- Special Sections
- Public Notices
The Liberty wrestling crew still has quite a way to go to catch up with the likes of Brookville.
That was shown last Wednesday evening, when the Bees flew into the Minutemen's gym and stung Liberty to the tune of 58-24.
It was nearly as high a score as you can get. The combined 82 points fell just short of the possible maximum total of 84.
High point totals means high pin totals. And that's just what the decently-sized crowd at Liberty saw.
Of the 14 matches, 10 were decided by pin, three were forfeited and only one went the full distance.
Of Liberty's four individual wins, two came by forfeit.
Liberty Head Coach Ethan Lucas was sorely displeased by his crew's performance.
"I wish my team had shown up," he rued. "Brookville is always going to be a good team, but I thought we could've had a better showing.
"We got out of our game plan and were doing things that I, or any other coach, have not taught. We looked out of shape and out of sorts. That wasn't Liberty wrestling."
Still, we're talking Brookville here. The Bees have won the Seminole District an astounding 41 consecutive times. The last time Brookville didn't win the district, wrestlers wore togas and arrived at meets via chariot.
In short, Brookville is the program against which all others are measured.
That the Minutemen were able to put competitive wrestlers in 13 of the 14 weight classes (forfeiting at 106 pounds) is a vast improvement. It was not long ago that Liberty would forfeit as many as five classes.
The bright spots in this one came in the form of Mason Wolk and Tyler Gordon. Both of them picked up quick pins, with Wolk getting his at 220 pounds and Gordon making quick work of things in the heavyweight bout.
"Mason Wolk and Tyler Gordon, stuck to our style and what we practiced," noted Lucas
Both were key members of Liberty's football team last fall, with Wolk a standout at tight end and defensive end and Gordon making his mark on both sides of the line.
Liberty was down, 24-12, when Wolk hit the mat at 220. "I was mad my team was down," he said. "So I went in there hoping to build some excitement."
Wolk hit an ankle pick on TJ Forbes with about 30 seconds remaining in the first round. Next thing you knew, Wolk had Forbes in a head stuffer and the ref was tapping the mat signaling the pin with a few seconds remaining.
Gordon really got the crowd's juices going. He pinned Bee John Ward in 31 seconds, barely breaking a sweat in the process. Gordon used superb strength and leverage in knotting the score at 24.
But the Minutemen were not to score again, as the Bees swept 106 through 138.
The only Liberty grappler during that stretch of six losses to avoid the pin was Garrett Day at 138. Yes, Day did lose. Yes, he fell to Jason Carwille in a major decision, 14-3.
But he showed a lot of heart and magnificent athleticism, escaping from what appeared to be certain pins on three separate occasions. A world-class gymnastics tumbler, Day showed some real toughness.
"To be on Brookville's level we have to execute and be ready for battle," said Lucas. "We were beaten at some weight classes before we ever stepped on the mat. We have to believe that we are as good as or better than our opponent. Being ready physically and mentally is the key to competing with the likes of Brookville."
Interestingly, Brookville appears to have a pair of holes in its lineup for the first time since those toga-wearing days. Against Liberty, the Bees forfeited at 160 and 170 pounds. According to Head Coach Don Shuler, there will be some shuffling of personnel, but there will still be two Bee-less weights: perhaps 160 and heavyweight.
"We're young but have lots of doubles in the 106 to 145 pound weights," said Shuler. "We hope some of them grow."
Still, never count Shuler and company out of anything. Last year's State runner-up as a team, this year's version includes Landon Curry (State champ last year at 126) and Jessup Hammond, sure to make State-level noise at 182 or 195 this year.
"There's no substitute for leadership," said Shuler, nodding at Curry and Hammond.
Then, he added with a chuckle, "It only took me 40 years to learn that. And I'm not going to forget it."