Strong outings across the board highlighted the day for Robinson High School's wrestling team Saturday (Dec. 1).
The Maroons placed a wrestler among the top six in all but two weight classes and had four wrestlers reach championship matches on their way to a third-place team finish at the Lawrence County Tournament.
Robinson finished the meet with 176.5 points, which placed them behind only Mt. Carmel (256) and Olney (223.5). Harrisburg (130), Carterville (122.5), Fairfield (119), Herrin (105), Lawrenceville (95) and Carmi (73) completed the field.
"Mt. Carmel's team is talented and deep and Olney has grown into one of the most consistent teams around, so we new catching up to them this year would be tough," RHS head coach Joe Cunningham said. "We performed better as a team than we did last year, but unfortunately so did they. I was very happy for our kids."
Robinson placed 13 wrestlers in the top six of their respective weight classes, including one champion and three second-place finishes.
Grayson Wolf was the lone champion for RHS, as he went undefeated to claim the title at 195. Wolf opened with a pin of Nic Austin of Fairfield in 39 seconds, then won a 7-3 decision in overtime over Mt. Carmel's Dalton Farrar and downed Olney's Kyle Dowty 6-3 in the title bout.
"To be honest I was unsure how Saturday would turn out for Grayson," Cunningham said. "Last year he wrestled at 170 pounds and one never knows how changes in size like that will transfer to the wrestling mat. Mt. Carmel's Farrar and Olney's Dowty are both big 195-pound wrestlers and are very good. Grayson really earned a day like this, as we often talk about how his freshman year he never won a match. We were very thankful for his hard work today."
Meanwhile, Landon Shonk (113), Jordan Caballero (132) and Ferando Zuniga (182) all reached championship matches before falling short and finishing second.
Shonk pinned Carterville's Rylan Hill to start his day, then beat Olney's Cadin Ackman 6-3 before being pinned by Mt. Carmel's Cade Keepes in the championship match.
Caballero earned pins over Carterville's Andrew Cousert and Herrin's Anthony Bowling, then was pinned by Mt. Carmel's Chevy Wood in the title match.
Zuniga opened with a pin of Fairfield's Ike Downen, then won a 24-11 decision over Lawrenceville's Brian Lyczkowski before getting pinned by Mt. Carmel's Ryan Johnson in the championship match.
"Both Landon's and Fernando's wrestling careers mirror what Grayson has done," Cunningham said. "All these kids found wrestling in high school and all of them experienced many tough times the last three years, but they never quit and never quit working. These boys went from unknown kids who would come to this tournament when they were young and lose two matches and go home. Today people know who they are when they enter the gym and today was very rewarding. Jordan has a lot of wrestling experience and coupled that with running cross country this year and the results of that hard work are beginning to show up."
Also for RHS, Deshaun Villa (126) and Nick Eby (170) were third with 2-1 records, Elliott Stifle went 1-2 at 120 to finish fourth, Jeff Herman and Bryan Dillery went 3-1 at 145 and 152, respectively, to finish third, J.D. Caballero finished 2-1 at 170 to finish fifth, Josh Hatfield finished fifth at 138 with a 1-1 record, Peyton Bugle went 3-2 at 106 to finish sixth and Dalton Davis was sixth at 220 with a 1-2 record.
120 - Elliott Stifle (R) pinned Jamal Wilkerson (CTJV) 1:38; pinned by Dayton Hall (MC) 3:03; dec. by Dylan Ritter (O) 7-4. (4th place)
126 - Dashaun Villa (R) major dec. Rusty Littlejohn (R) 14-1; pinned by Joshua Foster (CT) 1:21; pinned Dylan Griffith (CTJV) 2:29. (3rd place); Littlejohn (R) major dec. by Villa (R) 14-1; pinned by Tyson Satterfield (HA) :34.
132 - Jordan Caballero (R) pinned Andrew Cousert (CT) :49; pinned Anthony Bowling (HE) 1:16; pinned by Chevy Wood (MC) 2:40. (2nd place)
138 - Josh Hatfield (R) pinned by Matthew Jones (CT) 1:22; pinned Lane Trammel (HA) 1:04. (5th place)
145 - Jeff Hermann (R) dec. by Kody Cavender (HE) 6-4; tech. fall Lane Harvey (F) 15-0; won via injury default over Jarrett Fusion (O); pinned Lathan Chisolm (L) 3:29. (5th place); Tanis Lake (R) pinned by Kody Cavender (HE); pinned by Lathan Chisolm (L) 1:30.
152 - Bryan Dillery (R) lost to Blake Pollard (CM); beat Ben Gulley (HAJV); beat Henry Jackson (CTJV); pinned J.T. Stone (HA) 1:27. (5th place); Cole Johnson (R) lost to Nathan Dawson (CT); lost to Aaron Walker (F).
160 - Jesus Stifle (R) pinned by Trace Foster (LJV); pinned by Bradyn Whiting (HA) 1:33.
170 - Nick Eby (R) pinned John Coates (HE) 1:35; dec. by Levi Seitzinger (O) 7-0; pinned Nolan Deaton (HA) 1:40. (3rd place); J.D. Caballero (R) dec. by Chris Shelby (MC) 3-2; pinned Landon Stewart (F) :46; pinned John Coates (HE) 4:51. (5th place)
182 - Fernando Zuniga (R) pinned Ike Downen (F) 1:44; major dec. Brian Lyczkowski (L) 24-11; pinned by Ryan Johnson (MC) 1:36. (2nd place); Brantley Littlejohn (R) pinned by Ebin Hensley (CT) :38; pinned by Ike Downen (F) :31.