked up a pin at 150; decision at 157 and 165 followed by pins at 175 and 190 to draw within striking distance at 34-27.
McGee had difficulty finding words to describe his seniors, who were freshman his first year as head coach.
“They are great kids, great leaders and top wrestlers who have made my first four years very memorable. It’s going to be very tough to replace them. I have really good bonds with a lot of them.
Salem defeated Minerva which leaves Carrollton sitting on top of the standings (2-0) with matches at West Branch this Thursday and at Minerva Feb. 8.
Asked how he sees it shaping it, McGee said you can never overlook an opponent.
“You never want to look past anybody,” McGee said. “Chad Hilliard does a great job coaching. His kids are well-coached, they know the situations. They know who they are going to get pinned by and who not to give up pins to. I think Minerva will be a tough match.”
Carrollton travels to the Lions’ den next Thursday to close out league action. Junior high action begins at 5:30.
Girls action
Senior Raygen Speelman (130 lbs) fell by pin in the Salem match, which was not an official match due to only three matches taking place. Junior Kailey Delawder (170) lost by pin and
Freshman Riley Alborn (109) won by pin in the first period (1:13).
West Holmes Tourney
Pidgeon (132) and Carman (138) won championship titles at West Holmes as the team placed second in a field of 16 teams.
Jenkins (113) and Snair (120) placed second; Sawyer Broadwater (106) third; Lowdermilk (113), Childs (132) and Rhiel, fifth; and Jaden Sutton and Dalton Naylor fifth.
The Carrollton B team placed 10th in a field of 13 teams at the Garaway Peg Leg Tournament Jan. 27. Jon Byler (126) placed second.

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