Demons roll to victory over Fairfield 45-24
By Michael Leach
GTNS News Team
FAIRFIELD — Washington’s Austin Latcham picked up a one-point win at 160 pounds to kick off the Southeast Conference opener at Fairfield Thursday, and the victory proved to be the spark the Demons were looking for.
Washington never relinquished its advantage from there, rolling off nine wins — six by either decision or fall — to claim a 45-24 victory at Fairfield High School.
“We came out and wrestled tough,” said Washington head coach Brent Van Weelden. “Really all I can ask from my guys is they go out and give 100 percent for six minutes, and if they can do that I’m going to be happy every time, win or lose.”
The victory gave Washington its third straight dual win to open the season. It was Fairfield’s first loss, dropping their dual record to 2-1 on the young season.
Fairfield second-year head coach Steve Miller pinned the loss on himself.
“We got out-wrestled, we got out-coached, we got out-hustled in the matches that we lost,” said Miller. “I take responsibility for it because obviously I didn’t have my team ready.”
The Trojans forfeited three matches and were pinned in two others. They also lost two matches by major decision and dropped another by technical fall.
“The thing I always preach about is to get bonus points and to not give them up, and Washington did it to us,” Miller added. “They’re a solid team, they’ve got 30-some kids out and have kids at every weight.”
In the tone-setting first match between Latcham and Fairfield’s Bryce Lunsford, Latcham fell behind 5-2 in the opening moments. A two-point reversal from Latcham narrowed the score to 5-4, and the Demon grabbed the lead in the second period with a takedown and reversal. Lunsford tied the match at 8-all, but Latcham held off Lunsford with an escape, and later, a reversal.
“That was probably the closest match of the night and kind of a toss-up. Austin coming out and getting that win for us to get the dual started on the right foot is obviously a positive,” Van Weelden said.
Next, at 170 pounds, sophomore Brad Skubal padded onto Washington’s lead with a 9-0 major decision over Fairfield’s Max Spalla.
Seth Davisson picked up Fairfield’s first win of the evening at 182 pounds. The fifth-ranked senior opened the match with a 2-1 lead after the first period, scored a pair of takedowns in the second period and held on for an 11-4 victory in the third.
At 195 pounds, Fairfield junior Brett Scott narrowed the deficit to 7-6 with a come-from-behind 3-2 decision over Washington senior Aaron Kempf. The two wrestlers battled out to a zero-all stalemate after the first period, but Kempf took a 2-0 lead into the third period. Scott scored his first point of the match on a locked hands penalty, then won the match on a reversal with 40 seconds to go.
“He finished the match. He was down, but he hung in there and he finished the match,” said Miller.
“It would have been a little nice to see Aaron get that victory, but he threw the legs in, kind of fell off to the side and gave up the reversal. We’ll work on that tomorrow and hopefully that won’t happen again,” Van Weelden said.
Fairfield’s Jake Mineart and Washington’s Tama Luetele received forfeits at 220 and 285, respectively, as Washington remained on top 13-12.
The Demons quickly expanded their lead to 22-12 with a pair of wins at the lowest weights. The Demons’ Michael Witt picked up a 9-2 decision over Derek Robinson at 106, and fifth-ranked Fletcher Green made quick work of freshman Mitchell Burnstedt at 113, pinning the Trojan in 1:12.
Michael Ellingson, a freshman, won by forfeit in the 120 class to up Washington’s lead to 28-12.
Tristan Pohren took another six points for Washington at 126 pounds. Wrestling Fairfield’s Dalton McCarroll, Pohren carried a 12-3 lead into the third period, then won by fall in 4:40.
Some last-minute lineup maneuvering helped the Demons avoid one of Fairfield’s top wrestlers, 132-pounder Ammon Shaner, while working around an injured Mitchell Hora at 138. Shaner received a forfeit at 132 pounds, but Washington sophomore Tony Landstrum replaced Hora at 138 for a forfeit win of his own.
“Ammon is real tough and [Landstrum] is a little inexperienced there, so we wanted to keep him mentally sharp,” Van Weelden said.
Fairfield’s Aaron Gevock, a senior, earned six points at 145 to cut Washington’s lead to 24-40. Mere seconds after escaping a near fall by Washington’s Matt Grote, the Trojan came alive for a first-period pin.
Washington claimed the last match of the evening with junior Tanner Knupp prevailing vs. Justin Leonard. Knupp reeled off the first nine points in the match after scoring two near falls and a pair of takedowns. He scored 11 additional points in the final period for a 20-2 technical fall.
Both teams will see each other again Saturday at the Mediapolis tournament.
Washington 45, Fairfield 24
106 — Witt (W) dec. vs. Robinson (F) 9-2; 113 — Green (W) win by fall vs. Burnstedt (FF) 1:12; 120 — Ellingson (W) forfeit; 126 — Pohren (W) win by fall vs. McCarroll (FF) 4:40; 132 — Shaner (FF) forfeit; 138 — Landstrum (W) forfeit; 145 — Gevock (FF) win by fall vs. Grote (W) 1:56; 152 — Knupp (W) tech. fall vs. Leonard (FF) 20-2; 160 — Latcham (W) dec. vs. Lunsford (FF) 11-10; 170 — Skubal (W) maj. dec. vs. Spalla (FF) 9-0; 182 — Davisson (FF) dec. Smith (W) 11-4; 195 — Scott (FF) dec. vs. Kempf (W) 3-2; 220 — Mineart (FF) forfeit; 285 — Luetele (W) forfeit.
*Meet started at 160