TERRE HAUTE —
For the first time since the 2002-03 season, West Vigo defeated Terre Haute North in high school wrestling Wednesday night.
Securing the 36-31 triumph for the Vikings in the final match was sophomore 145-pounder Zac Otte, who pinned North’s Sean Elia 30 seconds into the third period inside the Patriots’ auxiliary gym.
“I was real nervous,” Otte admitted to the Tribune-Star afterward. “It was the last match and, if I didn’t do well, the team could have lost.”
More accurately, the Vikings would have lost because North led 31-30 going into that match. But Otte scored the pin with a single-leg takedown, enabling the Vikings to post their sixth victory of the season.
“It’s one of my favorite moves,” mentioned Otte, who improved his season record to 7-2. “I think it caught him by surprise.”
One factor affecting the team score was North forfeiting six weight classes (four that went to West Vigo wrestlers as victories and two that went as double forfeits).
West Vigo coach Scott Rohrbach has been in those shoes in past years when injuries and low numbers limited his roster flexibility, so he could empathize with North’s situation.
On the other hand, he said the Vikings might have won some of those classes, even if North had brought more healthy bodies.
“Where they forfeited to us at 182, 195 and 220, that’s three of our better kids [Sam McClain, Dakota Short and Tyler Bell],” Rohrbach pointed out. “We might have got those wins anyway.”
Regarding his athletes who did have matches Wednesday, the Vikings’ coach thought they wrestled well for the most part. He singled out freshman Kyman Elkins (138) for winning the next-to-last match by pin in 1:11, which set the stage for Otte’s heroics.
“Kyman Elkins is a back-up 138-pounder,” Rohrbach explained. “He’s not really even varsity. He was thrown into the mix tonight because we moved Zac Otte up to 145 just to see what we could make happen.”
Rohrbach also offered words of praise for Otte, who led his match 4-1 heading into the third period.
“He’s a coach’s kid [son of West Vigo wrestling assistant Brian Otte],” Rohrbach noted. “He’s under a lot of pressure. He has to live with his dad, who’s a very good friend of mine. Zac goes to practice and listens to dad and he goes home and listens to dad.
“Zac did a heckuva job tonight. That was a lot of pressure on a 15-year-old kid and he rose to the occasion.”
From the North perspective, coach Mark Frisz previously indicated that the 106 and 182 classes would be forfeits for the remainder of the season.
As for 195, 220, 113 and 120, there is hope for the future when the Patriots regain the services of injured Zach Schmidt, Ethan Edington, Gavin John and J.J. Low.
“They’re working their way back,” Frisz said. “As soon as they’re healthy and we get clearance, they’ll be back in the linup.”
Of the eight matches that actually took place Wednesday, North won six — Tyler Gilmore at 152, Trey Grim at 160, Ryan Moshak at 170, Andrew Londo at 285, Eric Elia at 126 and Austin Bishop at 132.
Trailing Casey Noblitt 5-3 in the third period, Grim made an impressive comeback by pinning his foe with 39.6 seconds remaining.
“I thought his match and the 132 match with Austin Bishop [a 7-6 victor over Sam Bowden] were gutsy performances against good opponents,” Frisz assessed. “They hung in there and just didn’t quit.”
West Vigo 36, Terre Haute North 31
152 — Tyler Gilmore (THN) pin. Kevin Stewart 4:40.
160 — Trey Grim (THN) pin. Casey Noblitt 5:21.
170 — Ryan Moshak (THN) dec. Jack Belleu 10-2.
182 — Sam McClain (WV) won by forfeit.
195 — Dakota Short (WV) won by forfeit.
220 — Tyler Bell (WV) won by forfeit.
285 — Andrew Londo (THN) pin. Jacob Riley 1:56.
106 — Double forfeit.
113 — Double forfeit.
120 — Gage Lynch (WV) won by forfeit.
126 — Eric Elia (THN) pin. Doug Wilkins 4:30.
132 — Austin Bishop (THN) dec. Sam Bowden 7-6.
138 — Kyman Elkins (WV) pin. Caleb Ingle 1:11.
145 — Zac Otte (WV) pin. Sean Elia 4:30.
JV — West Vigo won both matches.
Next — North (3-4) will compete in the Gregory S. Stultz Memorial Tourney on Saturday at Northview. West Vigo (6-3) will be host to Terre Haute South on Tuesday.