Bluejays outlast the rival Wildcats
Athens avenges match loss to Edgar last year
By Casey Krautkramer
Athens junior Trystan Cator and his wrestling teammates have persevered through a normal grueling season. The Bluejays encountered some adversity when senior heavyweight wrestler Mitchell Gore injured himself during the Bi-State Classic at the end of December. Gore placed fourth at the individual state championships last year, and he’s injured for the rest of this season, which is a major loss for the team. Cator was one of four Athens wrestlers to gain pins against Edgar on Thursday to help the Bluejays to a 4821 Marawood Conference dual match win. Cator pinned Wildcats sophomore Collin Gajewski in three minutes, 22 seconds in the 152-pound weight class.
“It’s always nice to beat Edgar because I don’t think we beat them last year, so this was a big win for us this season,” Cator, the son of Lee and Julie Guenther, said following the match. “I’ve had my ups and downs like I do every season, but I’m practicing hard and sticking in there to see where things go.”
The Bluejays were edged, 36-33, by the Wildcats last season in the Edgar High School gym.
Other Athens wrestlers earning pins against Edgar were freshman Connor Lewandowski over sophomore Blake Tartar in 3:07 at 120 pounds, senior Chase Ellenbecker over freshman Keghan Hartway in 5:53 at 132 and senior Carter Brunke over sophomore Jesse Jisko in 1:07 at 145.
Athens grapplers Patrick Redmann, Connor Westfall and brothers Brooks and Spencer Kraus all gained forfeit wins in their weight classes.
Edgar wrestlers earning victories against Athens include junior RJ Knetter with a 7-3 decision against freshman Kyler Ellenbecker at 182 pounds, senior Austin Miller pinned sophomore Peyton Zettler in 1:16 at 285 and sophomore Kalvin Kingsley pinned senior Izzy den Otter in 1:10 at 138. Wildcats senior Ethan Heil gained a forfeit win at 220 pounds. Both teams forfeited the 106 and 126-pound matches.
Athens co-head wrestling coach Dale Westfall said it’s too bad Gore is injured and out for the rest of his final high school wrestling season, but he wants to make sure Gore regains his health so he can be a productive worker in society after he graduates from school this spring.
“We felt it not having Mitchell in our match loss at Phillips, because the match could’ve easily changed with Mitchell in our starting lineup but the kids know we need to move on,” Dale Westfall said. “I told Mitchell this is your last year of wrestling and you need to be able to work for the rest of your life, so you need to keep that in back of your head too.
“Mitchell is a hard worker and he is going to enter the workforce after he graduates from high school this spring. He’ll probably be operating some heavy equipment or driving a truck, and he’s going to do well for himself. He was fortunate to place at individual state last season, but now he has other things he’s looking forward to in life.”
The Athens wrestling team lost to Phillips, 40-34, in an away match on Jan. 21.
Stratford beats Marathon
The Stratford wrestling team dominated Marathon, 76-6, in Thursday’s home match.
Marathon’s lone win was from Mason Putnam receiving a forfeit at 106 pounds. Stratford wrestlers earning pins were Logan Gaulke over Tommy Renhard in 1:26 at 113 pounds, Jake Heiden over Hector Pintor in 1:55 at 152, Hunter Ford over Nick Sommers in 3:36 at 170 and Beau Gross over Logan Werner in 1:41 at 220.
Stratford grappler Elijah Lucio beat Jared Sweno, 14-2. Cole Marten won a medical forfeit against Cameron Blount. Other Tigers receiving forfeit wins were Benno Wenzel, Gavin Drexler, Max Schwabe, Konnor Stuttgen, Devin and Trevor Dennee and Raife Smart. Tigers head coach was pleased with his team’s effort against the Red Raiders.
“I thought our kids came out pretty jacked and ready to go,” he said. “We were aggressive off the whistle and we looked sharp on our feet.”